Irvine high school students create PPE donation website to support Black Lives Matter protesters

Christel Deskins

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) — When protesters took to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter, a group of Orange County high school students took to their computers. They created BLM Supply Crate Dot-Org, a website linking donors of Personal Protective Equipment with the protesters who needed it.

“There were Black Lives Matter protests popping up throughout the nation,” said Tyler Chen, one of the site’s founders and its outreach coordinator. “And when they post through social media, we would immediately follow through with asking ‘Hey, do you guys need personal protective equipment supplies or donations for your protests?'”

“With a lot of the COVID stuff happening, there was not much that I could do. So this was a good opportunity for me to help in something that I really believed in,” said Ryan He, a BLM Supply Crate site developer.

Jackie Ni, BLM Supply Crate’s founder and director, adapted

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Black DIY Influencers Shine A Light On Prejudice In The Crafting Industry

Christel Deskins

The Black Lives Matter movement, which surged to the forefront of America’s consciousness following the death of George Floyd, may well be the largest in the country’s history. According to data collected by Civis Analytics, 54% of those surveyed participated in one or more forms of activism for the first time during June 2020.

In response to the protests, brands in all kinds of industries began issuing messages of solidarity for the movement ― some successful, others not. Marketing, in print and in social media influencer culture, has lacked diversity for a long time, even though over 50% of millennials and Gen Z surveyed by YPulse say representation in advertising is important to them.

The crafting, DIY and sewing communities are not exempt from this lack of diversity and representation. Knitwear designer Jeanette Sloan has been involved in raising racial issues in the world of fiber crafts for years.

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They tweeted, retweeted photo of a cop at a Black Lives Matter protest. Then came felonies.

Christel Deskins

NUTLEY, N.J. – It began with a tweet of a police officer at a Black Lives Matter protest in June and a crude request to identify him.

“If anyone knows who this b—h is, throw his info under this tweet,” the tweet read.

Sitting home in Queens Village, New York, Georgana Sziszak saw the tweet appear on her Twitter timeline and clicked the “retweet” button. 

Nearly one month later, Sziszak was issued a summons charging her with a felony: fourth-degree cyber harassment with the intent to harm or place a person in fear of harm, after retweeting the post, which has since been deleted.

“As a 20-year-old that simply retweeted a tweet to help my friend, I am now at risk of giving up my career, serving time and having a record,” Sziszak wrote on a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $8,000 for her legal bills.

Unemployment: 1.8M

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A ‘war room’ that arms Black and Latino voters against disinformation

Christel Deskins

Umarah Mughnee, from left, Ashley Bryant and Aja Campbell of Win Black/Pa'lante. <span class="copyright">(KIrk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Umarah Mughnee, from left, Ashley Bryant and Aja Campbell of Win Black/Pa’lante. (KIrk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

As the internet lit up last month with prominent Latinos vowing to boycott Goya pinto beans, Adobo seasoning and other products after the company’s CEO lavishly praised President Trump, a backlash quickly developed on social media.

Accounts identified as belonging to Latino social media users voiced outrage about politically correct “mob” bullying and exploiting people of color.

In an online virtual war room run by a group called Win Black/Pa’lante, activists immediately grew suspicious.

Close inspection revealed that thousands of the posts were not coming from disaffected Latinos at all, but bots.

The Win Black/Pa’lante activists cooked up a counteroffensive, including a mock Goya foods label that exposed “recipes” for disinformation and distorting facts.

The ads and a corresponding educational campaign aimed at arming Black and Latino voters with tools to detect

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How Pietra Is Helping Black Businesses Break Into the Fashion Industry

Christel Deskins

Like the inseams of a dress that no one ever really sees, the fashion industry has a history of hidden issues, including a lack of inclusive sizing, ableism, or absence of diversity on the runways and in boardrooms. In the wake of mass protests to honor Black Lives Matter, and with COVID-19 impacting Black entrepreneurs at a disproportionate rate, the fashion industry has had to flip their dress inside out and face these issues head-on. 

Leaders and entrepreneurs like Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies, have called for companies to pledge to source at least 15% of products from Black-owned brands. But before we can even support our favorite Black-owned fashion and beauty brands, we must address inequities Black entrepreneurs face when starting and scaling any business. 

Globally, 80% of all venture capital firms don’t have a single Black investor, and just 1% of venture-funded startup founders

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Stop Scrolling and Start Following These Black Roller Skaters

Christel Deskins

Photo credit: Pete Kotzbach
Photo credit: Pete Kotzbach


Quarantine Internet has inspired us to do so much: Buy tie-dye; bake bread; question whether, actually, everything is cake; and, maybe most adventurously, try our hand at roller skating.

The sport has gone viral over these past few months, prompting news reports and spikes in both Google searches and skate sales. And it’s easy to understand why: The horror of the pandemic has left many of us drenched in nostalgia and searching for activities that comply with social distancing measures, making roller skating particularly alluring. Then there are the videos being shared across Instagram and TikTok; they’re instantly soothing to watch, often featuring people gliding down the street or around a park, perhaps wearing an enviable ‘70s-inspired outfit with feel-good music set in the background. They’re 30-second visions of joy, a precious commodity during uncertain times.

But, as happens with so much of the

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Black scientists, physicians are using hashtags to uplift

Christel Deskins

Black scientists are embracing the hashtag movement that forced the nation to take a hard look at systemic racism.

As #BlackLivesMatter remains a rallying cry across the country, Black researchers and physicians are using tags including #BlackBirdersWeek, #BlackInAstro, #BlackInNeuro and #BlackInChem to lift up the achievements of their peers and call out the discrimination they face on a daily basis.

Racism has long been an issue in academia. Black scientists report high rates of both subtle and overt forms of workplace discrimination and, according to a 2019 study, are less likely than their white peers to receive funding for their research. Research published in April via the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that underrepresented groups are innovative at a higher rate than their majority peers but their achievements are often overlooked.

So Black birders, astronomers, botanists, physicians and neuroscientists, many of them women, have taken to Twitter

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What is ‘Blackfishing’? Here’s why a Black publication was criticized after employing a white dating columnist

Christel Deskins

Some critics have accused a white writer of "blackfishing." Here's what that means. (Illustration: Getty Images)
Some critics have accused a white writer of “blackfishing.” Here’s what that means. (Illustration: Getty Images)

MadameNoire, a self-described “space for the unapologetic black woman,” is sticking with its mission in a new way this week — by refusing to apologize to angry readers who accuse the publication of “digital blackface” and “blackfishing,” after discovering that one of its top dating columnists is a white woman.

“She’s in digital blackface because she always uses stock photos featuring Black women/families/couples and uses ‘sis’ and the inclusive ‘we’ as if she’s a Black woman,” blasted one Facebook user about the writer, Julia Austin. “In addition, she’s been a content contributor mostly for ‘Black’ platforms including Black America Web, NewsOne and a plethora of Black radio stations.” Others echoed the criticism online: “This woman has literally hundreds of articles she wrote for MadameNoire and in a lot of them she speaks on

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Barbie launches ‘Campaign Team’ doll set featuring a black woman as a presidential candidate

Christel Deskins

Barbie has released a new 2020 “Campaign Team” set, which features a black doll as a presidential candidate.

While the current US presidential nominees are both white men, toy company Mattel is hoping to nurture the dreams of young girls that they could one day become the first female president.

The new launch features four dolls who each have roles within the campaign and election process, including a black presidential candidate dressed in a pink blazer who comes holding a microphone.

The other dolls are also all women, including a campaign manager, a fundraiser, and a voter.

Mattel said the set aims to “expose girls to public leadership roles and pique their interest in shaping the future”.

“Since 1959, Barbie has championed girls and encouraged them to be leaders whether in the classroom, community or someday, of the country,” said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie

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