On Tuesday, just as protests turned violent after a fatal police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made an announcement: the $1 million dollars he plans to donate to organizations that fight for racial justice will be dispersed in monthly increments of $100,000 for the next ten months. Further, he says that a website will be created so the public can track where the money goes and how it’s spent.
It’s a brilliant move from an ally that nobody saw coming.
Ever since Kaepernick made headlines for refusing to stand for the national anthem, the athlete has proven to be a serious and determined student of both race and advocacy. So far, he has been able to walk the fine line between using his big platform to shine a light on police overreach, while preventing the long shadow of his fame from snuffing out the conversation entirely. It hasn’t been easy. The simple act of kneeling during the anthem has driven some fans wild with rage, and compelled at least two police unions to publicly threaten to boycott – selectively police – stadiums if the protests continue.
Kaepernick himself is receiving death threats. And not just from social media trolls, either. (Which, of course, are horrible enough.) Said Kaepernick to reporters, “To me, if something like that were going to happen, you’ve proved my point.”
But this donation, and the transparent way it’s being managed, keeps social justice squarely in the center of the story. Perhaps even more importantly, it offers a gateway for people to learn more about the issues themselves, as well as the barriers that professional advocates have faced for years. And Kaepernick’s own transparency has been inspiring. As a result, the number of athletes, amateur and professional, who are kneeling or raising a fist continues to climb.
I e-mailed the 49’ers for a chance to speak with Kaepernick, and was politely told that he wasn’t giving any one-on-one interviews, at least for now. Understandable. By controlling the narrative to the degree that he can, he has a chance to keep redirecting focus away from himself, and back to the point.
And the point keeps being made. This Charlotte incident occurred just days after a horrific video of the shooting of an unarmed man named Terence Crutcher by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma went public, then viral. It shocked the nation and triggered a Justice Department investigation.
Kaepernick’s critics have gone temporarily silent.
Kaepernick, however, is not backing down. “This is a perfect example of what this is about,” said Kaepernick of Crutcher’s death. “It will be very telling about what happens to the officer that killed him.”
|A black venture capitalist’s journey to the purse strings|
|Austin Clements is an associate at TenOneTen, an LA-based, early stage venture firm. He was entrepreneurial at an early age, launching his first web design business at age 16. But he credits his liberal arts education from Morehouse, the historically black, all-male college, for shaping him. His peers were an “intellectually curious, outspoken group of young men across a wide spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds, political affiliations, religions, and perspectives.” That mix of diversity within a shared history provided a solid foundation.|
|The 20 most influential Latinos in tech, 2016|
|Los 20 latinos más influyentes en la industria de la tecnología 2016, has just been announced. The list itself is inspiring and diverse, featuring talent from NASA, LinkedIn, Oculus, Hasbro, YouTube, Intel and the State Department, among others. For hiring managers, the list is a good opportunity to expand your weak ties network. The rest of us can bookmark and share indignantly when the next diversity in tech figures are published.|
|An architect designs a path for other black women to enter the profession|
|After Devanne Pena discovered that she was the second black woman ever to become a licensed architect in Austin, she redoubled her efforts to reshape the profession to become more welcoming to women of color. In this interview, the “hip hop architect” describes how raising the issue has transformed her workplace, and how Tupac shaped her passion.|
|Brand Nu Design|
|Researcher cites the racial implications of Nashville’s “Operation Safer Streets” program|
|Michael Zoorob, a Ph.D. student at Harvard University, examined the arrest and vehicle stops data from Nashville’s “Operation Safer Streets,” a program which funnels police to hotspots of criminal activity. Activists have long claimed the program over-polices low income, immigrant and communities of color. According to his methodology, which he shares, they’re right. “Nashville Safer Streets is not color-blind. Its burden falls disproportionately on communities of color.”|
|FX’s ‘Atlanta’ renewed for a second season|
|Atlanta, the new FX comedy written and conceived by Donald Glover, has quickly become a must-watch show – its first two episodes, with 1.2 million telecast viewers, broke the record for basic cable comedy debuts, held by Amy Schumer. The show is like none other in so many ways, but here are two: It has an all-black writing staff, most of whom have never worked in TV before. It’s a strange and amazing show.|
The Woke Leader
|White Christians less likely to think race is a problem, unless it’s about them|
|There’s tons of interesting race and attitude data here, but the research identifies one theme that has divided white and black evangelicals, and white evangelicals from other members of the population. “If you’re a white, evangelical, Republican, you are less likely to think race is a problem, but more likely to think you are a victim of reverse racism,” says the Barna Group, which researches faith and culture for a pastoral audience. When asked, 76% of white evangelicals responded “all lives matter,” when asked about BLM.|
|Ava DuVernay has always been amazing|
|There, I said it. On the eve of her latest documentary debut, The 13th, named for the amendment which abolished slavery (but with a loophole), the filmmaker shares her earliest influences in Compton, her “red, black, green” phase of race awakening at UCLA, and what it was like to interview Grover Norquist for her film. DuVernay unfolds in layers in this brilliant one-on-one conversation with journalist Rebecca Traitor, it’s a must read.|
|New York Magazine|
|Lupita Nyong’o doesn’t know how to make ugali, and it’s hilarious|
|The Academy Award winner drew ire from her fellow Kenyans when she admitted in a recent interview that she didn’t know how to make ugali, the prized Kenyan national staple made from maize flour. In this charming short video, she visits her parent’s farm in Kenya for a lesson. “It’s like an abdominal workout!” she declares as she stirs the floury glop over a cookstove. It’s also a dramatic departure from most “let’s go visit the folks of famous people” videos.|