On Monday, January 18, people across the country celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. An activist and community organizer, Dr. King is remembered for his nonviolent demonstrations and commitment to fighting racial inequality. He was instrumental to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and even after his passing, he remains a beacon of hope for a more equitable future. MLK Day is not just for reflecting on where we have come from, but for looking forward to see how far we need to go.
A More Equitable Future
This past summer, we witnessed the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Jacob Blake, and many more unarmed Black Americans. These tragedies are not isolated incidents—they are evidence of the systematic racism that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States and across the world contend with every day.
Black and Indigenous people are almost three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their White counterparts. The typical White family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family. Black and Indigenous women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. From redlining to voter suppression to the prison-industrial complex, to deny these inequalities is to deny the lived experiences of so many Americans.
DMC is proud to stand with Black Lives Matter and we believe that as important as it is to live these values and speak on these issues, it is also imperative to provide financial support. Therefore, DMC is putting our money where our mouth is.
Supporting Positive Change
To support positive change in our communities and in honor of Dr. King's mission, each DMC employee was given an allowance of up to $100 to spend however they think will have the greatest impact. This could mean donating the funds to an organization, supporting minority-owned businesses, buying books on anti-racism, and so on.
Here are some of the places DMCers have supported with their allowances so far:
“WE ACT’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT envisions a community that has:
- Informed and engaged residents who participate fully in decision-making on key issues that impact their health and community.
- Strong and equal environmental protections.
- Increased environmental health through community-based participatory research and evidence-based campaigns.”
Credit: WE ACT
Brave Space Alliance
“Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West sides of the city. We strive to empower, embolden, and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as we build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples.”
Various Mutual Aid Funds
A mutual aid fund is a type of community organizing and support. Generally speaking, resources are pooled and shared amongst a community in order to build a sustainable support network. This is opposed to the typical organization of a charity, which is usually a one-way relationship.
“Finding your local mutual aid group is usually pretty simple, with a Google search of “mutual aid groups [your city/area/county].” You don’t need me to teach you how to Google. But if you’re looking for a bit more detail, there’s an interactive map of groups on Mutual Aid Hub.”
“Tubby's Taste is a delicious dessert company that is surprisingly vegan. Our founder, Danielle "Tubby" Tubbs comes from a long line of Jamaican cake ladies on one side and a host of African-American foodies on the other. A naturally gifted baker, it’s safe to say that baking is in our founder's blood. Raised in Miami, Florida, Danielle was surrounded by unique fruits, foods, and flavors. Sugarcane acted as a homegrown fence, fresh coconuts were a short climb away, and she could depend on neighbors’ yards for the sweetest mangoes known to man! These unique experiences and traditions her family held inform the bold flavors we celebrate in our cookies.”
Credit: Tubby's Taste
Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation
“A national network mobilizing white men to learn, grow and take action against white supremacy and patriarchy.”
“The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) is a community organization that fosters health, wellness and healing in the inner-city by organizing for social change, cultivating the arts, and operating a holistic health center.”
Chicago Community Bond Fund
“The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, Illinois. Through a revolving fund, CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence. Inability to pay bond results in higher rates of conviction, longer sentences, loss of housing and jobs, separation of families, and lost custody of children. By paying bond, CCBF restores the presumption of innocence before trial and enables recipients to remain free while fighting their cases. CCBF also engages in public education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system and advocates for the abolition of money bond. CCBF is committed to long-term relationship building and organizing with people most directly impacted by criminalization and policing.”
“Chicago's only black-woman-owned Bookstore & Gallery. Created, owned, and curated by an art and literature lover, Semicolon Bookstore merges both worlds seamlessly. Few things are better than books, art, and comfy couches.”
Credit: Semicolon Bookstore
Africatown Land Trust
"Africatown Community Land Trust is working for community ownership of land in the Central District that can support the cultural and economic thriving of people who are part of the African diaspora in the Greater Seattle region."
Off The Street Club
"Founded in 1900, Off The Street Club is Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club. We currently serve more than 3,000 kids in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, West Garfield Park. We are grateful to all our supporters, including the Chicago advertising, marketing and media community. We are a place where kids can truly find hope. Every child seeking a safe place to go is welcome to join us for games, play and mentorship."
"Our Mission: Pioneer a health movement for African-American women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership, and health advocacy."
"Harlem Grown is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. Founded in 2011, we operate local urban farms, increase access to and knowledge of healthy food for Harlem residents, and provide garden-based development programs to Harlem youth."
"Southern food’s humble beginnings embarked when West Africans were taken from their home and were forced across the middle passage to North America. The term soul food originated during American slavery to not only describe a type of cuisine but also a period of time of oppression and overcoming hardships. It is traditionally cooked and eaten by African Americans of the Southern United States and merges influences from West Africa, Western Europe, and North America. As a result, America’s culinary history was built on corn, rice, peas, and the hog; many of the ingredients associated with Southern food."
My Block My Hood My City
"My Block, My Hood, My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood. We take students on explorations focused on STEM, Arts & Culture, Citizenry & Volunteerism, Health, Community Development, Culinary Arts, and Entrepreneurism."
"Elastic Arts fosters a community of music, art and performance in the Avondale/Logan Square neighborhoods of Chicago and beyond through developing, hosting, producing, and promoting creative, independent, and local music concerts, exhibitions, and multi-arts performances."
Black Girls CODE
"Black Girls CODE is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and do so much more. By reaching out to the community through workshops and after school programs, Black Girls CODE introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. Black Girls CODE has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow. By promoting classes and programs we hope to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the masters of their technological worlds. Black Girls CODE's ultimate goal is to provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040."
We encourage you to check out these amazing organizations and businesses— and to do some research of your own. No matter the day, no matter the place, we can all make positive change and it is our responsibility to do so.
Read more about diversity and inclusion at DMC.