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What’s Next for the Women Who Marched

On the day after the inauguration, millions of women and plenty of men flooded the streets in cities around the world to inspire a larger conversation about the rights that many believe are under assault by the new U.S. administration.

But within the crowds, other conversations emerged, often falling along racial lines. Good’s Devon Maloney shares how the Women’s March revived long-standing suspicions that the feminist movement has never valued the needs or input of women of color:

Among the celebration, hugs, and chants, many in the crowd wondered aloud where the millions of white people who turned out were when Black Lives Matter activists were being assaulted for protesting anti-black police brutality, or on behalf of Standing Rock and Flint, Michigan.

“I cannot put into words how heartbreaking it is to see grown adults that I know and love decide only now to take to the streets,” writer and activist Ijeoma Oluo posted on Facebook yesterday. “I’m glad you’re doing something. But…weren’t we worth it before? Why weren’t we reason enough? Where have you been? And where will you be once this doesn’t impact you directly anymore?”

This is a truly difficult conversation to have and the central tenet of any inclusion moment: We have all left someone out, and we are all part of some system that has rendered another group invisible. The future depends on how we respond.

I attended the Woman’s March in St Louis, Missouri, a Midwest city which has suffered in similar ways to other red cities and states. But, as an early, unwilling node in the Black Lives Matters movement, the city also languishes in the shadow Michael Brown’s death and the Ferguson protests that turned out very differently from the calm and affirming event on Saturday. There were plenty of signs of goodwill. Black women organizers kicked off parade, and plenty of signs – “We’re not all racists!!” – spoke to the self-consciousness that St. Louisans often feel. “We have a lot of work to do,” one white woman told me in a pussy hat and Black Lives Matters t-shirt. “We have a lot of listening to do.”

On Point

Study: Black women more likely to die of cervical cancer than white women in the U.S.The new study, published today in the journal Cancer, showed that more women of all ethnicities are dying from the disease than previously thought, but the racial disparity is significantly worse: The mortality rate for black women is 10.1 per 100,000. For white women, it is 4.7 per 100,000. This rate for black women is now on par with some women in emerging economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Experts worry that changes in the Affordable Care Act and cutbacks to Planned Parenthood will put more low-income women at risk for what should be a preventable illness and death.New York Times

The lack of diversity in AI is going to be a problem, y’all
Joi Ito, the director of MIT Media Labs, framed the issue on a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos: Most AI engineers come from similar backgrounds, which is leading to alarming blind spots in programming. One of his African American researchers discovered, for example, that there are no dark faces in the core libraries that many AI products draw from. The unintended consequence? The face of a dark-skinned person would not be recognized by an AI system.
Computer Weekly

Tackling resistance to diversity and inclusion at law firms
A review of a new book by Kathleen Nalty called “Going ‘All-In’ on Diversity and Inclusion,” takes aim at law firms, and makes the case that everybody needs to get on board if they want to budge the industry’s dismal retention numbers. Nalty directly addresses the most oft-heard objections to diversity initiatives: An unproven return on investment (false); I did it my way, what about them? (meritocracy bias); I’m white, why do I have to care about this? (really?) But clearly there’s a culture barrier in big law: “I can’t go back to my firm wagging my finger [about D+I] because my partners will just turn around and give me a different finger,” one partner is quoted.

Architect David Adjaye calls out his profession for its lack of gender parity
Adjaye spoke to design magazine Dezeen from the Interior Design Show in Toronto, a city which had hosted its own high profile Women’s March on Saturday. “I find it exhausting that women are still fighting for gender parity,” he said. “I find it embarrassing to be really honest.” He specifically called out the architecture and design professions for failing to address the issue. “I don’t think we’re leading it at all.” Adjaye also says that his recently completed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which began eight years ago, wouldn’t be possible in today’s political climate.  

The Woke Leader

Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to disability rights activism
Click through for lots of information, including a profile of Ed Roberts, who helped shape the disability rights movement we know today. After Roberts contracted polio in 1952, the doctors warned his family to expect that he’d spend the rest of his life as “a vegetable.” Roberts famously joked, “If I’m a vegetable, I’m going to be an artichoke, prickly on the outside, with a big heart in the middle.”

William A. Hilliard, groundbreaking black journalist for The Oregonian, dies
His story came full circle in the most bittersweet way possible: The award-winning journalist became the top editor at the very paper that denied him a delivery route as an eleven-year-old, figuring that the local readers wouldn’t respond well to a black paper boy on their doorsteps. Hilliard ultimately became the paper’s first black employee – from copy desk to reporter and up the ladder to editor-in-chief. He was also an outspoken advocate for diversity in hiring and challenged vernacular norms that perpetuated stereotypes in print. “The thing that bothers me more than anything else is what I see as more and more racial divisions in the country today,” he said after he was elected to lead the editors’ association. “And I think newspapers are the ideal educational tool to correct it.”
New York Times

Cowboys came in all colors, by the way
Black, Mexican and Native American cowboys were much big contributors to the development of the U.S. than most history books reveal. One example: Turns out the lawman who inspired the tale of the Lone Ranger was black. Thanks to a new exhibit hosted by the Studio Museum in Harlem, and beautifully documented in these astonishing photos, much of what we think an “iconic American” looks like is wrong. But unseating stereotypes is only one of the gifts of this collection; the photo of educator Kesha (Mama) Morse, the 67 year-old president of the New York Federation of Black Cowboys sitting atop a bale of hay will give you life.
New Yorker


Where were you during the Women’s March?/ When millions flooded the streets, protecting their pussies and their wages?/ When Instagram was flooded with newfound activism?/ Where were you?/ Were you chanting “Black Lives Matter” then?/ Were you coming up with solutions for the 53 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump?/ Were you marching for all of your sisters, or just your white ones?/ What happens tomorrow? Will you march with us when we need you most? 
—Johnetta Elzie