Posts tagged with "Minneapolis"

Ted Allen illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 magazine.

Ted Allen × Subaru

Subaru of America, the famed brand and subsidiary of the Subaru Corporation of Japan, is hosting an event to fundraise for the HIV/AIDS community across the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced dramatic changes to all lives and brought devastating challenges to the restaurant community, as well as to the healthcare organizations who support people in need. Subaru’s annual restaurant-based fundraiser, Dining Out For Life hosted by Subaru, sends crucially needed funds to HIV/AIDS organizations in cities across North America. This aide represents Subaru’s commitment to extending beyond the automobile realm to be an active and ethical member of communities.

Chopped! host Ted Allen joins with Subaru of America, Inc. in their continuing support for Dining Out For Life, and invites the public to join Allen and guests on Instagram Live on Thursday, September 24, 8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT, for a spicy, clean-food, cooking demonstration. The event will also be hosted by New York-based, award-winning Chef Ric Orlando, as well as conversation with Designer/HIV Activist Mondo Guerra, and actor/author, Pam Grier.

To join the event, go to @Subaru_USA. The nearly 3,000 restaurants that participate in Dining Out For Life need support now more than ever. On September 24, dining out and take-out events will be happening in several cities across the country: Oakland, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Louisville, Kentucky; Alaska; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Seattle, Washington. Many more regions will hold in-person and virtual events in October and through December. Visit your community’s page on diningoutforlife to find participating restaurants and to support your community. Another way an individual can help is to reach out to the HIV/AIDS Service Organization that produces Dining Out For Life in your community to see how one can help the people they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, with support from Subaru of America, Inc., more than $4.2 million dollars was raised from a single day of dining in 60 cities coast to coast, the most funds raised since the event began in 1991. “A commitment to caring for the people in our communities is integral to our Subaru Love Promise, and our longstanding partnership with Dining Out for Life is a shining example of the importance of supporting causes that matter,” said Alan Bethke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Subaru of America, Inc. “We are proud to help raise awareness and funds to fight against HIV/AIDS and benefit those who are impacted in our local communities.”

Funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that region to provide HIV care, prevention, education, testing, counseling and other essential services to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. This event, hosted by Subaru, truly represents the best of both worlds in supporting local communities in more ways than one.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Alec Wigdahl – Summer is Over

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Alec Wigdahl releases his third single “Summer is Over,” out now via 10K Projects/ Internet Money Records. Following the release of past singles “Lipstick” and “Cologne,” “Summer is Over” is a pop-rock anthem that shows Wigdahl singing over a dance-floor ready, guitar-led beat. His recent breakout “Cologne” has gained over 2.4 million plays on Spotify and holds a coveted spot on its “Young and Free” and “Anti Pop” playlists, and his catchy July release “Lipstick” has been heralded as the song to “soundtrack your summer romance” by Earmilk. The release is also accompanied by a music video, directed by Molly Hawkins (Harry Styles, The xx, Kelsey Lu), featuring bright colors and trippy visuals.

Based in L.A. but originally from outside Minneapolis, Alec Wigdahl took up songwriting at the age of 15, initially using music as a form of therapy. After teaching himself to play guitar by watching videos of his favorite musicians, he put out a self-produced EP called On My Mind his senior year of high school. Upon graduating he headed to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, but quickly dropped out and returned home to enroll at the University of Minnesota, compelled to continue with his D.I.Y. approach to music. Those instincts proved to be right on target when the Internet Money team reached out to Wigdahl after discovering his songs on social media. By the end of last summer, Wigdahl had signed his deal with 10K Projects, and soon set to work on Strawberry – released December 2019, the EP showcases Alec’s stripped-down sonic palette.

Alec kicked off 2020 with a brutally honest but infectious new single called “Cologne.” His most popular to date, the track was produced by Wigdahl along with Internet Money founder Taz Taylor, Nick Mira, and OkTanner and featured more elaborate pop production than his previous record, Strawberry. Despite the differences in its production, “Cologne” offers up the same raw emotion that Wigdahl has always brought to his songwriting. As Wigdahl explains, that fearless honesty ultimately serves as a vehicle for personal connection.

“I love the kind of songs that are incredibly specific to the artist’s life, but when you listen it hits you right in the chest — almost like it’s happening to you,” says Wigdahl. “In my own music I try to be as personal and vulnerable as I possibly can, so that everyone can feel like the song was made for them. I want them to feel like I’m narrating their story at the same time that I’m narrating mine.”

Tyga illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Tyga Bites

Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist, Tyga, joins forces with renowned restaurateur Robert Earl and Earl’s son Robbie, for the launch of TYGA BITES, a celebrity-owned virtual dining concept. Now available through Grubhub, TYGA BITES is a delivery-only concept that specializes in antibiotic-free, oven-baked, boneless chicken bites. Grubhub will be offering free delivery on orders of $15 or more for the entire month of August to new and existing customers on their first purchase of TYGA BITES*.

With the idea conceived by Tyga, Earl paired the artist with acclaimed chef, author, and TV personality, Eric Greenspan, to create a carefully crafted, bite-sized all-natural chicken that’s baked, not fried. Tyga curated TYGA BITES by adding his own specialty spice dusts that sprinkle the chicken with the right amount of sweet and spice, along with a wide variety of dipping sauces to further enhance the flavors.

“I wanted to make sure the whole menu, flavors, and even the packaging was on point,” said Tyga. “The bites are baked just right; choose a dip then take a sip! I even threw in some chocolate chip cookies for dessert.”

TYGA BITES’ online menu offers crispy, oven-baked chicken bites in three different spice dusts including Black Garlic, Lemon Black Pepper, and Peri-Peri, a mix of tangy, sweet and spicy. The bites will also be served with the option of twelve different dips, along with regular or sweet potato Tyga Tots, chocolate chip cookies, and beverages.

“Tyga has been an inspiration to collaborate with on this brand—his instincts are spot-on,” said Robert Earl, Founder of Virtual Dining Concepts. “Consumers can now enjoy TYGA BITES at home through our partnership with Grubhub, offering contact-free delivery for everyone’s added comfort and peace of mind.”

“Today begins the independent restaurant revolution,” Robbie Earl elaborates. “We have created a blueprint that restaurants can truly benefit from with our VACs (virtual additional concepts). We are offering restaurateurs the opportunity to operate a second brand within their existing brick and mortar location, increasing their bottom line by also becoming a virtual kitchen owner.”

“Working with our partners at Virtual Dining Concepts on the new TYGA BITES brand, we have the exciting opportunity to provide our diners a new variety to choose from when ordering in,” stated Kevin Kearns, Senior Vice President, Restaurant Network at Grubhub. “We’re thrilled to give independent restaurants on our platform the opportunity to increase their total business by working with TYGA BITES, and by adding new locations across the country for our diners to try – it’s a win, win for everyone.”

TYGA BITES is now available in more than 30 major markets across the country, and with the support of independent restaurants, it is projected to have contracts with up to 500 locations by the end of August. Consumers based in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Las Vegas, Houston, Washington D.C., Austin, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, Sacramento, St. Paul, Kansas City, Scottsdale, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Louisville are among the first wave with many additional locations opening soon.

A delivery-only virtual restaurant launched by Grammy-nominated recording artist Tyga and restaurateur Robert Earl, TYGA BITES taps into kitchens of existing brick-and-mortar restaurants located across the U.S. and is delivered to your door thru Grubhub. The menu features tender chicken that is baked and flavored with a choice of seasoning dusts, accompanied with a wide selection of dipping sauces, sides, and cookies. TYGA BITES initial rollout includes the following cities: Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Denver. Additional locations will be added regularly. Consumers looking for a location near them should search for TYGA BITES on the Grubhub app. For more information please follow us @eattygabites on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Grubhub is a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace with the largest and most comprehensive network of restaurant partners, as well as nearly 24 million active diners. Dedicated to connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, Grubhub elevates food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub features nearly 300,000 restaurants and is proud to partner with more than 200,000 of these restaurants in over 4,000 U.S. cities. The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, LevelUp, AllMenus and MenuPages.

Follow Tyga Bites: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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George Floyd illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

George Floyd Family Suing

By Eamonn Burke

The family of George Floyd will sue the city of Minneapolis, claiming his rights were violated during his arrest, consequently allowing racism and brutality to fester in the city’s police force. This comes as newly released body cam footage clearly shows Floyd pleading with officers and telling them he cannot breathe. The lawsuit will target financial reparations for Floyd’s children and siblings.

The family’s attorney, Mr. Crump, is calling the murder of Floyd “torture” and calling the disproportionate killing of black people by police a “public health crisis”. He cites “deliberate indifference” from the city of Minneapolis on this issue.

“Everything seems to have stopped and got shut down in America during the coronavirus pandemic except racism and discrimination and police brutality against Black and brown people.” says Crump. “This is the tipping point for policing in America.”

Crump is hoping this case will set a precedent for future lawsuits by establishing the damaging financial repercussions that the wrongful killing of marginalized people can incur. Additionally, he anticipates major changes in policing, which have already begun as Minneapolis takes steps to abolish the police

Meanwhile, the killers of George Floyd – ex-officers Derek Chauvin, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – have all been charged with aiding and abetting in 2nd degree murder, and await their trial date on March 8, 2021. Their lawyer declined to comment on the topic.

Rita Azar, 360 Magazine, illustration, corporation

Companies Profiting from BLM

By Eamonn Burke

As the nation grapples with the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among many others over many years, protests have called for massive police and corporate reform. Changes have already been made, as major companies and institutions have begun to exclude forms of racism and include new reforms and statements. However, as with many corporate sentiments, the genuine nature of these statements is being called into question and exposed as hollow.

It has become a trend for major companies to undertake policies and claim responsibility for social issues, in what is known as “Political Corporate Social Responsibility.” Media is flooded with brands preaching change and pledging to be a part of it. In today’s instant society, however, it is difficult to discern the true motives of these businesses in their support of the BLM movement.

Major companies like Microsoft and Amazon have been actively projecting support for the BLM movement, yet both corporations have shockingly low involvement of black people within their company structure. Intel joined in the trend with a cringey tweet as well.

Fast food companies like Wendy’s and Burger King, and Popeyes have also seemingly been using the movement to boost their reputation using tweets and ads, despite the fact that they thrive on minimum wage workers who are often people of color. The stark insensitivity is reminiscent of Pepsi’s distasteful ad that was pulled amidst the movement in 2017. Some companies, however, didn’t even try to voice support. One such company was Starbucks, who announced that employees were forbidden from wearing BLM merchandise, a policy that has since been reversed. Other food brands such as Quaker Oats are making real changes – the Aunt Jemima brand will be dropped because of it’s racial stereotyping, as well as Uncle Ben’s.

Following a petition signed by more than 5,000 people, Trader Joe’s announced in July that they would be changing the names of their “racist packaging” such as “Trader Ming’s” and “Trader José.” San Francisco High School student Briones Bedell, who started the petition, claimed that “The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures — it presents ‘Joe’ as the default ‘normal’ and the other characters falling outside of it.”

The company is now going back on that promise, and have says in a new statement that “We disagree that any of these labels are racist,” arguing that they are meant to show appreciation for these cultures. Company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel originally had accepted the petition, acknowledging that it may have the opposite effect of its intended inclusiveness. Now, however, she says that they will only look into these types of changes from employees, not from petitions online.

The racial revolution in the wake of George Floyd’s death has seen the downfall of other brands and images such as Aunt Jemima and the Washington Redskins, but Trader Joe’s is the first prominent one to resist the “cancel culture.”

What consumers really want, however, is not posts on social media. They want real action and real change. This means companies should “Open Their Purse” and donate to anti-racism organizations. Many companies have, but many have also donated to campaigns for Congress people that are rejected by the NAACP.

The public is skeptical of these statements and promises, and not without reason. The history of major businesses like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs have in the past had to cover up allegations of discrimation, and others fail to include minority members in their top ranks. Other major institutions like the NFL condemned the kneeling for the National Anthem just a few years ago, but is now apologizing and admitting the players were right. The question remains: have sentiments truly changed?

Brands and institutions are recognizing that being anti-racist and pro-BLM is selling more than ever. “Costs Signals,” which are the cost that companies pay to undertake these policy changes, are what should be used for judgement, says UPenn Marketing Professor Cait Lamberton to ABC News. Andre Perry, another ABC correspondent from Brookings Institution, warns that “These statements are a sign of defensiveness more so than an indication that they are proactively working to deconstruct racism in this country.”

For a list of donations made by major companies click here.

Minority Report

A comprehensive report of the continuation and influx of unjustified treatment towards minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 23: 25-year-old Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running unarmed. No arrests were made immediately, but Gregory and Travis McMichael, who claim to have been making a citizen’s arrest, have since been apprehended more than 2 months after the shooting and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The murder and its delayed action have sparked nationwide protests and calls for justice. The lawyer, hired by Ahmaud’s family, was also hired by another African American victim – Breonna Taylor.

March 13Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her Louisville home after police entered the house on a search warrant. Taylor and her boyfriend believed they were burglars and began firing at the police. The shootout left 26-year-old Taylor dead and her boyfriend, 27, arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend Walker had a criminal record, but Walker had a firearm license.

March 23: A newly released video shows a 68-year-old black Missouri woman by the name of Marvia Gray and her son Derek being forcefully arrested on the floor of a department store on March 23rd. The two were accused falsely of trying to steal a television and were injured when thrown on the floor by police, according to Gray. They were however, arrested for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

April 18Steven Taylor, 33, was shot to death by police in a California Walmart while attempting to steal from the store and threatening violent acts with a baseball bat. Taylor was fatally shot, however, after becoming a non-threat, it prompted the family to call for charges against the officers. Taylor was also allegedly in a mental health crisis and has a history of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Taylor leaves behind three children and three siblings.

April 24: Austin Police murdered 42-year old Michael Ramos after a nearby 911 call about a possible drug deal. The police shot Ramos when he was out of his car, with his hands above his head. When Ramos re-entered his vehicle and began driving away, he was shot again and soon after, died. A later investigation found no sign of a firearm in the car.

April 28: A shootout with police in Florida killed 26-year-old Jonas Joseph after his car was pulled over. Joseph began firing at police, who returned fire and killed the young man.

May 6: 21-year-old Sean Reed was killed by police following a vehicle pursuit on the evening of May 6, 2020. The police pursued Reed after being seen driving erratically on the highway. The pursuit terminated, but when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Chris Bailey spotted the car parked, he approached. Reed tried to flee, but the confrontation left the young man dead. A crowd of protestors at the scene demanded the reasoning for the officer’s use of force.

May 9: 48-year-old Adrian Medearis was killed after being pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Houston. The officer conducted a sobriety test, and attempted to arrest Medearis, a well-known local Gospel singer and choir director, but he resisted arrest and was fatally shot  in the ensuing altercation. His family and community are demanding the release of the video.

May 18: A Sarasota police officer was filmed using excessive force and kneeling on Patrick Carroll’s neck during an arrest. The video was put on social media and the officer in question has been put on administrative leave weeks after the event.

May 25: A woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on Christian Cooper, a Harvard alumnus and former Marvel Comics editor. The 57-year-old man was bird watching in Central Park when she approached him without her dog on the leash. After he asked her to put the dog on a leash, she called the police and claimed to be threatened. The altercation went viral after Christian Cooper posted a video of the event on social media, recording the woman aggressively restraining her dog and her saying, “I’m going to tell them [the police] there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Amy Cooper has since publicly apologized. But, Cooper has faced repercussions beyond negative comments on Twitter. She has been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments, where she was vice president, and her dog has been rescued by a pet shelter.

Also on Monday May 25th, a Minneapolis man named George Floyd was murdered by police after an officer knelt on his neck despite his cries for help. Floyd was taken to a hospital where he died, and four officers were fired soon after the incident. A police statement says that Floyd was being investigated for a “forgery in progress” and resisted arrest. But, surveillance video of the arrest shows Floyd complying with the officers. On May 29th, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder and manslaughter, four days after George Floyd’s death. On June 3rd, the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s murder, J.A. Keung, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, were arrested and charged with Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Murder and Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Manslaughter. Floyd’s murder sparked protests around the country with citizens looting and setting fire to buildings. The protestors have been met with tear gas and rubber bullets from police officers.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

May 28: At a protest in Minneapolis, 43-year-old Calvin L. Horton Jr. was fatally shot and a suspect is in custody.

A Mississippi cop is on leave after a video is released of him choking a young suspect.

May 29: CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while reporting on the protest in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, says he was treated very differently by police and allowed to stay and report. Jimenez is black and Latino whereas Campbell is white. All three CNN workers were released from custody an hour later.

21-year-old Javar Harrell was not protesting but was fatally shot near protests in Detroit. It is unclear if his death is tied to protests.

May 30: The “Rally To End Modern Day Lynching” took place in Harlem in honor of George Floyd. The rally emphasizes that participants should still practice social distancing and wear a mask. Also on May 30th, participants will honor Floyd at the site of Eric Garner‘s murder in 2014. These New York protests became progressively more violent into the evening. Governor Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency and curfew for Atlanta in preparation for planned protests on May 31st. After four days of protests, Governor Newsom declares a state of emergency in Los Angeles. The courthouse and city hall were set on fire in Nashville.

A 21-year old unnamed man was fatally shot at a protest in Detroit.

In Dallas, a machete-yielding storeowner confronted protesters and was then violently beaten by the crowd; the man is now in stable condition.

Chris Beaty, 38, was killed from multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene in Indianapolis.

May 31: After setting fires and looting in Santa Monica, the city declared a curfew. Curfews have since been set all around the country.

Italia Kelly, 22, and another victim were fatally shot while leaving a protest in Davenport, Iowa.

In Victorville, CA, Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree and authorities are investigating the event as a potential homicide. Harsch’s family says they are very skeptical of his death being by suicide.

June 1: In Minneapolis, a group of men attacked Iyanna Dior, a black transgender woman; Dior is okay and in stable condition now.

53-year-old David McAtee was shot as national Guard troops and Louisville police broke up a protest; some footage shows McAtee shooting at police but it is unclear who fired their guns first because the officers involved did not activate their body cameras. The Louisville Metro Police Chief, Steve Conrad, was immediately fired because of the officers’ unactivated cameras.

16-year-old Jahmel Leach was tased in the face by NYPD and could be permanently disfigured from the attack. It is unclear why the police officers used force to arrest Leach.

June 2: Six Atlanta police officers have been fired and arrested for using excessive force towards Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, two young black people leaving the protests.

77-year-old David Dorn, a retired St. Louis police captain, was fatally shot by looters of a pawnshop after responding to an alarm.

June 4: At 3:45pm, NAACP holds a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd live on their Twitter.

June 5: All 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department’s emergency response team resigned in protest for police brutality – particularly seen in a video of Buffalo police pushing an unarmed man.

Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigns from the company’s board and urges the company to replace his spot with a black candidate.

In a YouTube video, Robert L. Johnson, the first black American billionaire and co-founder of BET, talks to The Breakfast Club about racism and reparations.

20-year-old Dounya Zayer was violently shoved by a police officer at a protest in Brooklyn, NY. 

June 6: Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand pledge $100 million donation over the next 10 years to organizations promoting social justice and racial equality.

A video shows protestors creating a human shield to protect NYPD officers fro rioters throwing objects at the policemen. 

June 7: Virginia governor plans to remove Robert E. Lee statue later this week.

CEO of CrossFit Greg Glassman’s insensitive tweet about George Floyd has caused Glassman to face serious backlash. Partners of CrossFit, like Reebok or Rogue Fitness, and athletes, including Brooke Wells and Richard Froning, released statements that they will cut ties with CrossFit.

BLM protestors in Bristol pull down statue of Edward Colton, a slave trader who transported nearly 100,000 slaves in the 17th century. 

Harry H. Rogers drove into a group of protestors near Richmond, Virginia. Rogers identifies as the leader of the Ku Klux Klan and prosecutors are investigating the assault as a potential hate crime.

June 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces police reform legislation called The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 which would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct, and more.

Minneapolis City Council announce plans to defund the Minneapolis police department.

GoFundMe suspends Candace Owens’ account saying that Owens, “spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community.”

June 9: Greg Glassman, the CEO and founder of CrossFit, retires after his inappropriate tweet about George Floyd’s murder.

New York Police Chief Mike O’Meara shames the press for vilifying police officers in a video here.

June 10: In Palmdale, CA, 24-year-old black man named Robert Fuller,  was found hanging from a tree in what was originally described as an apparent suicide. Citizens are demanding that Fuller’s death is investigated as a homicide.

June 11:  After Trump’s comments about Seattle protestors being “domestic terrorists” and that law enforcement must “dominate the streets” to “take back Seattle,” Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan clarifies that the protestors are not threatening and that the president’s claims are unconstitutional.

June 12: Atlanta police fatally shot Rayshard Brooks, 27, at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks’ murder caused Atlanta police chief Erika Shields to resign.

June 13: Patrick Hutchinson, a black personal trainer from London, rescued ‘far-right’ protester who was badly beaten during protest clashes in London.

A young, black FedEx driver named Brandon Brackins turned to social media to tell his followers how he was called racial slurs while working. 

June 16: A story resurfaces from 2006 when black, Buffalo, NY cop Cariol Horne was fired for stopping her white colleague from choking a handcuffed suspect.

Philadelphia court supervisor Michael Henkel is fired after video shows him tearing down BLM signs.

June 17: Quaker Oats plans to retire their Aunt Jemima branding and logo after acknowledging the racial stereotyping.

June 18: A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy fatally shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado.

June 20: Rioters storm the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma during President Trump’s rally. 

June 21: A NYPD officer is on unpaid suspension after a chokehold incident in Queens.

June 22: Department of Justice is investigating a noose found in Bubba Wallace‘s NASCAR garage. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit. On June 23, the FBI determines that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.

August 23: Jacob Blake is shot by Kenosha police officers after breaking up a nearby fight that two other women were having. Blake was unarmed and shot seven times in the back. He is currently hospitalized for his injuries.

 

 

Looking for ways to help? Here are some places to donate to:

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Louisville Community Bail Fund

National Bail Out

Transgender Law Center In Memory of Tony McDade

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund

Dream Defenders

North Star Health Collective

The Louisville Community Bail Fund

The Freedom Fund

Northwest Community Bail Fund


Rita Azar, 360 MAGAZINE

Defund the Police

Defund the Police: What does it mean?

By Emmet McGeown

In John Le Carré’s 1963 spy novel, “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” the character Control, a prominent member of the British intelligence service, describes the duty of law enforcement as follows: “We do disagreeable things so that ordinary people here and elsewhere can sleep safely in their beds at night.” The role of policing is often depicted in this light. There exists a prevalent view that the police exist in order to do things that civilians have neither the ability nor stomach to do, whether this be subduing suspects or dispersing delinquents. Yet, what if this didn’t have to be the role of police? What if the police were viewed more as a public service as opposed to a pseudo-military presence?

This is the idea presented by the “defund police” movement. Over the past few weeks, since the unwarranted and horrifying murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, there has been a significant push for police forces all around the country to receive less money in municipal budgets and federal grants. It’s a controversial plan.

Law enforcement is a sacred pillar of post-9/11 American society. To be a police officer is to be part of an institution, an illustrious and insular institution where prestige and eminence are vigorously upheld in the name of justice. The lionization of American police forces has coincided with their increasing militarization. To question the splendor of law enforcement is to express doubt in the American experiment; at least that’s how many would regard it. This is evident in the fact that even leading Democrats like Nancy Pelosi are eager to distance themselves from the potential consequences of defunding the police. Veteran Senator, Dianne Feinstein, when asked, expressed, “I just don’t believe in that as an answer.”

Furthermore, Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, anxious to appease moderates, released a plan last year that would actually add $300 million to the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS) which, since 1994, has invested over $14 billion dollars in local police departments to hire and train local police officers. There is no reason to believe that he intends on revising this plan in the wake of nationwide protests.

So, besides defunding, as its moniker quite blatantly advocates, what else is the “defund police” movement aspiring to achieve? Well, a concomitant effect of defunding would be extra money to potentially invest in other community programs. San Francisco, Portland, Denver and Nashville are among the many cities that are already debating diverting police funds to other first responders, schools, and community initiatives. The movement is gaining traction. In America’s second most populous city, Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti shifted $150 million from police budgets to education, healthcare, and housing in communities of color. Fueling such actions is the belief that poverty is a catalyst for crime thus tackling impoverishment is a way to reduce instances of police brutality. This is an interesting concept. In fact, a report by the Bureau of Justice released in 2014 revealed that from the period 2008-2012 persons in households living at or below the federal poverty line had more than double the rate of violent victimization than those in high-income households. More so, Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis conducted a study that revealed that areas with higher rates of unemployment and few social services also tend to have higher crime rates. In the city of St. Louis, according to the same study, firearm assault rates per 1,000 residents are more than six times higher in high-poverty neighborhoods than in low-poverty neighborhoods. Thus, alleviating poverty through allocating more money to social services, employment schemes, and public education may have a profound effect on crime rates therefore could minimize the need for heavy-handed police tactics.

This idea doesn’t seem so radical when elaborated upon. Indeed, a 2008 Yale study of the relationship between welfare and crime rates concluded that frequent welfare payments that are sufficiently large would be associated with lower levels of crime. Yet, the slogan “defund police” lacks the syllables to encapsulate sufficient nuance. Those advocating for defunding the police may want to sacrifice their snappy maxim for detailed proposals if they wish to create meaningful change.

The third aspect of the “defund police” movement is arguably the most agreeable. Many activists in the movement have outlined that police officers respond to an overwhelming number of situations for which they are not equipped nor qualified. These include dealing with people suffering from mental health issues, domestic disputes, disobedient school children and drug addiction. Activists argue that the police have become the remedy to every societal problem regardless of the magnitude. Even ancient Rome divided the role of the city’s police force into the Vigiles, Praetorian Guard, and Urban Cohorts, each being responsible for maintaining a certain type of public order. Yet, in modern-day America, 911 can be dialed in the event of a murder or because a birdwatcher asked someone to put their dog on a leash. This imprecise prophylactic policing trivializes policing as we now rely on officers to resolve even the most miniscule of disputes. This contributes, not only to wasting police time, but also to the perpetual escalation of the insubstantial into the inexcusable. After all, George Floyd was initially interacting with the police for using a counterfeit $20 bill, a crime hardly worth an arrest never mind public suffocation.

Even so, there are still many obstacles in the path of those aspiring to defund the police: “Sixty percent specifically oppose reducing the budget for police to reallocate it to other public health and social programs, while 39 percent support that move,” said ABC News.

For many Americans, the police are untouchable. This attitude is expressed eloquently, albeit brashly, by conservative political commentator Heather MacDonald in a City Journal article titled “Why We Need the Police.” Here, Ms. MacDonald decries the notion that better-funded social services would ameliorate crime rates in cities. She argues that New York City is a prime example because “No city spent more on welfare, yet crime continued to rise.” Ms. MacDonald outlines that “fewer cops and depleted NYPD funding mean longer response times and less training.”

One must concede that there is a logic to this argument. Indeed, research by Dr. June O’Neill and Anne Hill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that a 50 percent increase in the monthly value of combined AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and food stamp benefits led to a 117 percent increase in the crime rate among young black men. So, one could argue that an increased reliance upon social services in impoverished neighborhoods will actually result in an increase of crime.

Lastly, many are weary to openly endorse defunding the police because it appears to be a tributary feeding a more radical river: abolition of the police. Abolishing the police, much like the movement to abolish ICE, is a policy idea expressed by the fringes of the left wing. The belief system undergirding this viewpoint is that the American police force is chronically racist. Its members, thus their actions, are discriminatory and perpetuate the racial inequality admonished by those calling for the abolition of the police. A NYT op-ed, written by Mariame Kaba, argues that since policing has roots in slave patrols and union busting the asphyxiation of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin is an expected and unsurprising corollary of an organization that has been marinating in a mélange of classism and racism since its genesis.

For those advocating police abolition, “reform” is viewed as insufficient. It is seen as a bromide used by moderate politicians to avoid a tangible restructuring of policing thus immortalizing the status quo. Reform is a more palatable dish in suburban dining rooms. Abolition, derived from the Latin infinitive abolere literally meaning “destroy,” makes many middle-class voters twitch as they imagine a future in which the thin blue-line restraining mayhem is snapped, unleashing a cascade of crime. Yet, the push to abolish the police may have its merits…

“Why did you have to shoot? I mean that’s the only question that matters right now. Why did you kill my son?” asked William Schultz, father of Scout Schultz who was a Georgia Tech student suffering from depression shot by Georgia Tech police in 2017. In the now infamous video, Scout can be seen holding a multi-purpose tool walking toward two police officers. After Scout’s death questions were asked as to why lethal force had to be used. Contrast this with an incident in Camden, NJ, where a knife-wielding individual threatened customers of a fried-chicken joint then walked down the street refusing to obey cops demands for him to put down the knife as he thrashed erratically. For 5 minutes, over a dozen police officers formed a loose semi-circle around the suspect, following him as he walked down the street. After repeated warnings, the man was tased, disarmed, and arrested. No death. What was the difference? Advocates of abolishing the police would argue that because the latter city had disbanded their police department and rebuilt a new, community-focused county force, violence was avoided.

In May 2013, the Camden City Council approved several resolutions that eliminated the city police department and established a new one under county control. The remaining city cops were all laid off and had to reapply to work with the county, under far less generous nonunion contracts. The Camden police was now bigger. By cutting salaries, the county was able to hire more officers, increasing the size of the department from 250 to 400. Plus, the officers were no longer rewarded for the number of tickets they had written, or how many arrests they had made. No longer would officers be the “arbitrary decider of what’s right and wrong,” Camden police chief, Scott Thomson, announced but rather consider themselves as “a facilitator and a convener.” A result of this structural innovation has been a 72% drop in violent crimes over 7 years.

It is clear that something has to change. However, this change should not be limited to the police. In order to prevent more George Floyd’s, one must approach the problem of policing as though it were a rock formation consisting of multiple compressed strata, preserved in time, now requiring excavation and examination. Such attempts have been made in the past, most notably by the presidentially appointed Kerner Commission set up to analyze the cause of the civil unrest in the late 1960’s. In the Commission’s landmark 1968 report it concluded: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal…White society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.” It’s time we stopped ignoring the inequality which persists in this nation. Poverty and policing are inextricably linked, defunding police might feel good for the Left and defunding welfare programs may feel good for the Right but what will work?
We still don’t know.

360 MAGAZINE, music, illustration, Sara Sandman

Lil Baby The Bigger Picture

Intro – News Voiceover “Protests continue amid a growing national outcry over the death of George Floyd (No Justice No Peace in the background), Last Night peaceful protests in Minneapolis escalated as demonstrators clashed with police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. The main message that they have is that they want to see the officers involved, they want to see those officers arrested. A well-known Atlanta attorney says without the video of what happened, he doesn’t believe any district attorney would have brought any criminal charges against them.”

Trade my 4×4 for a G63 Ain’t no more free Lil Steve I gave them chance and chance and chance again I even done told them please I find it crazy the police will shoot you and know that you dead but still tell you to freeze Fucced up I seen what I seen I guess that mean hold him down if he say he can’t breath It’s too many mothers that grieving They killing us for no reason Been going on for too long to get even Throw us in cages like dogs and hyenas I went to court and they sent me to prison My mama was crushed when they said I can’t leaveFirst I was drunk then I sobered up quick when I heard all that time they gave to Taleeb He got a life sentence plus We just some products of our environment How the fucc they gone blame us You can’t fight fire with fire I know but at least we can turn up the flames some Every colored person ain’t dumb And all Whites not racist I be judging by the mind and heart I ain’t really into faces Fucced up the way that we livin is not getting’ better you gotta know how to survive Crazy I had to tell all of my loved ones to carry a gun when they going outside Stare in the mirror whenever you drive Overprotective, go crazy for mine You gotta pay attention to the signs Seems like the blind following the blind Thinking ‘bout everything that’s going on I boost security up in my home I’m with my kind if they right or they wrong I call him now he’ll pick up the phone And it’s 5 in the morning he waking up on it Tell them wherever I’m at then they comin’ I see blue lights, I get scared and start runnin’ That shit be crazy, they supposed to protect us Throw us in handcuffs and arrest us While they go home at night, that shit messed up Knowing we needed help, they neglect us Wondering who goin make them respect us I can see in your eye that you fed up Fuck around got my shot I won’t let up They know that we a problem together They know that we can storm any weather

Chorus

It’s bigger than Black and White It’s a problem with the whole way of life It can’t change overnight But we gotta start some whereMight as well gone ‘head start here We done had a hell of a year I’m goin make it count while I’m here God is the only man I fear

Verse 2

Fuck it I’m goin on the front line He goin bust yo’ ass if you come pass that gun line You know when the storm go away Then the sunshine U gotta put your head in the game When it’s crunch time I want all my sons to grow up to be monsters I want all my daughters to show out in public Seems like we losing our country But we gotta stand up for something So this what it comes to Every video I see on my conscious I got power now I gotta say somethin’ Corrupted police been the problem where I’m from But I would be lying if I said it was all of ‘em I didn’t do this for the trend I don’t follow them Altercations with the law, had a lot of ‘em People speaking for the people I’m proud of ‘em Stick together we can get it up out of ‘em I can’t lie like I don’t rap about killing and dope But I’m telling my youngins’ to vote I did what I did cuz I didn’t have no choice or no hope I was forced to just jump in and go This bullshit is all that we know But it’s time for a change Got time to be serious No time for no games We ain’t takin’ no more Let us go from them chains God bless their souls every one of the names

(Chorus)

Verse 3

They trainin’ officers to kill us They shootin’ protestors with these rubber bullets They regular people I know that they feel it These scars too deep to heal us What happen to covid Nobody remember it ain’t Makin sense I’m just here to vent It happened to one of yo people it’sdifferent, We get it, the system is wicked just learn how to pick it Knowledge is power, I swear I’m a witness I know that I’m gifted I won’t go too deep, cuz I’m scared they’ll get me I ain’t scared to admit it some shit I can’t mention It’s people who can, well here’s the chance I won’t take the stand But I’ll take a stand for what I believe Must not be breathing the air that I breathe You know the way that I bleed you can bleed I never been a fan of police But my neighborhood know I try to keep peace So it’s only right I get in the streets March for a reason not just on GP Our people died for us to be free Fuck do you mean This was a dream Now we got the power that we need to have They don’t want us with it and that’s why they mad

Chorus 2x

Zakat Provides Aid in Minneapolis

Two days after George Floyd’s bereaved family and an emotional nation laid this unlikely icon of systemic American racism and anti-Black police brutality to rest in Houston, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called on Zakat Foundation of America — for the third time in 10 days — to haul in and hand out a truckload of farm-picked produce for local families still cut off from wholesome fresh fare. 

“I invited them to bring another container of food, as there is unfortunately no shortage of need,” Congresswoman Omar said. “And I am honored to join and help them in the distribution this Friday.” 

Friday, June 12’s free distribution will start around 10 a.m. at the Bryan Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave S. 

“I appreciate that Zakat Foundation of America thought of us and came out to Minneapolis with food aid during this difficult time. It means a lot,” Congresswoman Omar said.

Floyd, 46, died handcuffed, surrendered, face-down on a street in Omar’s district — pleading for breath, calling for his mother, throttled beneath the knee on his neck of then-19-year veteran, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on Memorial Day, May 31.

The brazen murder transpired for nearly 9 remorseless minutes in broad daylight; Chauvin, hands nonchalantly in his pockets, smirking directly into the recording video camera, with onlookers imploring him for mercy for Floyd’s expiring life.

“Godliness means acting quickly with compassion for the vulnerable,” said Halil Demir, Zakat Foundation’s executive director. “We didn’t wait for an invitation. Right away, we moved to bring these victims of racism and persecution the most basic sustenance of life cut from them: fresh fruits, vegetables, and milk.”

Content and Character

Zakat Foundation relief workers will pass out more than 18,000 pounds of colorful produce and 400 gallons of milk, with help from Congresswoman Omar and her staff.  Each produce box contains about 25 pounds of farm-fresh tomatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.

On June 3, global charity Zakat Foundation became the first major organization in the country to initiate food relief for people of the Twin Cities severed from food markets by police riots in response to protests and months of coronavirus pandemic disruptions.

The international humanitarian nonprofit, headquartered in Bridgeview, Ill., near Chicago, made good on Demir’s promise to return with more garden-fresh provisions just two days later, June 5.  Demir said Zakat Foundation and its supporters intend to deliver more than food to the people of the community and city now indelibly marked as ground-zero for America’s anti-racist social crisis.

“We want to put a little bit of love in the hearts of people, bring some healing to our nation.”  

Many-Splendored Goodness

Zakat Foundation relief specialists worked to ensure their food campaign paid multiple relief dividends. They procured the fruits and vegetables for food baskets fresh from Midwest farmers.

That made its produce campaign and donors’ gifts deeds of double goodness. On one hand, this provided Minneapolis’ food-, job-, and mobility-deprived people with healthful nourishment. On the other, it helped lessen the dramatic economic shortfall struggling farmers faced unexpectedly, forced to plow their harvests under or destroy yields in the face of COVID-19’s economic ambush.

The aid group, based on Islam’s celebrated Third Pillar, Zakat, the yearly almsgiving obligation on wealthy Muslim individuals from which it takes its name, will have sent more than 60,000 pounds of free produce and milk into Minneapolis’ afflicted neighborhoods in less than two weeks. They’ve duplicated this giving for hard-pressed people in cities across the nation, including New York, Durham (North Carolina), St. Louis and Oakland.

In addition, Demir has slipped in shipments of PPE — medical masks and gloves — to help health care staff and essential workers cope with the persisting pandemic. This remains crucial, particularly among African-Americans, another reflection of the epidemic of racism across the country.

Demir, who personally drove in with the first shipment and passed out the produce boxes and milk, along with Omar, sees this work as the beginning of a necessary curative for what hurts in America.

“If we give a little, each of us, and really care for our brothers and sisters — as children of our one father, Adam, and one mother, Eve — it won’t just ease the hearts of others. It will heal our own,” Demir said.

About Zakat Foundation:

Founded in 2001, Zakat Foundation of America helps generous and caring people reach out to those in need. Zakat Foundation’s mission is to address immediate needs and ensure the self-reliance of the poorest people around the world. Zakat Foundation conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 50 countries. For more information, please visit Zakat.org.

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