The word for this week’s show is “transparency.” It was used by Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation, during my interview with her in this final show of Season 1 of The Last Sip.
Transparency is needed when it comes to our nation’s system of immigration detention and enforcement. According to Jorge Rivas, Senior Staff at Splinter, half of those in immigration detention centers are in privately owned facilities. Not only are there a range of human rights abuses reported at these sites, but those held say that they must work for little to no pay. Such forced labor is de facto slavery and we should call it such. Forced labor is banned under international law and it’s an outrage. Jorge says that there’s actual rage in the Latino community about it but that the question is whether this “rage can transform into votes in November.” We will all be watching to see if it does.
Transparency is also needed to diversify tech says Katrina Jones, Director of inclusion at Vimeo. She stated that unpacking the biases which managers have about what technology “should look like” is a big part of the job ahead. Qualified candidates are often cited as not being the “right fit” which forces her to help those hiring to parse exactly what they mean. Another challenge is to change the management structure by making sure that more people making decisions are more open themselves. But we know that the talent is out there. One example is Hyphen-Labs written about by neuroscientist Princess Ojiaku in Vice last year. Hyphen-Labs is a woman of color led firm which produces virtual reality (VR) experiences which center black women. These VR experiences, as Princess writes about, can be used to blunt the effect of racism especially PTSD. The bottom line is that Black and brown, women and LGBTQ talent exists and its inclusion would revolutionize tech.
When it came to striking out on her own to travel around the world, traveller Renee Jackson was transparent about her fear which existed “right up until the moment” she got on the plane to begin her twelve-month, global trip. Renee joined us to talk about the importance of Black travel in this moment of domestic political backlash. She travelled only to countries in Asia, South America and Africa where the majority of people were black and brown. She did so because she wanted to be in places where she felt neither like a threat nor marginalized. After her trip she says that she feels free and encourages other women of color to go on the road even if by themselves. “Facing our fears is one life’s great gifts” she says. With the exploding $50 billion a year Black travel movement, it would seem that many others agree.
But transparency was the reason why we had Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation, on the program. We wanted to be transparent about one of our funding sources. Ana and The New York Women’s Foundation were the first to get behind our show. And we wanted to lift the veil behind funding decisions in foundations, as a guide to other non-profit organizations in communities of color who are struggling to raise money. As Ana told us “if you have twenty different foundations you’ll have twenty different ways” of making funding decisions. This all led me to ask her why The New York Women’s Foundation had given Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, $1 million to support her work combating gender-based violence. “Imagine where the world would be if we had funded Tarana ten years ago?” An imagined world driven by justice, where those on the frontlines of social problems are recognized and resourced to solve them, is what The Last Sip is all about. And this is a perfect way to end Season 1 of the program.
Enjoy your summer!