Tag: BLM

George Floyd Mural In Ohio To Be Restored By City Following ‘Lightning Strike’

Image via bgrocker / Shutterstock.com

A mural honoring George Floyd in Toledo, Ohio, collapsed after an alleged lightning strike, though the real cause for the wall’s destruction is still being speculated.

Fortunately, the city’s mayor has promised that the Toledo Arts Commission will work with the original artist, David Ross, to replace it, so that “the message at the core of this artwork can be heard.”

Lending to possible allegations of vandalism, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said: “We may never know for certainty why the George Floyd mural came down. It could have been an act of nature, or it could have been an act of vandalism. What we do know is that the mural will be replaced.”

According to WZZM-TV, a witness had told the Toledo Fire and Rescue that the wall on which the mural had been painted collapsed after being struck by a lightning bolt. The National Weather Service confirmed that there were thunderstorms in the Toldeo Metro area between 4pm and 5pm on July 13.

The colorful artwork was created over a year ago by local artist David Ross, and had been the venue for memorial services in honor of Floyd in the area, as per USA Today. While the exact cause of its destruction is not known, those who wish to memorialize Floyd and his life will be comforted to know the city is working to restore the mural to its former glory.

Some cleanup has occurred at the George Floyd mural but much of the debris remains. Lots of folks driving by to look at the damage this morning. ⁦@toledonewspic.twitter.com/qB9fFNnmQh

— Kaitlin Durbin (@njKaitlinDurbin) July 14, 2021

[via USA Today, cover image via bgrocker / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414733/George-Floyd-Mural-In-Ohio-To-Be-Restored-By-City-Following-Lightning-Strike/

Confederate Statue Of Robert E. Lee Gets Removed After Nearly 100 Years

Image via Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

Cheers ring out from the surrounding crowd in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, as the Confederate statue of General Robert E. Lee is lifted from its pedestal and transported away. This public event marks the end of the statue’s presence in the city, which had turned into almost a landmark of racist protests and resultant violence.

In 2017, racial justice activists had pushed to take down the almost-century-old monument with a petition started by a young Black activist, Zyahna Bryant. Their efforts were halted with a lawsuit, claiming that the city council’s vote to remove the statue as per the petition had gone against a state law to protect monuments from the Civil War.

However, this sequence of events alarmed white supremacists and other racist groups, which led to the violent ‘Unite the Right’ Neo-Nazi rally that same year, resulting in numerous injuries and a death. It was the largest gathering of far-right extremists in a decade, according to the Associated Press.

But this April, the state’s Supreme Court decided to proceed with the statue’s removal after almost five years since the initial push, Artnet reports. And this last Saturday, Bryant joined the mayor of Charlottesville, Nikuyah Walker, for the historic event.

“Taking down this statue is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America, grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain,” Walker stated in her speech.

In an article published by Teen Vogue, Bryant writes, “I find myself wondering if I’ll be recognized as the catalyst for this moment or forgotten by history.” She addresses the fact that many Black women who push for similar causes never have their names mentioned in history, despite their tangible impact.

“My prayer is this: that Black women find the time and space to be human. To find rest. And to make pouring into their own cup a priority.”

[via Artnet, image via Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414698/Confederate-Statue-Of-Robert-E-Lee-Gets-Removed-After-Nearly-100-Years/

George Floyd Statues Unveiled In The US As Reminder To Keep ‘Paying Attention’

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Image via bgrocker / Shutterstock.com

Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, along with others are highlighting that the mission for racial equity and inclusivity isn’t over. To commemorate the Juneteenth federal holiday and remember Black lives that were unjustly taken away, new statues of the late Floyd were set up across cities in the US.

On Saturday, Terrence Floyd unveiled a six-foot-tall bust of his brother at a Juneteenth rally held outside the Brooklyn Public Library. Created by artist Chris Carnabuci, the sculpture is hand-assembled with pieces of plywood, each cut out with 3D modeling software and CNC equipment.

Last Wednesday, Newark mayor Ras Baraka revealed a 700-pound bronze George Floyd statue outside city hall. Floyd is depicted to be seated on one side of a bench, his arm stretched over the shoulder of whomever sits beside him. Baraka described the man as a symbol of “a lot more than himself at this juncture in history,” according to USA Today.

The monuments were presented a year after fervent Black Lives Matter marches that saw confederate sculptures being toppled over. Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day last year, reverberating protests across the country.

“My brother was the sacrifice, so I need y’all to continue to pay attention and keep my big brother’s name ringing in the ears of everyone,” said his brother Terrence Floyd in a livestream.

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A post shared by Confront Art (@confront.art)

Today Mayor @rasjbaraka unveiled a donated statue honoring George Floyd in front of City Hall, alongside Filmmaker Leon Pickney, Artist Stanley Watts, Activist Larry Hamm and more pic.twitter.com/nefig7fruE

— City of Newark (@CityofNewarkNJ) June 16, 2021

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A post shared by Confront Art (@confront.art)

[via USA Today, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414398/George-Floyd-Statues-Unveiled-In-The-US-As-Reminder-To-Keep-Paying-Attention/

How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community

For roughly 10 days Americans have gathered to protest the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and even overseas in Europe and New Zealand.

Social media platforms have also taken action spanning financial support to organizations fighting against racial inequality and promoting education so we can create a pathway towards better education and understanding of how we can support the cause with empathy.

Here’s what we’ve seen from each of the major companies:

Twitter #Allyship Overview

Beyond updating its main profile to reflect its support for the protests, Twitter is also leveraging its #StartSmall initiative to allocate several grants to support organizations designed to address racial inequality. This includes Colin Kaepernick‘s “Know Your Rights Camp” aimed to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass-mobilization.

Most importantly, the platform shared its top insights around how people can improve how they respond to racial inequality in a new guide for allyship. In order to respond, people first need to “understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination…At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show up, and Speak up,” Marium R. Qureshi and Jade Williams explained in a recent blog post. By this definition, allyship is not about who you are but a commitment to be authentic and consistent in your education around these critical topics.

When you ask questions of friends and colleagues, do so empathetically and avoid coming from a place of disbelief. A couple of example questions following these best practices include “If you have the time/energy, do you feel comfortable sharing your experience with me?” and This week is heavy. How are you feeling/coping?” As far as speaking up and showing up, consider donating to organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform to help further the cause and exercise your voice and right to vote. Conduct a self-audit of whose in your circle and who you interact with online.

LinkedIn Learning: A Pathway to Inclusivity

We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering. This is key in gaining true perspective on the current movement, and the more people are educated, the better equipped we’ll be to enact effective, long-term change.

In this vein, LinkedIn has released several free courses within a “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All” track, covering key topics spanning unconscious bias, addressing culturally sensitive issues, how to hire and retain diverse talent, and more. “Investing in our own learning to understand and confront bias, communicate about topics of difference, and create change can help us individually contribute to building a better workplace and society,” said Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product for LinkedIn Learning.

Beyond this, the platform also acknowledges that being a strong ally begins with listening, so it is utilizing its social channels to share stories that amplify perspectives from the Black community. Pathways to better understand are integral to success and LinkedIn is positioned well to bring the awareness needed at the moment via its widespread access to professional and educational insights that can help underscore gaps needing to be addressed.

Pinterest: Elevating Content on Racial Justice

Pinterest is taking a broad approach to its efforts starting with its platform and internal team and extending to external audiences directly supporting the movement.

More specifically, within the app content on racial justice is being elevated as a means to help people stay informed. This includes tips for assessing and adjusting your own mentality and how to approach younger children on the subject. There will also be content guiding users to organizations to support and various resources to learn more about the history of systemic racism in the country. Generally, the platform is committed to growing the diversity of content on the platform and avoiding distraction from serving as a hub to support and learn. In this regard, the platform is not serving ads on Black Lives Matter results.

The company is also donating 25,000 shares of stock to “organizations committed to racial justice and promoting tolerance” and investing $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests. It is also providing $750,000 in paid media to organizations that support racial justice.

TikTok’s Creator Diversity Council

June is Black Music Month and to celebrate TikTok announced it will offer dedicated programming to celebrate Black artists on the platform who “bring new music, shape culture, and help build the community.”

The platform is also doubling down on technology and strategies around addressing potentially harmful content and creating a more user-friendly appeals process. Along these lines, TikTok plans to develop a creator diversity council to lead impact-driven programs led by the voices driving culture, creativity, and conversations necessary in making an even bigger impact on the problem.

Outside of its team and community, TikTok is donating $3 million from its “Community Relief Fund” to non-profits that help the Black community and an additional $1 million toward fighting racial injustice and inequality that we are witnessing in this country. Also in the music space, YouTube is financially stepping up by offering $1 million to organizations seeking to address injustice.

Leading with Empathy

Finally, the leaders behind Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram have all taken a personal approach to their response leading with emotion-driven memos.

Facebook is committing $10 million to racial injustice and lifting Black voices in addition to partnering with civil rights advisors in its efforts. Along with Instagram, it has also switched all profiles to black and white colors in support of recent events. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri uploaded a personal IGTV response on his own profile underscoring his eagerness and drive to channel frustration, hurt, and anger into positive change.

Similarly, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel in his own statement called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice, and comprehensive tax reform as the way forward. Taking even more drastic measures, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian has resigned from his position urging the board to replace him with a Black candidate and will use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, beginning with a $1 million donation to Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative.

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The post How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community appeared first on Social Media Week.


How Do We Respond?

The death of George Floyd, the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities, together with the protests around the world has been truly horrifying. This week I needed to address what was happening with my team and come up with a plan for how we as a company should respond.

We have POCs on our team and are a core part of our community here in the US and around the world. We’ve led numerous programs that are aimed at supporting D&I initiatives and consider our role in the fight against inequality and injustice to be one of our most important responsibilities, but we don’t always get it right. I don’t always get it right. I know we need to do better.

The first thing I did this week was apologized to my team for not addressing what is happening sooner and more directly. On Monday morning, I tried to write something with the aim of publishing something publicly, but I couldn’t find the right words and became paralyzed by a fear of getting it wrong tonally. This is how many of us feel in the business world, but of course, this is wrong. As many have said, to be silent is to be complicit and that is not who we are. Black Lives Matter. This movement matters. Taking bold action matters. Doing something that feels scary and risky matters.

It is imperative that we use this moment to fight harder than ever before against violence and racism. We must work together as a team and with our community to amplify the voices and stories of the people impacted and affected by what is happening. Now more than ever we need to lead with empathy and support the Black community in this fight for justice.

Yes, we should post messages of support and our willingness to join the fight for equality and justice. Yes, we should identify the ways in which we can use our platform and influence to impact the issue in the biggest way we can. But there is so much more we can and should do.

Here are three areas that we are particularly focused on and I encourage you to do the same. This list is by no means exhaustive, so I am asking you to let me know if you have additional ideas around how we can be more effective and have an even bigger impact on the problem.


It is imperative for us to support those most impacted by the protests, especially those people who have been incarcerated and cannot make bail. You can lend support by making a donation to The National Bail Fund Network, which has a full directory of bail funds by state. ActBlue has also set up a secure donation link that will let you simultaneously send money to up to 37 nationwide bail funds. For every dollar an employee donates, Crowdcentric will match. Rolling Stone also shared a helpful breakdown of suggested causes and campaigns that you can support at this time.

Another area that is of great interest to me personally is funding police reform and ways policies can be adjusted to combat police violence.

The Police Use of Force Project has reviewed the rules governing police use of force in America’s largest city police departments to determine whether they include meaningful protections against police violence. They compared police department use of force policies with police killings data for these police departments to see if there was a relationship between the two. They ultimately found that police departments with policies that place clear restrictions on, when, and how officers use force had significantly fewer killings than those that did not have these restrictions in place.

You can learn more about their approach, analysis, and findings here. Please also take the opportunity to donate to support their work going forward.


Exercising our civic responsibility is, above all, critical to ensuring long-standing solutions that will get at the core of these issues. This begins with voting out officials who do not represent our core values and voting in those that will defend black people’s human rights and end systemic racism and police violence and brutality.

To address the issue we have to change the system. According to a piece President Obama wrote recently, this starts with the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

“If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”

Voting is not just about being registered and about you fulfilling your personal responsibilities, it is essential that we get as many people to vote as possible. We’ve compiled a number of ideas and resources below that will help promote the importance of voting in any future election:

  • Verify you are registered to vote: Visit “Vote Save America” and confirm your voter status. You can check here.
  • Adopt a Battleground State: Just because you don’t live in a battleground state doesn’t mean you can’t have a huge impact on helping voters in those states make their decision and get to the polls on Election Day.
  • Vote by Mail: Vote by mail is one essential way to ensure the 2020 election can go on safely, securely, and on time. Get your absentee ballot here. It takes only two minutes.


I wholeheartedly believe that as a nation we are uneducated around the history and impact of systemic racism in this country and around the world. We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering at the hands of racists and bigots.

As a good place to start, our friends at Tribeca Film Festival put together this fantastic list of films and books that are designed to help us educate ourselves about systemic racism, police brutality, and unconscious bias. We’ve also added a few of our own:

As I said, this is by no means all we can do, but it’s a start and represents a path forward and an opportunity for us to take action, not just now, but for as long as it takes for real change to happen.

We are proud to be in this fight and hope you will join us and other leaders and organizations in our industry and do everything we can to not let this moment go to waste.

Thank you to my team for their support and input into this piece and for holding me accountable in my role as CEO.

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