The Frontline is a group of individuals dedicated to finding solutions to solve mass societal and political problems that inflict the United States.
After the tumultuous past few years we’ve all endured, a number of causes have been raised to the attention of people all around the world. From the effects of the pandemic to the ever-present racism, The Frontline makes it their goal to achieve change that lawmakers haven’t thus far.
Standing stronger together, the group urns to see a reshaping of the world we live in today. The Frontline believes in the power of unity; that together, they can achieve whatsoever they set their minds to.
Members of The Frontline volunteer their time in hopes of implementing lasting changes. From connecting with others to spread the word, or even working local polls, The Frontline members work on all different levels to accomplish advancements.
The awardees, also known as “Frontline 40,” caught the eyes of The Frontline as they continue to fight against the crises that conflict the US. Of the recipients, some of the main causes being fought for include securing access to clean water in Flint, Michigan, discovering what an anti-racist society would look like and finding an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These aren’t the talking heads you see every night on cable news,” stated Tiffany Flowers, campaign director of The Frontline. “These are the real people on the frontlines of our communities making a real change. It’s time we honor them and say, ‘thank you,’ for all the work they do and do what we can to uplift and support their critical work to end white nationalism and advance liberation for our communities.”
Black Music Action Coalition Partners with Wasserman Music, Nashville Music Equality, Recording Industry Association of America, and YouTube Music to conclude the first annual Tennessee State University Music Accelerator Program
May 26, 2022 marked the completion of the three-week Maymester Music Accelerator Program at TSU. This program ended with guest lecturers, super producer Dallas Austin and recording artist Sir The Baptist, they both received honorary doctorates in music from TSU on May 6. The last class was held at the National Museum of African American Music and to their surprise, each student received a gold plaque from the RIAA. The Music Accelerator Program at Tennessee State University is a program in partnership with Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), Nashville Music Equality, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Wasserman Music, and YouTube Music.
Over the course of the 3-week program, guest lectures from influential music executives, along with internship placements for students looking to start their career paths across multiple music industry companies, including Wasserman Music, Warner Music Nashville and LVRN. Speakers who participated included Post Malone manager Dre London, Artistry Group founder/CEO Max Gousse, Tuma Basa (Youtube Music), Andrew Lieber (MAC Agency), Roddy Ricch manager Shawn Holiday, recording artists BRELAND, Blanco Brown and Joy Oladokun, Mary J Blige’s manager Ashaunna Ayars, Marcus Johnson (Goldenvoice/AEG), Brandon McEachern and Marcus Allen (Broccoli City) EMPIRE product manager Russell Barrett, RIAA’s Jackie Jones, Tina Davis (Vp of EMPIRE), BMG’s Tim Reid and Jon Loba, and Wasserman Music agents Lee Anderson, Lenore Kinder, Callender, Chappel McCollister and Mallory Smith and many more.
“The Music Business Accelerator course was a one-of-a-kind learning experience that exposed students to successful music professionals. Whether having guests in the classroom, or visiting a music related company, the course provided real-time and real-live information that have enabled the students to see their future careers as a tangible goal and not an ambiguous dream. This course provided inspiration, calculation, and anticipation of things to come!” – Dr. Mark Crawford, Professor of Music and Coordinatorof Commercial Music, TSU.
“The level of passion and focus I saw at the accelerator program gave me so much hope and excitement for the future of the music industry. I was so impressed with these students, and I’m honored that I was given the opportunity to share wisdom that they’ll carry throughout their journey.” – Tina Davis, EMPIRE.
“I am truly honored to come speak with a live audience of music lovers at Tennessee State University. The Music Accelerator Program is an incredible resource for aspiring young creatives, a program I would have loved to be a part of when I was starting out on my music journey, so I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to share what I’ve learned and to help in any way that I can.” – Dre London.
“The Tennessee State students were incredible. I could tell the future of the music business was in the room by how intently they listened to each of us. This program is special!” – Tuma Basa, Dir. Of Black Music & Culture, Youtube Music.
“Black Music Action Coalition wants to be intentional about addressing the erasure of Black artists, executives, and the creative community on Music Row by creating a real pipeline to opportunities and resources to level the playing field in Nashville. I was able to watch the students in this music accelerator program show up at 8:15 in the morning on a daily basis, ready to learn and were completely engaged for over 3 hours, as some of the most successful and influential leaders in the entertainment industry poured into them. The students were able to learn about publishing, management & branding, distribution, marketing, tour routing & talent buying and even participate in a focus group for an upcoming release from an artist signed to a major label. Three weeks of nonstop action. I met some incredible artists, rappers, singer/songwriters, managers, producers who will definitely make their mark in this industry. Not only through the paid internships that follow this program, but we will continue to work directly with all of these students to ensure they are equipped with all they need to succeed. This was an incredible first step, of which many BMAC will take with those in Nashville dedicated to racial, social and economic justice. We are grateful for the partnership with Dr. Crawford, Wasserman Music, RIAA, Youtube Music and Nashville Music Equality and Tennessee State University.” – Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, co-founder/co-chair of BMAC.
“It was truly an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to share my story, knowledge, and experiences in the music business with the amazing students and future music executives at the Music Accelerator Program at Tennessee State University. My personal goal was to show young black aspiring creatives that a career in music business is attainable at the highest levels. The students were smart, engaged, and fun! Thank you to everyone involved”! – Marcus Johnson, Goldenvoice/ AEG.
“TSU has always had talented and hard-working students, and they deserve the same access to opportunities in the music industry as their contemporaries at local PWIs. I loved being able to share my experience and story with them, and I have faith that these students will go on to do great things in this industry. I’m grateful to RIAA and BMAC for the chance to connect with the class and give back to the next generation of leaders.” – BRELAND.
“LVRN supports BMAC and Wasserman Music Accelerator Program at Tennessee State University. We all started very young in this business and are forever grateful to those that invested time into developing us as executives. We believe we have a responsibility to pay it forward and invest in the next generation of young leaders and this program is the perfect opportunity.” – Amber Grimes, EVP and GM of LVRN.
“Being a part of this program has been an amazing experience and an important first step to bringing more voices to the table. These students are incredibly talented and I believe they are the future of the music industry. We have all learned a lot from the speakers and each other and I look forward to partnering on more intentional efforts to bring opportunities like this to more students.” – Jackie Jones, Artist and Industry Relations, RIAA.
“The magnitude of this program is so important for our TSU students who have been historically shut out of access and opportunities within our music landscape here in Nashville, TN. On behalf of Nashville Music Equality and the Nashville Promise Zone, I couldn’t be more proud and inspired to see the number of Black Music Executives this program will produce. And to have this happen at Tennessee State University is absolutely amazing!” – Brian Sexton, Nashville Music Equality Community Chair/Nashville Promise Zone Manager.
ABOUT WASSERMAN MUSIC
Wasserman Music represents a world-class roster of artists for live performance, touring, brand partnerships and beyond, empowering them to create culture and impact audiences globally. The passionate, entrepreneurial agents at Wasserman Music are long-term artist development strategists who build significant, global platforms for the world’s most impactful artists. Wasserman Music is a division of Wasserman, a partner to the world’s most iconic sports figures, musical artists, brands, and properties. Website | Roster | Instagram
ABOUT TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research-intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.
ABOUT BLACK MUSIC ACTION COALITION
Tuesday June 2, 2020, the music industry went silent for one day to join the fight for equality as part of #BlackOutTuesday…the day the show paused!. This movement spread beyond the music business and inspired tens of millions worldwide to follow suit. Galvanized by this historic moment, close to 200 preeminent artist managers, attorneys, business managers, agents and other industry executives signed up to join forces, instituting and introducing the first-ever BLACK MUSIC ACTION COALITION. Together, these individuals form one common voice, representing the interests of artists, producers, songwriters and executives. This illustrious cadre of industry heavyweights notably represents artists who comprise a majority of the industry’s revenue. This advocacy organization endeavors to uphold and actualize the mission of Black Lives Matter in the music industry and reach racial justice not just across record labels, publishers, agencies, distributors, and DSP’s but throughout society at large. BMAC works together with various business leaders to hold their companies accountable and implement a system of checks and balances to ensure change takes root. The group fosters and shepherds various educational, mental health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, policing, social justice, and political causes that directly impact Black communities. In 2021, BMAC released the first annual Music Industry Action report card that measured and assessed the music industry’s progress toward achieving racial justice and equity. To commemorate the report card, BMAC also held its inaugural Music In Action Awards Gala to honor musicians, activists and industry professionals who have used their platforms to enact change within the music industry and broader society. The Weeknd, H.E.R., Ethiopia Habtemariam, Ben Crump and more were honored for their contributions to change.
The Recording Industry Association of America® advocates for recorded music and the people and companies that create it in the United States. RIAA’s several hundred members – ranging from major American music groups with global reach to artist-owned labels and small businesses – make up the world’s most vibrant and innovative music community, working to help artists reach their potential and connect with fans while supporting hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
For more information on Wasserman Music, please contact: WassermanMusicPR@shorefire.com
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been an integral part of our educational system in the United States. Originally being founded in the 1830s, HBCUs cultivate an environment that was long sought after to ensure educational equality. This nations HBCUs are full of the rich history of African American activism, and their campuses also stand as pioneering pieces of landscaping and architecture.
While each HBCU embodies symbolisms of African American brilliance and triumph, the programming guarantees that each campus will collect resources to protect and sustain the historical campuses. These grants aim to preserve and revitalize landmark pieces that grace each HBCU, and to promote leadership on each respective campus.
Two differing forms of grants entail the initiative; the first being a $150,000 grant aiming to expand campus-wide cultural stewardship plans, and the second as a $60,000 developmental grant that will conserve a specific milestone building on or associated with an HBCU campus.
The initiative set in place today entails $3.2 million set forth to the HBCUs grants, seeking influence from the Trust’s extensive years of practice to generate proposals of refurbishment and maintenance at each college or university. The National Trust’s Action Fund links with 13 HBCUs and has financed 6 campus and 7 singular-developing projects modern day.
Brent Leggs, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust spoke on the impact that these grants would permit, stating, “These grants are significant in light of the recent threat to HBCU campuses. Preservation is the strategic counterpoint to centuries of erasure, and it underscores the critical nature of the African American contribution to our nation.
“Without the doctors, lawyers, engineers and other professionals HCBUs have produced, the American story would not be the same. The Action Fund’s work to preserve the legacies of intellect, activism, and enlightenment on these campuses will inspire future generations of all Americans to believe that, despite the challenge, they too can overcome.”
The following HBCU recipients include:
Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, Florida) aiming to produce stewardship projects across their 422-acre campus (1887)
Rust College (Holly Springs, Mississippi) aiming to produce stewardship projects across their campus (1866)
Shaw University (Raleigh, North Carolina) aiming to produce stewardship projects across their 65-acre campus (1865); and
Voorhees College (Denmark, South Carolina) aiming to produce stewardship projects across their 380-acre campus (1897).
Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard spoke on their excitement to be apart of the Trust’s recipients this year, stating, “The Shaw University community expresses its sincerest appreciation to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for awarding the campus a $150,000 planning grant to assist our efforts in preserving African American history.
“From educating the former enslaved to graduating some of the first African American doctors to helping ignite the civil rights movement, the legacy of Shaw University is woven into the fabric of American history. Preserving the treasures of our historic buildings extends the powerful narrative that describes the indelible contributions of this university.”
The planning grant, too, entails that all HBCU beneficiaries gain access to a paid student professional growing opportunity; one student from each individual campus will work with a team of architects, engineers and consultants to grow their campus. This funding comes from the Initiative and grows the field of African American preservationists.
Florida A&M President Dr. Larry Robinson spoke on the behalf of their campus, stating, “Florida A&M University is the third oldest campus in the State University System of Florida. We appreciate the support of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to assist the University in furthering preservation of landmark buildings on our campus.
The planning grant will allow the faculty, staff, and students across the disciplines of architecture, engineering and the humanities to collaborate in ways that highlight the national impact of Johnathan C. Gibbs, Lucy Moten and Andrew Carnegie and the buildings named in their honor. They also will help preserve the history of the Civil Rights Movement on our campus where iconic figures like Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, Marian Anderson and others changed American history.”
Special Olympics New York and Advance Care Alliance of New York (ACA/NY) come together to guarantee proper retrieval of healthcare services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The groups come together to declare their objective of diminishing health inequalities for these groups of people by generating new opportunities.
Stacey Hengsterman, President and CEO of Special Olympics New York spoke on the partnership, stating, “This is one of our most exciting health collaborations yet. Through extensive cross-promotion, support, and more, we plan to improve our already outstanding health care for individuals with disabilities in New York.”
New efforts have begun commencement, while members from ACA/NY assisted at the Special Olympics New York’s floor hockey tournament, the Winter Classic. The tournament took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan which cultivated an energetic event for all those involved.
Jaime Madden, Chief Administrative Officer of ACA/NY recalls attending the Winter Classic, declaring, “It was a tremendous opportunity for ACA/NY to be a part of Special Olympics New York’s Winter Classic. What a sight it was to watch the extraordinary examples of teamwork and athleticism displayed by the athletes and coaches.”
While the joint partnership continues, Special Olympics NY promises to publicize crucial health info through ACA/NY’s Family Forum program, urging education of individuals throughout the region. ACA/NY has announced their commitment to many Downstate Special Olympics NY events during the course of the course of 2022. Moreover, ACA/NY has announced they will supply volunteers for Special Olympic NY’s Healthy Athletes projects, which aim to provide free health screenings and education.
“As we continue to grow our relationship with one another, ACA/NY looks forward to many more events of inclusion with Special Olympics New York,” says Madden. The groups co-hosted a Family Forum conference to discuss Special Olympics NY curriculum opportunities to ACA/NY families.
In tenth edition of Municipal Equality Index, a record-setting number of 100 point scores and the highest-ever national average show that localities continue to lead the way on LGBTQ+ inclusion
Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The Equality Federation, released its 10th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality regarding municipal policies, laws and services. This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year, illustrating the striking advancements municipalities have made over the past 10 years.
In North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem are setting a true example for equality and inclusion by earning one of HRC’s MEI “All-Star” designations. MEI All-Stars earned over 85 points despite hailing from a state without statewide non-discrimination statutes that explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity. The average score for cities in North Carolina is 71 out of 100 points, which falls 4 above the national average of 67.
“LGBTQ+ people are everywhere—in every city, county and ZIP code. These All-Star cities are blazing the path forward for equality and fighting back against extreme unrelenting attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs.“This year, state-wide lawmakers have zeroed in on attacking transgender and non-binary children—for no clear reason other than bigotry and hate. Adopting the policies outlined in the MEIhave not only fostered safer and more inclusive communities, but it has also spurred economic growth by showcasing to residents, visitors and outside investors that their city is open to everyone.”
“In reflecting on the Municipal Equality Index’s 10-year history, it feels as though these past few years have been the most challenging, and yet the most critical, to advancing LGBTQ+ equality. Despite the increasing attacks we are seeing on transgender youth in state legislatures, the important work to advance protections for LGBTQ+ people continues at the local level,” said Fran Hutchins, Executive Director of Equality Federation Institute. “As we face the upcoming attacks by opponents of equality, we know the state-based movement is stronger than ever and ready to fight for the millions of LGBTQ+ Americans who need us in the towns and cities across this country.”
“For 10 incredible years, the MEI has helped guide, shape and inspire more inclusive laws and policies in cities of all sizes in all parts of the country,” said Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and Founding Author of the Municipal Equality Index. “This program is one of the key ways HRC is able to impact the daily lives of our members, supporters and allies. Being able to personally witness these communities continue to push themselves to better serve their LGBTQ+ communities over the years has been one of my greatest joys. I am incredibly proud of this project and of the MEI team who have made this report a vehicle of enduring change and of our partners in communities around the country who have enthusiastically embraced its possibilities.”
Other significant findings from the 2021 MEI include:
This year, 181 cities have transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for municipal employees—up from 179 in 2020, despite more rigorous standards this year, and only five at the start of the MEI.
The national city score average jumped to an all-time high of 67 points, up from 64 last year and 59 in 2012, marking both the fourth consecutive year of national average increases as well as the highest year-over-year national average growth ever.
As a marker of the change that ten editions of the MEI have brought, cities rated by the MEI in 2012 averaged 59 points then; in 2021, those cities averaged 85 points.
11 cities scored 100 points in the 2012 MEI; ten times that number did so in 2021, the tenth edition.
Cities around the country saw progress, with every region of the country seeing a higher average score than last year.
43 municipalities have anti-conversion therapy ordinances in states with no state-level protections, up from 38 last year.
The tenth edition of the MEI tells a story of sustained, transformational growth in cities of every size in every region of the country. While state legislatures attacked LGBTQ+ people in a historically difficult legislative session, cities focused on solving actual problems.
Even though local leaders continue to pave the way forward on equality, there remains an unacceptable patchwork of laws for LGBTQ+ people across the country. This reinforces the need for the federal Equality Act that would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the U.S., the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, the 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 49 criteria covering citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.
The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online here.
ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.
It is no secret that millennials are making changes in the world around us every day. From social justice, equality, politics, climate change, and social media, the world is changing every day because of them.
Millennials outnumber Gen X and will soon outnumber Baby Boomers among voters. Not only have they revolutionized the economy, but they have also shifted today’s culture in many ways. For example, millennials are well-known for how much they use social media. The millennial generation uses social media as a voice to reach hundreds, or even thousands, of people worldwide. Because of how they use social media, they are forever changing human interaction.
Millennials are making significant changes every day, and one of those changes is in alcohol trends.
In the last few years, millennials have become more focused on the quality of alcohol and the variety of flavors the alcohol industry offers. The demand for beer has decreased within the last decade while wine, whisky, vodka, and other spirits have grown.
Millennials have become more conscious of the quality and ingredients in alcohol than their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts. Nowadays, millennials are looking for value and health benefits in exchange for their money and are looking more at hand-crafted and artisanal alcohol products.
Many vodka brands are borrowing tactics from gin because of these changes. They are moving to a much lighter serve and lower-alcohol offerings to appeal to the millennial generation. Many of these brands are becoming “healthy” alcohols by removing sugars and adding botanical flavors.
Glasgow Distillery Company‘s co‐founder Mike Hayward says, “The success of gin has opened up the consumer’s thirst for new and interesting products that have botanicals and natural flavor at the core. We see this as a great opportunity to attract consumers to the vodka category by creating a range of products that meet the desire for interesting and innovative spirits presented in a new and exciting way.”
One vodka brand is taking a few ideas from the millennial generation and using their social responsibility to donate to groups trying to change the world while making a “smooth, crisp, and warming sipper.”
Organika Vodka, founded in 2016 in Russia, focuses on the ideals of sustainability in all forms. From locally sourcing renewable resources in the Lake Baikal region to working side-by-side by the indigenous people and developing a biodegradable spirits bottle, this company is striving toward showing just how much of a difference a company can make toward sustainability and ecological consciousness. By creating a more ecologically conscious alcohol, Organika is changing the industry for the better.
There are three varieties of Organika Vodka: Organika, Organika Life, and Organika White Truffle. While each kind is made with highly oxygenated water from Lake Baikal and 100% grain BIO spirit, they each have one ingredient that differentiates them.
Organika is made with Siberian Larch Extract, which can be found in different parts of the world, while the most valuable species is found in Siberia. It is said that Siberian Larch is known for strengthening blood vessels, which makes it a natural aphrodisiac.
A well-known tonic called sagan-daila is used to create Organika Life. Sagan-daila means “life-giving” and is said to stimulate the brain, kidneys, and heart activity. It is also said to relieve fatigue and hangovers.
Organika White Truffle is made with not only sagan-daila but also the white truffle mushroom, which is said to rejuvenate the body and “positively influences the men’s power.”
Not only does this company focus on being sustainable and ecologically conscious, but they are also focused on the preservation of rare animals like the Amur Tiger, the Far Eastern leopard, the snow leopard, and the polar bear.
The majority of their charitable donations are given to the World Wildlife Fund who actively sought out the brand for a partnership after being “so moved” by Organika’s efforts in rare animal preservation. Even during the height of COVID-19, Organika continued to support its partners.
If there is one thing millennials also care about significantly, it is most definitely animals. Suppose millennials cannot get behind a sustainable and ecologically conscious vodka brand that is making significant changes in wildlife. In that case, I am not sure what they would get behind. Not only does Organika use organic ingredients and locally source them, but they are also donating toward saving animals all around the world. I would say that is a win-win on both accounts.
With millennials caring more about what is in their drinks than the experience of drinking them, it is no surprise that vodka companies are making changes in their production.
In an interview with Forbes, Jonathan Hemi, the managing partner of Crystal Head Vodka, said, “Clean, additive-free, high-quality liquid is where we see opportunities as well in different expressions through different types of grains.” In other words, clean and sustainable alcohol is creating more opportunities for vodka brands like Organika to make significant changes in the alcohol industry.
Organika has recently signed contracts with the Miami Dolphins and the Breakthru Beverage Group in Florida, expanding their reach into the United States from Russia and Germany.
The contract with the Miami Dolphins sees Organika at the Hard Rock Stadium from the 2021 season to the 2023 season. Fans of the Dolphins will be able to experience Organika vodka and Organika Life. They are also planning on using aluminum cups instead of traditional plastic for their drinks in the stadium.
The partnership with Breakthru Beverage opens new sales and distribution opportunities in Florida for Organika Vodka in the ultra-premium vodka category while also distributing the brand into 14 different states and Canada.
Sustainability and change are essential for both millennials and Organika Vodka to thrive. Not only can millennials help Organika change the world for wildlife, but Organika can also produce clean and eco-conscious alcohol for millennials. Both of these groups are working to change the world differently, but imagine what they could do working together. With the social-media-hungry millennials, there is no telling just how much Organika can achieve with its mission of preserving wildlife.
On 15 October, the first NFT trophy for the UEFA EURO 2020 goal of the tournament was awarded. The award was initiated by Gazprom, an official partner of the tournament, and was handed to the Czech national football team forward Patrik Schick. Russian calligrafuturism artist Pokras Lampas was invited to design the award.
“Gazprom is a modern and technological company. By combining sports, high technology and art, and creating the first sports trophy of this kind, we have drawn a clear parallel with our unique production technology,” Gazprom Department Head and Press Secretary of the Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Sergey Kupriyanov said.
“I found my inspiration in the idea of the project, with the common nine values we share with Gazprom and the “Football for Friendship” Programme. These values, as well as football itself, unite people all over the world”, said the artist Pokras Lampas.
During the award ceremony, the central fragment of the NFT trophy was presented – a black and gold soccer ball with orbits containing the name of Gazprom’s International Children’s Social Programme “Football for Friendship” and its nine values: friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, tradition, and honour. Its hologram is located at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
“We welcomed the initiative shown by Gazprom, our long-standing UEFA partner, to bring a fresh outlook on such kinds of awards. Gazprom’s Goal of the Tournament trophy is a unique event in the history of world sports. We look forward to even closer cooperation with Gazprom and realization of new initiatives supporting and developing world football,” – emphasized Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Marketing Director.
“I am very proud to be the first in the history of football to receive this kind of trophy. To be honest, I have never seen something like this before” – said Patrik Schick, the footballer who scored the EURO 2020 goal of the tournament.
Following the news of the passing of longtime People For board member, LGBTQ+ advocate, and the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador, James Hormel, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and People For the American Way Founder Norman Lear released the following statements:
“Jim was a true hero, so full of courage, humor and generosity,” said People For President Ben Jealous. “As a longtime board member of People For the American Way, he understood that building power among young people was critical to the future of our democracy. Jim was a truly kind and lovely soul, and his loss will be felt deeply. Our hearts and prayers are with his husband Michael and their extended family.”
“I loved Jim Hormel deeply,” said People For founder Norman Lear. “Through the years he was an incredible asset to People For the American Way, a provider of ideas and insights and deep understanding. He was also a fighter, passionate about so many issues we hold dear, from voting rights to free expression and the fight against censorship. I will miss him tremendously.”
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: People For the American Way.
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have proposed a revolutionary reconfiguration of the federal military draft that is aimed at including women in the Selective Service System, according to a release from POLITICO. As the law stands now, all American men must register for the service when they turn 18, although the draft has not actually been enacted in more than 40 years since the Vietnam War. Refusing or failing to register can lead to fines, being denied student financial aid or federal jobs, and even prison time.
In the new proposal – authored by Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed of Rhode Island – the language regarding who must enlist at 18 would be expanded to include “all Americans,” not just men.
The conversation around including women in the draft has picked up speed and garnered national attention in the past few years. In June, the National Coalition for Men brought a case to the Supreme Court that challenged the male-only draft, calling it unconstitutional. While the Court declined to hear the case, three Justices—Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh—did release a public statement on the topic. The statement argued that the exclusions of women from the draft made little sense when considering how much the military has changed in the past four decades since the Supreme Court first held up the original policy. The tone of the statement was unsure about whether the draft meets the standard of “exceedingly persuasive justification” to discriminate on the basis of gender. The Justices also noted the monumental 2015 decision from the Pentagon to open all military combat roles to women as further evidence.
This hot-topic issue most recently entered Capitol Hill in 2016. At the time, the Senate voted to have the decision become part of the annual defense policy bill; the House Armed Services Committee adopted a similar provision, but eventually scrapped it. As a compromise, an independent commission was formed to study the draft and the pressing question of what role gender plays in it. In March of 2020, the commission published its final report, which backed the idea of requiring women to register for Selective Service.
However, another distinctive school of thought advocates for the abolition of the draft altogether, as opposed to requiring all young people to register regardless of gender. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote in his recent piece, Women don’t register for the draft, and men shouldn’t either, “Selective Service has outlived its usefulness. It should be consigned to history. […] Congress shouldn’t just end male-only draft registration. It should end draft registration, period.” Jacoby goes on to argue that the draft is an outdated practice and that an all-volunteer army is far more effective: “Compared with draftees, [those who volunteer for service] work harder, serve longer, perform better, and are more likely to regard their service as a calling, not a compulsion. Their commitment and skill are reflected in the consistent No. 1 ranking of the military as the most trusted institution in America.” This final point is supported by a 2019 Gallup Poll that found that Americans trust the U.S. military more than any other public institution.
But, of course, there are legitimate issues posed by relying on a solely volunteer force. The All-Volunteer Force Forum (AVF Forum) is a network of military personnel and citizens alike who support some sort of draft being reinstated in order to combat the civil-military gap (a disconnect in views between military and non-military individuals). The AVF Forum cites issues including unsustainable recruiting techniques, a lack of socioeconomic and geographic diversity in the armed forces, and an inability to draw from the largest pool of possible candidates as all being exacerbated by a reliance on volunteerism.
In April, The AVF Forum held a conference to discuss potential amendments to the draft which do not include the complete dissolution of the institution. One solution is as follows:
“The conscription ofonly 5 to 10 percent of the force from the top 10 percent income tax bracket, [presented] by Marine Corps veteran and author Elliot Ackerman. The logic being that those within reach of the levers of power would be more inclined to limit military involvement if their own children faced drafting and deployment.”
No clear solution was reached at The AVF Forum conference, as the complicated debate continues to rage.
While it is unclear where exactly President Biden stands on the matter, he did share a clarifying quote at the Military Officers Association of America candidate forum in September of 2020 before he assumed the presidency. “The United States does not need a larger military, and we don’t need a draft at this time. […] I would, however, ensure that women are also eligible to register for the Selective Service System so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflicts,” said Biden.
The original proposition by the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to be considered during committee markup this week. However, there will be no official floor action on the bill until at least later this year.
The United Nations Foundation announced today that top global brands H&M and Banana Republic are once again partnering with UN Free & Equal for Pride Month this June to raise awareness and funds in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) equality worldwide. H&M will donate $100,000 to the global campaign this year, while Banana Republic will donate $60,000 this Pride Month.
“Pride connects directly to our core values and encapsulates our social vision to enable everyone at H&M and beyond to live the life they want, express who they are and to be the best of themselves”, says Pascal Brun, Global Sustainability Manager, H&M.
Both H&M and Banana Republic have long supported UN Free & Equal, a global campaign of the United Nations Human Rights Office that strives to advance equal rights and fair treatment for LGBTI people around the world. With this year’s contributions, H&M has now donated a total of $850,000, while Banana Republic has donated $240,000 to date through partnerships with UN Free & Equal.
“Inclusion has always been part of Banana Republic’s DNA and we are proud to partner with UN Free & Equal again this year to support their mission for LGBTI equality and human rights,” said Ana Andjelic, CBO of Banana Republic. “The past year has shown it is more important than ever to fight for equality and celebrate opportunity for all.”
Pride celebrations this year are taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – a global crisis that has further exposed and exacerbated inequities and underscored the urgency of protecting the rights of LGBTI people.
“Every person – no matter who they are, where they live, or whom they love – deserves to live freely and authentically with full equality,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the UN Foundation. “The UN Foundation is proud to support UN Free & Equal in the fight for global LGBTI equality, and is grateful to both H&M and Banana Republic for their continued partnership.”
Now in its eighth year, the UN Free & Equal campaign aims to win respect, recognition, and acceptance for the human rights of LGBTI people around the world. The campaign reaches parents, students, teachers, journalists, and policymakers, especially in countries where LGBTI communities face hostility and hardship and aims to cultivate new allies in the fight for equality. It has campaigned in more than 30 countries so far, with 12 full-scale national campaigns currently active.
“LGBTI people remain among those who are most often left behind due to exclusion, discrimination and violence, and this has been further exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Young LGBTI people in particular face disproportionate levels of family rejection, bullying online and offline, homelessness and restrictions on access to information,” said Michael van Gelderen, LGBTI lead at UN Human Rights.
In support of LGBTI youth, UN Free & Equal recently launched a campaign with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth calling on allies to support young LGBTI people in creating a fearless future where all young people are safe, loved and empowered to thrive – regardless of who they are or whom they love. The campaign, which is made possible by the generous support of corporate and Government donors, kicked off on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and will run through International Youth Day on August 12.
To learn more about the UN Free & Equal campaign, visit here.
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME and ARKET as well as Afound. The H&M group has 53 online markets and approximately 4,950 stores in 74 markets including franchise markets. In 2020, net sales were SEK 187 billion. The number of employees amounts to approximately 153,000. For further information, visit here.
About Banana Republic
Banana Republic is a global apparel and accessories brand committed to building a better tomorrow for people and the planet. Designed with purpose for those who share a passion for life with no boundaries, Banana Republic is redefining luxury by using the finest materials with the latest fabric innovations to create timeless, modern, and versatile clothing, eyewear, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and fragrances. Founded in 1978 in San Francisco, Banana Republic connects with customers online and in company-operated and franchise retail locations globally. For more information, please visit here.
About United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation is an independent charitable organization created to be a strategic partner for the United Nations to address humanity’s greatest challenges, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and drive global progress. Learn more here.
About UN Free & Equal
The UN Free & Equal campaign is an unprecedented global public information campaign aimed at promoting equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTI people. It was launched by the United Nations Human Rights Office in July 2013 and has since reached hundreds of millions of people globally through traditional and social media as well as generated a stream of widely shared materials – including powerful videos, impactful graphics and plain-language fact sheets. For more information please visit here.
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