This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.
Scribd rises to the coronavirus occasion by making their digital libraries free for a month, rapper Lecrae does good works while he waits for his album to drop, and YouTube gets sluggish in Europe. And guess who invented hand sanitizer?
But first, here’s your week in review, in Haiku.
Here’s some news you can
clearly use! The wildfires
that had raged across
Australia for some
two hundred and forty days
have all been contained.
That’s a long time to
try to save a burning world.
This much we know: All
bad things come to
last happy moment
you remember and
the new normal unfolding
is still up to you.
These are strange days, I know. Wishing you a weekend filled with small joys and good, clean vibes. Try not to worry, if you can.
Scribd makes its digital library of books and articles free for the month It’s a lovely gesture at a difficult time. Citing the nearly global quarantine efforts, Trip Adler, founder & CEO of the reading app Scribd, is making their contents free for the next 30 days. You don’t even need a credit card to sign up. “Reading can offer incredible comfort: it reduces anxiety and makes us feel more accomplished and even happier,” Adler says in a blog post. “So, for the next month, we will be making Scribd’s library — which includes millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazine articles, and more — available to anyone, free, for 30 days.” Link is below.
Guess who invented hand sanitizer? Turn out, it was a Latina nursing student named Lupe Hernandez. The year was 1966, and Hernandez had come to believe that an alcohol solution delivered via a gel could help medical professionals stay sanitary when they lacked easy access to soap and water. She even registered a patent for the process by calling an inventions telephone hotline. Her story was reported by The Guardian in 2012, noting the ubiquity of the product at the time. “In the US alone, the growth of the market is astounding: valued at $28m (£17m) in 2002, it had swollen to $80m (£50m) by 2006, and is predicted to be worth some $402m (£250m) by 2015.” (Here are new global figures.) But, notes Marcos Hassan in Remezcla, we don’t know anything about Hernandez or her life. “Unsurprisingly, this is yet another case of a Latinx being written out of history, and it’s refreshing to see her get a bit of recognition, albeit late,” he says.
YouTube joins Netflix in a pledge to reduce streaming quality in EU to avoid “internet gridlock” The sudden crush of people holing up at home for school and work threatens to overload internet service across Europe. “We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” YouTube said in a statement. Several European telecoms have reported spikes in data traffic in recent days. Yesterday, Netflix said it would reduce the size of its own video files for the next 30 days.
While he waits for his new album to drop, Christian Rapper Lecrae is helping Atlanta’s homeless deal with coronavirus threat The Grammy-winner joined forces with a friend who runs the non-profit Love Beyond Walls to install portable handwashing stations around the city. Each sink uses five gallons of water and comes complete with a soap dispenser. Each unit can be re-filled or moved to other locations. "I wanted to continue doing the same stuff that I have been doing just in any city I've lived in and that's just being close to the disenfranchised and the marginalized communities," Lecrae told The Associated Press. Lecrae labored for three years on his new album coming in May. In this interview, he talks about his own spiritual crisis and the way he’s viewing the world now. “Social distancing doesn’t mean spiritual distancing. There is no Resurrection Sunday without a Good Friday. This is Good Friday for a lot of us,” he told Christianity Today.“We are figuring that out now, and hopefully some creative things happen in light of it.”
Miumiu wishes you love The utterly delightful six-year-old from (I think) Beijing, China, is slowly becoming an online Bossa Nova sensation with her charming musical stylings. Here she is wishing you love; here she is wanting to fly to the moon. “Thank you for your encouragement. I will continue to study hard. To fulfill my dream to be an excellent guitarist,” she says on her YouTube channel. “Please forgive me for my poor English. This is not my native language. I've tried my best to do it well.” That sensation you feel is joy. Laughing Squid
Learning to understand pandemic dread It’s as much tedium as it is fear, a dash of overwhelmingly weird news, and a whole lot of uncertainty. Amanda Mull breaks down her own fear, and then helps explain ours. “Unfortunately, there’s a thin line between preparation and repeatedly cycling yourself through bouts of catastrophe panic,” she says, and the constant casting about for information is to feel like you’ve regained control. She’s hopeful that when the hoarding of toilet paper stops, we can begin to look at the part we play in the wider world. It’s a bit about changing the conversation away from us as individuals and towards us as a family or as a community, and approaching it in a "we’re-all-in-this-together kind of way," Vaile Wright of the American Psychological Association tells her. It may not banish plague dread, notes Mull, “but it’s a start.”
Becoming more resilient in times of crisis You have to manage yourself, say three leadership and mindfulness authors and experts, one of whom is a former Zen monk. Their first point is a hard one — don’t ruminate obsessively on bad things, even though you’ll want to. “When your mind gets stuck in this state, a chain reaction begins,” they write. “Fear begins to narrow your field of vision, and it becomes harder to see the bigger picture and the positive, creative possibilities in front of you.” The problem is that you’ll want to isolate yourself, and distancing aside, that’s the wrong impulse. Click through for advice to calm your mind and how to control “the second arrow.” Peace be with y’all.
Tamara El-Waylly produces raceAhead and manages the op-ed program.
“Moon river, wider than a mile / I'm crossing you in style someday / Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker / Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way / Two drifters, off to see the world / There's such a lot of world to see / We're after the same rainbow's end, waitin' 'round the bend / My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me.”
—cover by Miumiu; songwriters Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini