As off now, we are still waiting on the officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor to be arrested. A Grand Jury is currently meeting to determine their fate but at least the family has been compensated via a settlement of $12 Million. There isn’t enough money to make up for that atrocity or any of the atrocities commited against Black people and other people of color in this courntry. Police brutality and systemic racism still run rampant in this country and it truly needs to end.
Black people and other people across the globe are just sick of it as evidenced by the uprising that took place after the graphic murder of George Floyd when officer Chauvin arrogantly placed a knee to his neck. That same proverbial knee has been on the necks for Black people since the inception of this country but as Sam Cooke famously sang, “A Change is Gonna Come.” The question at hand is, have we truly started to see that change? Some with argue that we have and others will argue that we have not, however, no one can deny that these changes. While we still have a long way to go, these are a few of the most significant changes that have occured since the murder of George Floyd.
10. Music Industry Removes “Urban” Genre
Music has such a powerful presence in our society, which is why it is often called the universal language. After the death of George Floyd, several labels released statements saying it would no longer use the word “Urban” as a category to describe Black music. Republic Records sort of kicked it off then several other labels followed suit including the Recording Academy.
9. Bring Down the Statues and Symbols
Whether it was Confederate statues of the flag, several statues came down via protesters and others came down via elected officials. North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, and many more states saw the removal of these racists monuments. NASCAR announced it would no longer allow the confederate flag to be flown. The US Navy and Marines also decided to no longer fly confederate flags.
8. Juneteenth a Paid Holiday
Pharrell Williams worked closely with his hometown Governor to make Juneteenth a paid holiday. While it isn’t a federal holiday just yet, several major companies like Nike, Citigroup, and more have already adopted the day as a paid holiday. Momentum is building to make it a federal holiday as well.
7. Companies Donate and Make Policy Changes
So many companies jumped in to donate and make policy changes after the death of George Floyd. For instance, CVS Health announced it will invest nearly $600 million over five years to advance employee, community and public policy initiatives that address inequality faced by Black people and other disenfranchised communities. The investment follows a commitment from President and CEO Larry Merlo to evaluate how the company operates and how it can use its influence to be a force for good in communities across the country.
DoorDash committed to donate $500,000 to Black Lives Matter, with another $500,000 earmarked for distribution to community nonprofits by its internal Black Employee Resource Group.
Microsoft committed to investing an additional $150 million in its own diversity and inclusion efforts, create a $50 million partner fund for Black-owned business partners, put $23 million toward financing and training those partners, double its number of Black employees in senior positions by 2025 and double its number of Black-owned suppliers by 2023.
From banks, to lawyers, to hair product companies, the list goes on and on.
6. Significant Donations to HBCU’s
Can we give it up for Mackenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who donated $160 Million to six HBCU’s, making it the largest donation to each of those institutions of higher learning. Let’s not forget about Mike Bloomberg who drop $100 Million of for HBCU medical programs.
5. Sports Leagues and Athletes Highlighting the Cause
Where it’s the G.O.A.T, Michael Jordan dropping $100 Million to support Black issues, the NBA donating money and raising awareness by boycotting a playoff game and rocking social statements on their jerseys, or the NFL finally acknowledging they were wrong about Colin Kaepernick, the sports leagues have really amped up their support of Black people. Naomi Osaka wore face masks representing seven different Black people who were killed as she went on to win the US Open.
4. Blackout Tuesday
The lure of Blackout Tuesday continues to be a thing on social media as we witness several people from all walks of life committed to buying Black every Tuesday. The record labels also did a version of Blackout Tuesday as well.
The movement was initially created by two black women music executives, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, as a day to honor and support the blackness with the hashtag, #TheShowMustBePaused.
“In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black citizens at the hands of the police, #TheShowMustBePaused is an initiative created … in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard,” a statement from Thomas and Agyemang on the movement’s website explains. “We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives.”
3. Ice Cube’s Black Contract with America
Ice Cube is not for the pop charts. Ice Cube has been going hard at Democrats and Republicans expressing his concern about not voting unless Black people get true economic empowerment. The multifaceted star, put together a real contract for Black America that he wants politicians to sign off on. Ice Cube actually did get to meet with the Biden campaign folks and the Trump administration but no word has come yet from either camp saying if they support the movement. The contract is well thought out and put together. We had to post it for your review.
To address racial inequality, after reading the Contract with Black America, we the undersigned agree to support and demand an open debate and a clear and fair vote within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress in 2021 on the following proposals to be codified into specific bills:
1. Bill to Guarantee Black Opportunity and Representation.
Adopt a plan of “Neo-Reconstruction” to redress past wrongs systematically imposed on Black Americans economically throughout many generations that has resulted in a “wealth gap” where the average White family has 10x the wealth of a Black Family. In addition to some of the economic initiatives listed below, also formally apologize to Black Americans for past discrimination and slavery. Additionally Black opportunity and representation will include: Affirmative Action in schools public and private; per student funding in states on an equal basis instead of paid by local property taxes; Black representation on all government civil rights bodies; civil rights classes mandatory in elementary schools; Gerrymandering reform; additional polling places in Black and minority neighborhoods; Juneteenth to become a Federal holiday.
2. Bank Lending Reform.
Bank lending will be regulated to require banks to lend a percentage of all loan and credit categories on an equal basis to the Black population each Bank serves. However, the minimum threshold must yearly meet the percentage equal to the national Black population (currently approximately 13.4%). Rates on Black loans federally and from banks to be same average rates as Whites.
3. Federal Funding of “Baby Bonds”.
Pass federal program providing every child with a government funded trust account at birth starting with a $1,000 contribution. As proposed by Senator Booker and Representative Pressley, accounts to be managed by the Treasury and only those born into lower-wealth families would receive more contributions each year up to $46,500 total. At age 18 access to the funds allowed but use restricted to asset enhancing actions such as buying homes, starting businesses and funding education.
4. Federal Reserve and Government Pensions.
For qualified Black Americans, Federal Reserve to allow a one-time interest free loan for home ownership. The Fed to ensure Banks and institutions it oversees comply with Bank Lending Reform. Fed to adopt Modern Monetary Theory with goal of Full Employment and avoidance of Actual Inflation. Federal and State pension funds control over a trillion dollars. They must allocate 13.4% of their investments into Black owned enterprises and businesses. Venture Capital and Private Equity funds that take money public entities must invest 13.4% of their total funds in Black owned businesses.
5. Finance Oversight.
A Banking Commission (or even a Cabinet or Sub-Cabinet post) will be set up to overlook and report on Black and minority lending, housing ownership and mortgages, and enforcement of items 2 and 3 above. Such authority will also oversee and audit federal programs such as Economic Opportunity Zones and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to determine who is benefiting from disbursement of such funds. Will provide for a transparent reporting mechanism for abuses to economic programs designed to benefit communities in need.
6. Personal Data and Credit.
Most states publicly release bulk data about arrestees unchecked. Like the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act regarding credit data, there must be guidelines regarding arrest records that allow similar privacy and accuracy protections and the right to dispute and correct inaccurate data. Credit services will be reformed to mandate consideration of individual consumer data on rent, utility, cellphone, and other like bill payments.
7. Prison Reform.
Privately run prisons will be abolished, prison labor disallowed without consent, and nonviolent offenders incarcerated for 10 years or longer will be freed if good behavior standards met. All prisoners for marijuana possession freed. First offense for illegal drug use or possession to require government payment for entry into an approved drug rehabilitation program rather than imprisonment. Once any prisoner completes sentence, voting rights are restored.
8. Judicial Reforms.
Eliminate mandatory minimums and three strike laws. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice reformed through stricter guidelines and greater oversight over police departments. DOJ can be sued for non-compliance. Lynching to become a federal hate crime and the Ku Klux Klan declared a terrorist organization.
9. Police Reform Act.
Police reforms will be implemented in an expansive act that will at minimum include: Elimination of Qualified Immunity; requirement of mandatory malpractice insurance for police officers; make municipalities liable for unconstitutional actions by police; mandatory use of dashboard and body cams; elimination of chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants; establishment of residency requirements, de-escalation training, and requirement to update training; severe penalties for evidence tampering including withholding DNA. A federal database of police and disciplinary records established and made public and once fired for cause cannot be rehired. Creation of Office of Independent Prosecutors to solely focus on prosecuting police accused of wrongdoing. Other reforms as listed in greater detail in the Contract with Black America.
10. FCC Licensing of public airwaves.
Broadcast networks will be required to air Black produced content equal to 20% of the total content on the network as measured by time.
11. Confederate Monuments and Institutions.
Elimination of all Confederate statues and uses or displays of Confederate flags on government grounds or property with public access. Rename all streets, schools, public structures, etc. named after Confederate soldiers or leaders. A memorial will be built in Washington D.C. to victims of police excessive force.
12. AJP Program for Education and Jobs.
Adoption of AJP, A Public/Private program that provides access to jobs and education and/or training for people willing to put in the work and commitment.
13. Black Responsibility.
Chronic poverty creates an atmosphere full of negativity, frustration, hopelessness, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, and violence. These are some of conditions that plague the Black Community which is dealing with extreme generational poverty. As we begin to gain social and economic equality it is our duty to clean up ourselves and our community. This contract is a 2-way street. As we gain social and economic equality, we must begin to dissolve any bitterness in our hearts for past wrongs. We must become better citizens who are more productive on all levels of American society. We really must step up after we pass the Contract with Black America with no more excuses left in the kiddie. Our entertainers should be persuaded to deliver more positive content that leads our youth to make better choices in life. A new pride must develop with these new opportunities and we must fight against negativity, frustration, hopelessness, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, and violence.
We hereby pledge our names to supporting this Contract with Black America:
2. C.A.R.E.N Act
It was all good for Karen’s a little while ago – well, maybe not all good because a few of these women have lost their jobs and gained some unwanted attention due to their discriminatory shenanigans. Approximately two months ago, two tweets rang out loud and clear to put an end to these Karen crusaders, who believe they are doing the right thing by calling the police on black people for pretty much existing. Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Shamann Walton introduced the CAREN Act and California State Legislator, Rob Bonta introduced AB1220 alongside the CAREN Act as an ally of Walton’s cause.
1. Police Reform
We have heard defund the police, get rid of no-knock warrants, implement diversity training and a number of other solutions to change the status quo when it comes to how police operate in this country. Since the death of George Floyd, there has actually been some traction with police reform. Like everything else, we still have a long way to go but here are a few of the changes below.
Since we are still waiting on Breonna Taylor’s murderers to be charged, we can at least say that Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Council unanimously voted on June 11 to ban “no-knock” search warrants. The Minneapolis City Council voted on June 26 to replace the city’s police department with a community-based public safety model. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on June 12 banning chokeholds and repealing a decades-old law that sealed records of alleged officer misconduct from the public.
There are other states and cities following suit with some of these measure and they are going beyond these measures as well. Some states are banning the use of tear gas while others are implementing penalties for not turning on body cameras. Again, there is a lot more to do but for now, this is a start.