|Why Diplomacy Matters: Follow Along as the President Heads to the 70th UN General Assembly
Get the latest updates from President Obama’s trip to the United Nations this week.
Ambassador Samantha Power shared a message about a way for Americans to take action on behalf of refugees around the world.
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“You will lose someone…, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss…. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up…. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott
for Lesley and family
Next week, I’ll take the stage at our 10th anniversary ceremony. But before I do that, I want to send this message to thank you, the core of our 1 million members. With your help, we have been able to create real-world change for Black people in America.
As I prepare for our anniversary, I’m also thinking a lot about why Van Jones and James Rucker founded this organization ten years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In the past year alone, we’ve seen too many Black lives taken at the hands of police to keep count. Even ten years after the storm that ravaged the Gulf Coast and spurred the founding of this organization, our brothers and sisters in Black communities are still in a state of crisis.
Van and James wanted to build an organization with the capacity to respond in times like these. They wanted to build a network of ordinary people with the passion to push for justice. Even before “Black Lives Matter,” they had a vision of how we could bring our voices together and use that collective voice to demand accountability and grow a movement for Black people. That’s what ColorofChange has spent the past 10 years doing.
When I address the crowd at the ceremony next week, I’ll take stock of precedents we’ve set and the systemic change we have been able to bring about:
- We organized in support of the Jena 6 and were able to contribute $250,000 to the young men’s legal team and help them avoid jail time.
- We helped stop Glenn Beck’s racist hate speech from being aired on Fox News by getting hundreds of advertisers to stop funding his show.
- We helped end Pat Buchanan’s tenure as a political commentator at MSNBC after he pushed his white supremacist views as mainstream opinion.
- In the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s killing, we de-funded the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), hindering its ability to develop and spread “shoot first” laws and discriminatory voter ID laws.
- We convinced Clear Channel to remove a series of voter fraud billboards placed in Black communities before the 2012 election.
- We pushed FOX to cancel the television show “Cops” after 25 years of dehumanizing portrayals of Black people.
- We successfully pressured Saturday Night Live to add two Black women to the cast, Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones, in addition to one Black woman writer. Zamata became the first Black woman cast member since 2007.
- We donated $70,000 to the Organization for Black Struggle to help it build an organizing infrastructure on the ground in Ferguson to support the Movement for Black Lives.
- We were a driving force behind winning “net neutrality,” ensuring that the Internet remains free and open, especially for people with limited resources and for organizations like ours who use online organizing.
- We convinced GoFundMe and Indiegogo to stop allowing their platforms to be used to fundraise for killer cops, and we continue to push tech companies like Twitter and Facebook to diversify their staff.
We’ve done all of this with a small core staff of committed, dedicated campaigners and, most importantly, the voices and support of our members. In the next ten years of our organization’s life, there will be much more work to do. With your help, we can seek out and support new movements that elevate the value of Black lives, Black voices and Black political power.
But it all depends on you. Your donations–the hard-earned dollars you give because you believe in justice for our communities–are what sustain our work. As we lay out an ambitious vision for the next decade, we are asking you to give what you can to help support that vision.
If we can raise $150,000 for our tenth anniversary, we will have the funding we need to continue to fight for Black voices and Black lives. Our staff is small, dedicated and proven change agents. Click to contribute $15 a month towards our work, or give whatever you can.
Thanks and peace,
–Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, ColorofChange