Posts tagged with "minorities"

Heather Skovlund computer illustration for use by 360 Magazine

CSR In The Digital Age: With 360 Magazine

By: Kai Yeo

“We’re all connected through culture. Basically, we all must learn to adapt. We learn more through traveling and seeing more. When you’re in a different environment, everybody must love and laugh and dance. I don’t need to know your language. But companies need to focus on connecting everyone through love, not war.” – Vaughn Lowery

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, with its’ roots being found as early as the 18th Century. In my CSR research assignment before, I wrote that “the key idea of CSR is for companies to pursue pro-social objectives and promote volunteerism among employees (such as through donating to charity and participating in volunteer work), as well as by minimizing environmental externalities.” As an international student trying to find my career path in the United States, I find that company CSR is one of the first few things I look for when finding a suitable company to work with: how genuine they are and how much they care for their employees. The process of researching and writing my essay on CSR in the modern day and CSR within my internship site provided me with the valuable opportunity not only to learn about an important business topic, but also allowed me to develop a better understanding of what it is.

For my CSR Interview, I got the opportunity to speak on the phone with my supervisor Vaughn Lowery. His career started from “humble beginnings in Detroit to a full scholarship in Cornell University under the ILR program. From there, he became active in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays.” Now, Vaughn is the publisher and founder of leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, 360 Magazine, which is also my internship site. His job involves fostering relationships within the community and being an editorial director that curates and oversees content for all columns of the magazine. The position also entails making sure that Apple News, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other news sites are updated. As a pop culture and design magazine, it is important to constantly be up to date with relevant content and breaking news. Being a quarterly publication, 360 is also working on their summer magazine issue. Vaughn mentions that with COVID making everything digital, the team has been working on expanding the business: creating a self-publishing division, developing e-commerce, getting sponsors, and most importantly, waiting for things to start opening back up.

With a background in studying business and company culture, Vaughn says that his education helped him design a company culture that made sense, “Transparency, cool kids, intelligence. I wanted a space for comfort regardless of race, age, and religion. Education was not the answer to my business but a part of the process to help with preparing for my magazine. The most important thing is life experiences, there are no books on it.” Vaughn emphasizes sending people in his company for events and communicating with clientele because “you can’t speak about things you don’t know.” COVID has made jobs in the media a little more mundane, but he’s excited about things opening back up and is hopeful for the future. Without in-person experiences, it is hard to understand the inner workings of media companies with everything being digitally produced.

Vaughn defines Corporate Social Responsibility at 360 Magazine as “having an environment that is inviting and inclusive, especially showcasing inclusivity.” As a magazine that promotes culture and lifestyle, it is important that everyone he works with is aware of what is going on in the world that we live in and what is happening with minority populations. He speaks about being the only African American in a lot of his school and work experiences, and he created 360 with the ideal of having more minorities and women working in his company: “We all live in the same world… and some people don’t know that. But we need representation and for people to see us. It’s not on us to educate them, but it’s on us to speak up.” 360 avidly speaks up for diversity (#metoo) and openly supports nonprofit organizations.

When asked about how veritable he thinks big companies are with CSR movements, he says that they’re doing it for a myriad of reasons. Companies get away with more stuff as a corporation, “But the responsibility is about being genuine. The board of directors and Zoom calls and the whole spiel. If they’re trying to just make money, revenue principals are not true to themselves. 360 was founded on real culture. The diversity is important. It is what it is.”

“Your company diversity is a reflection of the world, we’ve been doing this since the start of 360, we’ve been ahead of the trend.” The magazine has always featured drag queens, people who are transgender, and minorities, “This is very important when doing events and stuff, it’s a big family. We have less than 50 people. And it’s important for our clients to know that we have each other and rely on each other. That we know how to respect one another and appreciate each other, despite all odds.” Vaughn believes that diversity and inclusion of people of color has always been important, and he emphasizes that 360 will keep pushing these agendas and morals as long as he’s the head of the company. I see this in his effort to get everyone together (even if it is just on Zoom for now) to celebrate big articles, book releases, sponsorships, and so on.

As I type this interview essay, I find two key points to really reflect on: 1) assumptions about company morale and 2) why diversity is so important to me.

1) I think back on everyone else I’ve spoken to during my time as an intern here with 360, and I find that these core values that Vaughn spoke about with me are reflected in all the conversations I’ve had with him and other employees. Coming from a very structured, patriarchal Asian background, I came into this internship thinking that it would be like all my previous experiences (they talk of diversity, but it’s never really executed once you’re a part of it – school projects, internships, part-time jobs, and so on). However, no one in the company has been curt or condescending when speaking with me, and they truly mean it when they point out mistakes and gently correct me. Maybe it is because of the way I was brought up, or the environment I was most familiar in, but these good intentions had me on my toes for the first couple weeks I was here, and I’m honestly still getting used to it.

2) With the rise of Asian hate crimes in the past year, I find myself turning very reclusive and immediately trying to find fault with people when something brushes me the wrong way (though sometimes it really is a racist comment or remark). It’s been difficult having to correct people when they say my name wrong or trying to explain my culture when these simple things can so easily be looked up online. I’ve been very lucky growing up well-traveled and seeing different parts of the world, and I understand that not everyone has that privilege, but how far does “I don’t know” get you in the digital age? I need to work in a company where people are willing to learn and grow new perspectives, and I see this quality in Vaughn too as he speaks about his loneliness as the only African American in his industry when he was first starting out.

After 45 minutes of talking about diversity and the whole CSR conversation winding down, Vaughn tells me to keep doing what I love, “Understanding the industry through work experiences is how you’ll get in. It’s constantly changing.” He talks about learning to forecast and foreshadow and having connections at arms’ reach. By the end of our conversation, I felt that I learnt a lot and could have a clearer vision of what I wanted out of this internship. I’ve had the opportunities to go for company events (for brands including Lillet, Chinese Laundry, Rockstar Original, etc.), though I would really like to be able to go to a CSR event in the near future to promote these same values that I share with 360 Magazine.

To read more about Vaughn Lowery, please visit his Wikipedia and IMBD.

Town & Country’s 8th Philanthropy Summit – Pharrell Williams × José Andrés

The 8th annual Town & Country Philanthropy Summit kicked off today with an amazing conversation between Pharrell Williams and José Andrés, moderated by Soledad O’Brien.

See below for highlights from the panel as well as a link to view the interview in its entirety:

Pharrell Williams on how he thinks about philanthropy and what his goals are: 

“When we think about the African diaspora and people of color and what people who are deemed ‘minorities’ – which we are actually not—but that’s just the saying. There are three pillars that affect us the most—disproportionate access to education, disproportionate access to healthcare, and also disproportionate access to legislation. I think the first two are the ones that I want to focus on because they’re the ones that I feel like I can, through my resources and even my likenesses whenever needed, that I can actually make a difference in education and healthcare. These are the things that hurt us the most.”

José Andrés on why he focuses on food insecurity:

“I am one more cook in the universe of people that feed people in America or around the world. But people like me, we only feed the few. I am in the power, when you began thinking, we can also be a part of feeding the many. And where we can join forces to the many around America, and around many places in the world, in the most difficult moments, to be able to bring solutions. For me, food is my way of doing it, but what we do is only a drop of water in an ocean of empathy. It requires a lot of props of empathy to make things happen. Obviously what I do is more focused on emergencies, I don’t like to see people in mayhem; people who, already in the good times forgotten, that are voiceless, that nobody takes care of. It’s even worse when a hurricane, an earthquake, an explosion of fire, a pandemic, hits their communities even further. That’s the moment that I feel the urgency of now being yesterday, and I love to bring my community and try to be nice to as many people as we can in these moments of mayhem. At the end of the day, one plate of food at a time won’t solve every problem but at least you buy time. And you give hope to people who need it the most.”

Pharrell on how he and Jose met and joined forces: 

“Catherine Kimmel – the great connector – took me to an event. Here’s a guy that you really need to meet because, like you, he takes what it is he does and puts it to better usage and thinks about others… [at an event in New York] I was so impressed because there were so many chefs there but this guy – it was different. Yes, he’s a chef and he’s all about his ingredients and recipes, but his greatest meal was his operation and people and his ability to galvanize. It was really apparent that everyone was centered around him and all he wanted to do was feed people and bring people together and help people see that through our differences and our challenges are actually a lot of solutions and we can make the world a better place and I was really blown away… Then we met and we realized there were a lot of things he was doing that I could be instrumental in helping him.”

José on meeting Pharrell and what attracted him to Pharrell:

“I go and meet Pharrell and he’s even better, he’s the better half. What you get is a good vibe – it’s very difficult to describe. You know, you read about people, NBA players, amazing musicians and I’m not only looking for the amazing things they do, which I love, but what’s behind. When you see that behind is something very powerful that they’re putting at the service of others – their power, their money, their contacts but something even more powerful is their brain connecting with their empathy within their hearts… We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without people like them. Pharrell knows and more importantly loves his community. We were able to do it in Virginia Beach and be there because Pharrell opened to us the doors of being that community without being foreigners. We were able to partner with local people, with local restaurants.”

José on how his family impacted his values and his metaphor on life:

“My mom and dad always believed in longer tables, not higher ones. The table will always be ready for whoever showed up… My father would put me in charge of making the fire. I did that since I was young, and I would become very good at making the fire. But my father was very particular, and he would never let me near the chicken… [he would say] ‘My son I know you wanted to do the cooking, but actually doing the fire and controlling the fire is the most important thing, everyone wants to do the cooking without understand the fire. My son you already have the biggest gift. Control the fire, master the fire, and then you can do any cooking you want.’ (I don’t know if my father told me that story with that idea or I’m making it more romantic along the way as the years pass by). My father was giving me a mantra for life itself: find your fire, control your fire, master your fire, and then you can do any cooking you want in your life.”

Pharrell on his foundation YELLOW:

“For us, we want to even the odds. I know that I was a very lucky person who benefitted from my teachers seeing something in me. They didn’t know what they were telling me or which way the way to go but they kept telling me to keep going. I think that had a profound effect on me because essentially education is the toolbox that every human being is going to need out in the world just to function… What we wanted to do is look at a curriculum that could assess these children and figure out how they comprehend information best. Then eventually make a curriculum that is sensory based and not sensory biased. If you learn differently than how the curriculum is being taught, then automatically you’re deemed as remedial… with the YELLOW hub, it’s the space where kids can learn based on their way they process their information.”

Pharrell on the education system:

“I love public school teachers and you know, love the unions as well, but the education the educational system is antiquated. I mean just ask your favorite Fortune 500 CEO – they might not be the best, they might not be well read, but that does not stop their genius. And this is what we want. We want to make sure that we reach every child by properly assessing their learning potential and comprehension preferences, and making sure that they have a curriculum that is based for them. Sensory bias is an issue, but sensory based learning special educational systems is the future. That’s how every child slip through the cracks and we get to eventually even the odds.”

José on how the pandemic affected and influenced his philanthropy:

“I think this year has changed all of us profoundly… Fundamentally has changed me. First, obviously take care of your family. I tried to be a father who took care of his daughters and my wife and trying to keep them safe. Every mother and father tried to do that. But then I began thinking that to take care of my daughters, it’s not putting them behind walls, to take care of my daughters, is bringing down those walls and trying to work as hard to provide for the other daughters and sons of other people I don’t know that they are trying to achieve the same for their children. The way I’m going to keep my daughters safer is not behind walls but with longer tables, where I work as hard to provide for my daughters as I’m going to work to provide for the daughters I don’t know. Fundamentally this is what changed me.”

José on what people get wrong about philanthropy:

“Robert Egger, my favorite food fighter, he said that it seems philanthropy is usually about the redemption of the giver, when philanthropy essentially needs to be about the liberation of the receiver. It’s nothing wrong to give and donate time or money or your brain and feel good about it, but fundamentally in this pandemic, I learned that to give, it’s not good enough, that we must do good, yes, but we must do smart good.”

Pharrell on the changes he has noticed this year:

“Empathy is at an all-time low. It’s not where it needs to be. There’s a lot of sympathy and pity, but there’s not empathy. And we need more of that, we need more empathy, we need more humility, we need more gratitude. I think the pandemic, for me, has taken me to that place where that’s the only thing I can think about.”

View the summit here.

The T&C Summit continues tomorrow (June 22, 2021 @ 12:30-1:30 PM EDT) with a panel between the power media couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue. Register directly here.

Joel Peterson photo via Deseret News for use by 360 Magazine

Joel Peterson x My Road to Cancellation

Joel Peterson, Stanford Professor and former JetBlue Chairman, writes about his experience navigating the minefield of woke hostility in his piece My Road to Cancellation:

“Wokeism,” America’s new civil religion, draws on elements of neo-Marxism, critical race theory, social justice and identity politics. Its adherents believe it will lead to a more just society. Its detractors, on the other hand, believe its “cancel culture” will push civil society to the brink. And, for the “woke,” either will do.

The roots of my own unlikely cancelation go as far back as 1987, when Jesse Jackson marched Stanford students up Palm Drive to a rhythmic chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western Civ has got to go!” The next year, I joined the advisory council of its Graduate School of Business where I was soon invited to fill a one-year faculty vacancy. To everyone’s surprise (including my own), I returned every fall for the next three decades to teach four courses to a generation of exceptional MBA candidates.

Then, last year, before a student-politician boldly posted that “White people need to be eradicated,” I was summoned to respond to an equally disturbing complaint over having “triggered” woke students. Because I didn’t think I’d done anything worthy of the summons and because I had received the distinguished teaching award from students, a “Silver Apple Award” from alumni and been appointed to a faculty chair, I wasn’t worried. Alas, I’d misjudged my peril.

Years after Jackson’s campaign to eliminate Stanford’s requirement to study Western civilization, an Iowa-born, New York Times reporter, Nikole Hannah-Jones, developed what she titled “The 1619 Project.” In it, she presented America as founded on slavery and stained by perpetual bigotry.

With boosts from the Pulitzer Foundation and from George Floyd’s tragic death, her social justice message struck a nerve. However, when a number of historians debunked the pseudo-history, Hannah-Jones repositioned her essay as “a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative.” She followed up with a New York Times Magazine article headlined “What is Owed” making a case for reparations, consistent with her 1995 letter to the editor in Notre Dame’s “The Observer,” in which she likened Christopher Columbus to Hitler.

With police departments defunded, monuments vandalized and cities torched, Dr. Seuss was soon condemned as racist, Mr. Potato Head scheduled for gender reassignment, and free speech restricted by social media oligarchs. So, it wasn’t a surprise to see social justice warriors on the previously welcoming Graduate School of Business campus.

Content of character vs. color of skin

In a class I teach, students objected when guest CEOs claimed to have been “color blind.” When I volunteered that I, too, had resisted hiring based on skin color, gender or quotas, and had relied, instead, on character, competence and commitment, some students were offended. To understand why those “triggered” would object to standards of character and competence being added to the emergent holy grail of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), I turned to one of my own daughters.

Sensing my bafflement at the outrage, she immediately wrote back:

“I have known you my entire life, and I know by your words and deeds that you value all people of all races, ethnicities, and genders. I know you are constantly impressed and inspired by immigrants and their amazing stories of courage and perseverance. I’m proud of the work you’ve done. If this younger, ‘triggered’ generation pushes out of their lives all who seek to improve their understanding, teach them, and open their minds to broader ways of thinking, it will be to their detriment.”

I’d taught my kids – and, until now, my students — that talent, character, and competence are evenly distributed across every demographic. In response to my determination to be on the lookout for leaders without regard to identity, an offended gender-studies major wrote that she’d not known “whether to scream or throw up.” After all, it had been nearly 60 years since Martin Luther King had dreamt of the day when the content of one’s character mattered more than the color of one’s skin. But, by the time that day happily arrived, “wokeism” had hijacked his dream, re-elevating skin color over character.

As demands for skin-color diversity were broadened to include gender and sexual orientation, a student notified me that I’d called on more men than women in two (of four) classes. Knowing that I was no respecter of persons — whether by gender, race, sexual orientation, or anything else — I moved ahead with the course, suddenly aware that my interactions with students were being catalogued by identity.

Soon, a Black Lives Matter advocate asked, of all things, whether I would stand for the American flag. To provide context for my decision, I shared a story. As a toddler, I’d seen my mother take a call from the Department of Defense announcing that her fighter-pilot brother had been killed. Honoring her grief, I’d chosen to stand for the flag under which my only uncle had offered the ultimate sacrifice. The student’s response was presented as an irrefutable argument; my choice was “racist.”

Furthermore, in this woke new world, my professional experience was no longer relevant because of the race and gender I’d been assigned at birth. Despite having created tens of thousands of jobs, promoted women and minorities, and coached scores of entrepreneurs, I was deemed an “oppressor” in the catechism of “wokeism.” Furthermore, the penance for being raised in a “systemically racist” society — founded on millennia of Greek, Roman and Judeo-Christian antecedents, no less — was submission, and, if resisted, cancelation.

The reason behind such tyranny came into focus for me when Condolezza Rice, former secretary of state and current director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, told me she’d shared with her students that the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (9/11’s architect) had felt like “having Erwin Rommel under lock and key.” The blank looks on the faces of her very bright students revealed that they had never heard of WWII’s famous Desert Fox.

Until then, I’d traced the enmity to activists like Jackson and Hannah-Jones. Now, I could see that it also stemmed from students having swapped an education for indoctrination. Those enlisted as social justice warriors had avoided the lessons of history, missed out on refining skills that might have allowed them to judge assertions, and denied themselves the insights required to make wise trade-offs.

Because such uninformed activism brought with it a minefield of woke hostility, I kept to myself any reservations I harbored about critical race theory, gender fluidity, and climate alarm. And, when Stanford’s math department proposed achieving “racial equity” by eliminating AP math (as racist, no less), I also kept quiet. Instead, I hoped my hardscrabble climb to CEO might inspire those who saw themselves as victims of inequity. Ironically, those who strained to label my uphill journey a product of “white supremacy” were often the very beneficiaries of woke preferences.

Oppressor-victim

To understand this recipe for canceling predecessor generations, I spoke next with Stanford military historian Victor Davis Hanson. Because Hanson had written the following, I wanted his help in gracefully handling the oppressor-victim theme:

“We should not… allow a current affluent, leisure, and pampered generation to hijack the past, and damn it to perdition. (They have) not earned the right to… cancel… those of the past who won Gettysburg, or built the Hoover Dam, or produced a Liberty ship every week.”

While Stanford had long nurtured a remarkably diverse and admirably inclusive community, it nonetheless rejected Hanson’s counsel in favor of a now fashionable “institutional racism.”

When Graduate School of Business faculty were further instructed to avoid “racist and xenophobic rhetoric and actions against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” I found myself wondering if the addendum were a virtue-signaling accusation, or if it were based on something I’d simply never encountered in all my years at Stanford. And, when the facts behind subsequent murders (of a Capitol police officer and 10 Colorado shoppers) contradicted de rigueur narratives, I wondered if the time had come to move beyond racial memes.

Apparently not. With free markets also labeled “racist,” those of us with responsibilities outside the ivory tower began to feel our “diversity of optic” (based on long experience) had been dismissed in favor of a “diversity of identity” (rooted in ideology). So, while I care deeply about Stanford University, and like and admire its president, provost, and business school dean, I was beginning to feel isolated.

Their deference to selective diversity led me to reflect upon a meeting I’d conducted in Berlin as chairman of JetBlue Airways. After the meeting, I’d taken a stroll down Unter den Linden to the Bebelplatz, 500 yards to the east of Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate. It was at that plaza, on May 10, 1933, that newly empowered Nazi officials had orchestrated the burning of “objectionable” books. Later dubbed “The Night of Shame,” the conflagration eventually contributed to Germany’s liberal democracy turning a blind eye to Kristallnacht, the Holocaust and an appalling rationale for war.

While loath to compare such a long-ago shame with how I was currently feeling in Palo Alto, of all places, I remembered being impressed that, in Berlin, the survivors of that era’s cancelation had later inserted “stumbling stones” between pavers to ensure that all who followed neither forget, nor repeat, that calamity.

As I traversed the once-riven capital city, the ground-level reminders had provoked in me a surge of optimism. Surely, the world would avoid the sort of conflict for which my own father had gone to war. Surely, everyone realized by now that banning books, restricting free speech and stoking fear would lead to tragedy. And, just as surely, America would eventually reject totalitarianism, even in its “wokest” form.

Yet, here I was, only three years later, 6,000 miles to the west of Berlin, sensing I was perilously connected to a prior generation’s intolerance. Adding to my anxiety was a discovery that my grandchildren’s generation were being scheduled to view an honorable heritage through a lens cleverly manufactured to provoke shame.

Forced to consider moving to a less hostile teaching environment, I heard from former students. One female “of color” offered that, of all her professors, I’d been the most supportive of women and minorities. Another confirmed that the majority of his classmates felt silenced by the threats of a racist label. One student even scolded me for having allowed “the slings and arrows” of the woke to achieve their hoped-for effect.

I smiled wanly to see that Prince Hamlet had somehow survived Jesse Jackson. I, on the other hand, had failed utterly to anticipate the distorting polemics of identity politics. The script advanced during America’s annus horribilis had pitted race against race, gender against gender, and generation against generation, all risking a degradation of spirit worse than any virus.

As a former CEO, it seemed to me that the narrative had gone well beyond gaining political or market advantage. It had even exceeded antifa’s hope for French-Revolution-style anarchy. In fact, by 2021, it looked like a bold attempt at a hostile takeover of mankind’s best hope for peace and prosperity.

This conclusion led me to contrast two Americans best known for their connections to societal breakdown — a mid-19th-century Abraham Lincoln and a mid-20th-century Saul Alinsky. I selected Lincoln because he’d guided America through a civil war, and Alinsky because his dream had been to provoke civil unrest by inciting those he called the “have-nots” against those whom he called the “haves.”

President Lincoln’s observation of America’s vulnerability mirrored community organizer Alinsky’s precondition for a successful revolution. Thus, the warning attributed to Lincoln that “America will never be destroyed from the outside; if we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves” was the basis for the race and class warfare Alinsky welcomed by rewriting history, inciting envy and “canceling” a large portion of the population.

Whereas Martin Luther King had called upon our “better angels” to subordinate our differences to shared values and, thus, to overcome what Condi Rice called our nation’s “birth defect,” Alinsky chose to repudiate King’s redemptive dream. If he could get people to ignore e pluribus unum (America’s motto since 1782), he might be able to overcome the spirit under which the nation had thrived.

By 2020, the pandemic had offered activists a unique opportunity to cleave the nation along identity and tribal lines, skirting the 238-year-old aspiration that had been Alinsky’s steepest obstacle. Using a fear of cancellation to silence half the population, SJWs dismissed the steady social progress that was the trademark of the world’s most successful multicultural society. Instead of celebrating the progress flowing from our commonalities, they fomented division by pointing to historical injustices.

Between a pandemic, racial tensions and the absence of a Lincolnesque figure to bind up our wounds and bring us together, America was, indeed, vulnerable. As its citizens awakened to the soft tyranny promoted during the pandemic, many felt betrayed by institutions they’d once admired and leaders they’d once trusted. And, for my part, I discovered that the experience I’d had with cancellation in the academy was being repeated all across the nation.

While I may well survive, America will not survive the rewriting of its history, the violation of its Constitution and the abandonment of the freedoms it has promised to citizens of all political persuasions, ethnicities, genders and orientations. No matter our differences, unless we preserve free speech, secure our Constitution and re-enthrone individual responsibility over victimhood, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will be unable to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

And Alinsky’s vision will have canceled Lincoln’s.

Joel Peterson Bio

Joel Peterson is the Robert L. Joss Professor of Management at Stanford University, the former managing partner of the Trammell Crow Company, the former chairman of the board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution, the former chairman of JetBlue Airways and the founder and chairman of Peterson Partners, a sponsor for a quarter century of more than a dozen funds covering private equity, venture and real estate investments in hundreds of companies and real estate projects across the nation and throughout the world.

Flag illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Legalizing Immigrant Essential Workers

ROUNDUP: Senate Subcommittee Hearing Energizes Advocates for Legalizing Immigrant Essential Workers This Year

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety held a hearing, chaired by Sen. Alex Padilla titled “The Essential Role of Immigrant Workers in America.” In response to this unofficial kick off of the next stage of the immigration debate, immigration advocacy organizations released statements highlighting the important roles immigrants play in our economy as essential workers and especially during national challenges, like the unprecedented pandemic. The hearing underscored why providing them a pathway to citizenship would not only be the right thing to do for them and their families, but also our country.

Read key excerpts from the statements below:

We Are Home Campaign:

This is our opening salvo in a renewed push to make legalization and citizenship a reality for essential workers in the next 100 days — including DACA, TPS, and Farmworkers. They are the backbone of key sectors in our economy and valuable contributors to our nation. With the support of the majority of the American public, and the collective power of our movement, we will work with Democrats to ensure that we legalize as many people as possible after decades of inaction. 

We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Padilla, Senator Menendez, Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats who are working to advance this goal. Unlike what the Republicans may lead you to believe, the moment is now.  There is a legislative path for immigration reform either through reconciliation or through the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We are ready to make sure our essential workers are able to live their lives with dignity and free from fear, and to that end we will hold both Democrats and Republicans accountable. 

National Immigration Forum:

Immigrant workers make up 17.4 percent of the labor force in the United States, and they have played a crucial role amid the pandemic. Across numerous sectors, immigrants are doing essential work on the front lines fighting Covid-19 and keeping the nation safe. Immigrants—faithful to their entrepreneurial spirit—have kept our country fed, healthy, and moving forward thanks to their work in health care, food supply, transportation, and other vital jobs.

The Forum believes that if our economy is to recover from the setbacks Covid-19 presented, we need immigrant workers operating at full steam. Hence, we urge Congress to pass immigration reforms to deal with the existence of the millions of people already living and working in the United States, many of whom are essential workers standing alongside American-born workers to help with Covid-19 response and recovery. The Forum endorses legislation that would allow essential workers—such as agricultural and health care workers—to earn permanent resident status and the possibility of citizenship.

National Immigration Law Center

Today’s hearing is an important step forward, as we continue to urge Congress to seize this critical moment and provide a long overdue pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, people with temporary protected status, and, eventually, all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. As we move into a recovery from COVID and build back our nation, we must recognize that there is no recovery without immigrants.

Church World Service:

For far too long, Dreamers, farm workers, TPS holders and many more immigrant workers have waited for Congress to deliver an opportunity to pass a meaningful, permanent solution that provides a path to citizenship. CWS joins nearly 1,000 faith organizations, faith leaders, and people of faith urging the Biden administration to include a pathway to citizenship for essential immigrant workers, farmworkers, people with DACA, TPS, and DED, and their families in the upcoming recovery packages prioritized through reconciliation […]. CWS urges the Biden administration and Congress to secure a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including essential workers, immediately.

FIRM Action:

More than five million undocumented essential workers have risked their health and lives throughout the pandemic to keep the country from completely collapsing. They take care of our kids and elderly, keep our hospitals and public spaces clean, and they are the workers–in the fields and grocery store aisles–who are responsible for feeding the nation. Congress has the ability to create this path and use any and all vehicles available to make it a reality–including via reconciliation. Denying them a pathway to citizenship is irresponsible and cruel.

Make the Road

The country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on Congress advancing legislation that delivers on its promise of long overdue relief to millions of DACA recipients, TPS holders and undocumented essential workers. With broad support across the country, Congress must deliver a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants as part of the reconciliation process. Before and throughout the pandemic immigrant essential workers put their life on the line to keep our communities safe and sustain our economy. It is time Congress values their work, honors their sacrifices, and recognizes their contributions by keeping them safe from deportation and separation from their families. To Build Back Better, Congress must take decisive action to move forward a path to citizenship for essential workers by passing the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act without any harmful provisions that criminalize our people.

CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights):

Undocumented immigrants are workers, taxpayers, consumers, entrepreneurs and neighbors, fueling our economic growth as a nation at every step. Year after year, they add trillions of dollars to our GDP and contribute to federal, state and local coffers with their taxes.

But during this past year, they have done even more: they have kept us safe even as they risked their own health to keep the country running. Some of them have even lost their lives in that effort. This bill would look after their families.

The least we can do as a nation is to see that sacrifice, acknowledge it, and reward them with the path to citizenship so many of them have sought for decades. They have our gratitude, but they deserve more: they must have the legalization that will allow them to keep contributing to this nation, now in the full sunlight of a fairer system–not in the shadow of fear and deportation.

United We Dream:

Over five million undocumented people continue to put their lives on the line to keep our communities and families healthy, fed, and safe amidst the pandemic. Despite facing increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, millions of undocumented people remain excluded from federal relief and recovery efforts, and in several cases have been denied vaccines in states like Florida and Texas because of their immigration status.

With immigration status being one of the most significant barriers preventing communities from fully recovering from COVID-19, passing a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, TPS holders, and farm workers is relief. Until all undocumented communities are protected permanently, we will not fully recover. Senate Democrats must do everything in their power to act swiftly to deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions now! This includes adding a pathway to citizenship for millions in the American Jobs Package and moving it through the budget reconciliation process.

Center for American Progress:

Providing these essential workers with permanent legal status will allow them to realize their full potential, to realize their American dreams. This is not only part of a just, inclusive, and robust post-pandemic economic recovery for all Americans, but can be done without increasing undocumented immigration to the U.S. Immigrant essential workers who lack permanent legal status deserve more than our recognition and our praise; they have earned a pathway to citizenship. They have kept us fed by working in our nation’s food supply chain. Workers deemed essential today should not live with the uncertainty and fear of deportation tomorrow.

With each day that goes by without meaningful immigration reform the fear of deportation or separation due to immigration status sits as an added burden on the shoulders of millions of immigrant essential workers and their families. Indeed, immigrant essential workers who lack permanent legal status have earned a pathway to citizenship. A pathway to citizenship for these workers is crucial not only for just keeping families together, but also for an inclusive and robust post-pandemic rebuilding of America.

America’s Voice:

Immigrant workers are essential workers and it’s time our country values their work, sacrifices, and contributions by providing a path to citizenship. We cannot continue to simultaneously treat essential workers as both essential and deportable. 

In his short time in the Senate, Sen. Padilla has taken an important leadership role on immigration and as Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee. Today’s hearing marks a new phase in the debate that underscores Democrats’ consensus that this is the year to finally achieve a popular breakthrough on citizenship and for Democrats to use their majority to change lives, strengthen the country and engage America’s immigrants fully in our recovery from COVID-19 and our recovery from the Trump years.

We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.

Streaming, tv, film, Nielsen story illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

STREAMING PLATFORMS LEADING THE WAY 

IN ON-SCREEN DIVERSE REPRESENTATION

Diversity at all-time high due to growing television landscape but notable disparities persist

The explosion of new television platforms across broadcast, streaming and cable has led to an increase in on-screen representation of diverse identity groups, according to Nielsen’s latest Diverse Intelligence Series report: Being Seen on Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV. 

Among the 300 most-viewed programs in 2019, 92% had some level of diversity in the cast (i.e. women, people of color or LGBTQ+). Whites, African Americans and LGBTQ+ had the largest overall share of screen while Women, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans were underrepresented relative to their population estimates. The report uncovers notable differences in identity group representation across different platforms; with streaming over-indexing on representation for certain identity groups versus traditional broadcast and cable.

In this report, Being Seen on Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV, Nielsen reports on scripted, reality, variety and news programming on key metrics: 

  • Share of Screen (SOS): composition of the top 10 recurring cast members in a program
  • Inclusion Opportunity Index (IOI): compares the SOS of an identity group (e.g. women) to their representation in population estimates
  • Inclusion Audience Index (IAI): compares the SOS of an identity group to their representation in a program’s audience.

The report is powered by Gracenote Inclusion Analytics, a new solution delivering cutting-edge metrics created from Gracenote content metadata and Nielsen audience measurement data, providing the industry with consistent and reliable measurement of granular viewing. The report also leverages Gracenote Video Descriptors, metadata relating to story, mood, character, theme and scenario in each program. 

Key insights from the report include:

Overall, representation of diverse identity groups in on-screen programming is low across all media platforms. Streaming fares better for inclusion followed by broadcast and cable. Viewing audiences are increasingly seeking content that tells their stories. As a result, people are migrating to platforms that have broad and more diverse content offerings. 

  • Representation by platform (Broadcast, Cable, Streaming): Nearly one-third of the content on cable doesn’t have parity representation of Indigenous, People of Color (Black, Native American, Asian & Pacific islander, Hispanic/Latinx, Middle eastern/ North African, Multiracial), Women or LGBTQ talent. 
  • Subscription video on demand (SVOD) programming represents several identity groups e.g. Blacks, Hispanic and Asians well, helping us understand, in part, why more diverse audiences are subscribing to streaming services than the general population.
  • Representation of identity groups by genre (e.g. comedy, drama, news): 
    • While women are not well represented in any single genre, the highest representation for women is in science fiction, drama, comedy and horror. 
    • Women have the lowest representation in news. 
    • People of color representation is at parity in music and drama, followed by science fiction and action and adventure.  
    • People of color have least relative representation in news. 
    • News does prominently feature LGBTQ talent on-screen. 
    • Reality and horror programming also prominently feature LGBTQ talent. 

All audiences, regardless of how they identify, like to see diversity in the content they view on TV. Programs that represent multiple identity groups evenly yield higher overall audience ratings for all viewers when compared to shows that have a significant over or under representation of any one identity group.  

Quality of representation matters too. The themes and narratives depicted on-screen can contribute to identity formation and social perceptions. As the industry seeks to improve diversity on-screen, content creators and publishers should consider the context in which women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ talent are presented. Equally important is investing in marketing those diverse programs so that they are watched.

  • Women insights
    • Comprise 52% of the U.S. population; show up on screen only 38% of the time
    • Women 50+ years old 
      • 60% less likely to see themselves in programming than in the general population, and 2x the representation of men 50+
      • Women 50+ comprise 20% of the population and 20% of all TV viewers, but have a SOS of less than 8%
      • Men 50+ years old are 17% of the total population and have SOS of 14%
  • LGBTQ+ insights
    • 1 out of 4 top performing programs across cable, broadcast and streaming have relative representation of LGBTQ+ cast members 
    • Total SOS for LGBTQ was 7%. LGBTQ people are 4.5% of the population so across all platforms we see fair representation
    • The highest level of representation is on SVOD (8% SOS), followed by cable (7%) then broadcast (5%). 

Aligning representative casting and content themes is an area of opportunity. In the programming where identity groups see themselves represented at parity, these are the themes that are most present: 

  • Latinas: dysfunction, emotional, suspenseful, melodramatic, police stations
  • Black women: emotional, personal relationships, sons, investigation, rivalry
  • Black men: investigation, thrilling, streets, pursuit, teamwork, discovery
  • East Asians: challenge, courage and bravery, justice, sons, discovery
  • South/Southeast Asian males: thrilling, awakening, offices, courtrooms
  • White women: friendship, family, love, husbands, daughters

Nielsen’s findings aim to show media owners the degree to which their programming is inclusive, coupled with the diversity of the audience they draw. Additionally, brands and agencies will now be able to measure their advertising investment and alignment to inclusive content. The identity groups measured included: Female, Male & Expansive Gender Identities, Black/African American, Hispanic, Asian & Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern/North African, Multiracial, White, Native American/Native Alaskan, and Sexual Orientation. The data, which was both intersectional and granular, enables Nielsen to look at specific identity subsegments like Afro-Latino or Southeast Asian. 

“At Nielsen, we believe that the audience is everything and that inclusion is a prerequisite of a healthy media ecosystem, ensuring all communities and individuals are heard and seen,” stated Tina Wilson, Nielsen EVP, Media Analytics and Marketing Outcomes. “The call for inclusive programming that breaks traditional stereotypes and gives a voice to underrepresented groups has never been louder.”

“This work underscores the essential importance of on-screen representation in an increasingly diverse audience landscape,” said Sandra Sims-Williams, Nielsen SVP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Not only is the business case for inclusion made but it also provides practical recommendations on how media companies can address inclusion gaps. This is a must-read for any media professional who wants to be part of the change that today’s television viewers demand.”

For more details and insights, download Being Seen On Screen: Diverse Representation & Inclusion on TV. Please visit nielsen.com/inclusionanalytics to learn more. Join the discussion on Facebook (Nielsen Community) and follow us on Twitter (@NielsenKnows).

ABOUT NIELSEN 

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

Covid-19 Impact on Artists

Story × Art: Alex Rudin

As we head into the eighth month of Covid-19, the distractions of apple picking, pumpkin carving, and outdoor dining are behind us. Lockdowns have long been lifted and social gatherings have become commonplace. The ominous inevitability of a deadly third wave looms. This guaranteed “dark winter” begs one to reflect on the early days of the pandemic. A time when fear, disinformation, and isolation plagued every household, no matter its inhabitants. 2020 has been a year of postponement, grief, isolation, and reckoning. Yet with struggle comes the opportunity for growth, change, and creation… If you let it. As Andy Warhol once said, “they always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

As a self-employed artist, uncertainty is a language I speak well. Prior to Covid-19 I spent my days in the School of Visual Arts printshop in NYC. From conceptualizing and prototyping new products for my business, Rudin Studios LLC, to fumbling around for an answer to the age-old question of “what to make,” it is clear I was lost in an artistic haze of looking for purpose. Then Coronavirus hit. Instantaneously everything turned upside down. Suddenly, I was in an unfamiliar town, without the ability to work (silkscreen), miles away from the studio I call home. I remained glued to the news awestruck by the infection and mortality rates. I racked my brain for something to do, how to help, what to make.

I became focused on those who were not as privileged as me. Those who were struggling to find housing, to feed themselves, to protect themselves from this deadly virus which was clearly and disproportionately hurting people of color. I began working on a series of paintings to be auctioned off, 100% of the proceeds going to homeless and trafficked youth in NYC. While the fundraiser was a success, I could not help but feel the conceptual aspects of the work were not important, relevant, or impactful. If I learned anything from my education at Parsons School of Design, it is that concept is king. My artwork slowly began to shift towards the idea of documentation. Buzzwords like “historical” and “unprecedented” flew across the airwaves and fueled my desire to capture and document the struggles of 2020. This was just the beginning.

Soon to follow were the atrocious murders of George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, which brought racial justice to the forefront of the American conscience. While the President continuously fanned the flames of racism, the cries for equality and allyship were deafening. It was time to allow my artwork to reflect the times and struggles of our country which so deeply affected me and so many others. Black Lives Matter, and it is the white person’s responsibility to be educated allies; to use the privilege we are born into to advocate for our oppressed brothers and sisters. I wanted to help acknowledge, reflect, and correct the institutional racism that is so insidiously intertwined with our institutions and the American way of being.

Concurrently, the 2020 Presidential election was ramping up. Climate change’s incendiary winds pillaged the west. The wearing of masks became a polarizing political tool. And all the while, the current administration refused to acknowledge or accept responsibility for any of it. Rather shifting blame, denying, and lying became the governing practice. The global importance of what was taking place in the United States was apparent. Election 2020 was to be a reckoning. On the docket: racial justice, women’s rights, climate change, science, and healthcare, to name a few. A polarizing choice between Id and empathy.

For the first time in my career, my purpose seemed clear. I began making work that focused on the progression of human rights, equality, and fairness relying on my trusty formula of stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. I firmly believe that artists have a social responsibility to reflect the times we live in. The majority of my work has focused on uncovering and expressing truths about what it means to be a woman in 2020. However, one cannot comment on the feminine experience without addressing the current political situation and the oppression experienced by American minorities. While the Trump Administration continued to attack women’s rights, promote violence, ignore climate change, and fan the flames of racism, I relied on my creative voice to talk about the challenges we faced not only as women, but as a nation. That being said, I decided to devote my time to creating a series of posters for the 2020 election to help galvanize the female vote. This included partnering with Women for Biden Harris 2020, Women for the Win, and Article 3 among numerous other female-run organizations.

While the trials and tribulations of 2020 have forever altered the fabric of American reality, so has it altered me. A year such as this begs internal personal reflection if not metamorphosis. To find purpose, love, and empathy through the chaos of hate and violence is the silver-lining we all need. In a time where division is the name of the game, we must transcend the idea of the “other.” As the most recent Covid-19 wave surges across the country, I implore anyone with the creative impulse to say something, to do so. Pick up the pen. Document the times, the thoughts, the fears that come along with living through such tumultuousness. Follow the empathy, the creativity, and the voice inside telling you to advocate for those less fortunate. As Thomas Paine aptly stated, “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” If you find yourself in a place of privilege, take it upon yourself to seize the opportunity in front of you. It is not an opportunity for financial incentive or career advancement, but for internal revolution. Soon, life will “go back to normal,” but there’s nothing normal about what we have witnessed. Allow the intensity of experience to alter you. For when the time has come and gone, and you reflect upon 2020, wouldn’t it be nice to say that through all the sadness, grief, and fear a better version of yourself was uncovered?

Seattle Illustration by Mina Tocalini

Seattle Diversity Training

By Eamonn Burke

The City of Seattle recently held a training about Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority for their white employees. Traits of internalized racism, according to the diversity trainers that led the session, include individualism, objectivity, and intellectualization.

The training included an extensive list of oppressive behavior that white people can commit against their co-workers, as well as a guideline for being allies to minorities. The city also encourages self affirmation in one’s contribution to the persistence of racism, with a goal of “undoing whiteness”. A visual aid of the racist “cycle” was included in the training. Another handout read: “racism is not our fault but we are responsible.”

A major focus of the training was that white people had to “give up” certain privileges to truly purge themselves of internalized racism. The diversity trainers specified these privileges to include comfort as well as social status and control. Lastly, they gave examples of achieving the status of a “white ally” to describe the goal of the training.

The goal, as described by the city in an email, is for “city employees who identify as white to join this training to learn, reflect, challenge ourselves, and build skills and relationships that help us show up more fully as allies and accomplices for racial justice.”

360 Magazine

No Trust In Trump

Americans are getting information about the coronavirus pandemic from political leaders and medical professionals, but confidence in those sources varies widely. A recent national survey conducted on behalf of the Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences finds that Americans are more likely to trust information that comes from medical professionals than politicians, with President Trump seen as least trustworthy regarding the information he provides. This and other findings from the survey suggest that Americans are putting their faith in medical expertise when it comes to getting critical information on how to best protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. There are, however, substantial differences in who and what they trust based on a person’s politics and race.

The poll interviewed 1003 American adults nationwide on landlines and cell phones from May 20 through May 25, 2020. Medical professionals top the list of those Americans say they trust most for information about the coronavirus. Fifty-eight percent say they have a “great deal” of trust in doctors and scientists, while government-run websites are trusted by around a third of all Americans (36%). However, once political leaders become the source of information, Americans are more likely to distrust than trust what they see, hear, or read. Around a quarter (27%) have a great deal of trust in statewide elected officials, including their governor, and barely a fifth (22%) fully believe what their president tells them. In fact, the president is the only source who a majority (55%) of Americans distrust rather than trust.

“These findings point to the immense level of distrust Americans have in the ability of elected officials to communicate critical information needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the obvious lack of meaningful leadership at the federal level,” said Bojana Beric-Stojsic, director of MPH program and an Associate Professor of Public Health, FDU School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “What is most surprising and very distressing is that only 58 percent of Americans have a great deal of trust in doctors and scientists in the midst of a health crisis.”

Americans do give doctors and scientists much higher marks than the president when it comes to evaluating the reasons for evolving and sometimes conflicting information. Almost eight-in-ten believe that doctors and scientists change their recommendations on how to prevent and treat the coronavirus based on newly discovered scientific evidence (77%) rather than bowing to political pressure (23%). The opposite is true when it comes to the president, as more than half (53%) say his recommendations often change for political reasons rather than newly emerging scientific evidence (47%).

There is, however, a significant partisan divide on these issues. Although clear majorities of both Democrats and Republicans say that changing recommendations from doctors and scientists are due to newly discovered scientific evidence, President Trump’s evolving statements are understood very differently. Eighty-four percent of Republicans believe science dictates the president’s statements, while virtually the same percentage of Democrats (86%) believe political pressures explain changes in President Trump’s public statements about how to prevent and treat COVID-19. A huge gap between Democrats and Republicans also characterizes perceptions of the overall trustworthiness of the president (3% versus 47%), with a smaller but still significant difference separating Democrats from Republicans on their willingness to extend a “great deal” of trust to statewide elected officials like the governor (36% versus 20%).

“It’s notable that not even among his own partisans and those who approve of the job he’s done in managing this crisis does the President get a majority to say the information he provides about the coronavirus can be trusted a great deal,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the FDU Poll and professor of government and politics.

There are also significant racial disparities in assessing Trump’s performance and trustworthiness. More black Americans (83%) disapprove of the President’s management of the pandemic compared to 43 percent of white and 62 percent of Hispanic respondents; and 70 percent of blacks have absolutely no trust that the President provides accurate information about the coronavirus, compared to 37 percent of whites and 44 percent of Hispanics. More black Americans (79%) also believe Trump changes his recommendations about the coronavirus due to political pressure compared to 47 percent of whites and 60 percent of Hispanics.

Limited COVID Race Data

Last month, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent two letters to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, requesting comprehensive national race and ethnic demographic data for tests, cases and fatalities related to COVID-19. The Lawyers’ Committee received a letter in response last week from the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Robert Redfield.

The director’s response, lacking in substance, indicates that it could be weeks, or even months, before HHS provides a true and accurate account of the impact of this devastating this virus.

The coronavirus has been circulating in major U.S. cities since January. And five months into this pandemic, neither HHS nor the CDC has provided a full and complete data set showing the number of African Americans, and other racial and ethnic minorities, who have been tested for, contracted, or died from the virus. However, the limited data that has been released shows communities of color are suffering disproportionately from the pandemic. Robust and comprehensive race and ethnic demographic data is critical to shape effective policy responses that direct resources to African American communities and other communities of color, and to stem community spread of COVID-19.

“How many African Americans have to die before either HHS or the CDC can provide substantive data on the true racial impacts of COVID-19 and provide a clear plan to address the existing disproportionate impacts on African Americans and other communities of color?” said Kristen Clark, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This is a public health emergency that requires a strategic response that directs resources to hot spots and towards African American communities that are suffering at higher rates. We cannot properly address a growing problem if the nation’s top health agencies will not adequately report useful data. Everyday there is a delay costs more lives and causes suffering.” Read the CDC response letter here.

illustration, 360 MAGAZINE, Alejandra Villagra

Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project

Oxygen, the home for quality true-crime programming, debuts a compelling two-hour documentary, “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project,” on Sunday, April 5, at 7pm ET/PT.

With 2.2 million men and women behind bars in the United States, more than any other country, Kim Kardashian West is making it her personal mission to address the criminal reform crisis and make an impactful change. This documentary is an inside look at Kim’s efforts to secure freedom for Americans who she believes have been wronged by the justice system. 

In Oxygen’s two-hour documentary “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project,” after hearing the story of Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother serving a life-plus-25-year sentence as a first-time nonviolent offender, Kim Kardashian West embarked on a road to advocacy as she campaigned for criminal justice reform and helped convince the White House to grant Alice clemency in June 2018. 

The show captures Kim as she lends a hand to right injustices and advocate for change by exploring the cases of Dawn Jackson, Alexis Martin, Momolu Stewart and David Sheppard, all of whom she and the legal experts she is working alongside believe have been unfairly sentenced. The documentary follows the origins of their individual stories, revealing the devastating circumstances that led them to take the actions that changed their lives forever.

In her crusade to shed light on the criminal justice system and help people who are impacted by incarceration, Kim travels to the prisons, speaks to the families and friends, lobbies public officials, and consults with lawyers as well as her own legal team from #cut50 to develop strategies to facilitate their release. Along the way, the film documents the progress that led to Momolu Stewart’s and David Sheppard’s releases. It also highlights Kim’s growing understanding of mandatory sentencing, the damaging problems of mass incarceration, and the importance of educational programs and rehabilitation efforts for a successful reentry into society.