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The Rockefeller Foundation and Nationwide Are Pledging Millions For Social Justice

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Since the protests over the death of George Floyd and many others at the hands of law enforcement officials have erupted all over the country, many have put pressure on large corporations and institutions to commit to ending racial disparity across different fields and to stand with protesters against racial injustice. Now the Rockefeller Foundation and Nationwide Insurance are the latest to step up and pledge to work to advance social change.

Rockefeller Foundation recently announced that in addition to the initial pledge of $10 million to be allocated to a collective of nonprofit partners, faith-based groups, along with other black and Latinx businesses over the course of several years, it will also be launching its new The Rockefeller Foundation Opportunity Collective (ROC) designed to catalyze public and private sector investment in places to promote more inclusive growth.

“Black and Latinx small business owners receive only pennies out of every dollar the federal government lends to small businesses, and when life expectancy is more than 15 years lower in minority neighborhoods than wealthier neighborhoods in the same city, the American Dream is just that: a dream for far too many,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation said in a press statement. “Now is the time to target resources and spur greater investment in order to widen and fortify the pathway for economic mobility and stability in our communities.”

Nationwide Insurance also announced its latest efforts with a new $1 million pledge to support local and national programs geared toward social justice. The multi-year initiative will be used to address economic empowerment, education, and housing—all core issues at the heart of systemic racism. Funds will be used to support various organizations such as the NAACP, The Bail Project, and the Equal Justice Initiative. 

“At Nationwide, we believe that racism in any shape or form is unacceptable and runs counter to our core values,” said Kirt Walker, Nationwide CEO in a press statement. “Today, we are making it clear that we are committed to taking action to promote social equity and justice.”

“The events of the past few weeks have pierced the souls and consciousness of each of us, individually and collectively,” said Nationwide Chief HR and Administrative Officer Gale King in a press statement. “They remind us that we’re better than this. And they make us wonder ‘what can we do? How else can we be a force for good?’”

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Mary J. Blige Links Up With Gold Bond #ChampionYourSkin Campaign to Acknowledge Black Stuntwomen

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Soul singer and entrepreneur Mary J. Blige has partnered with beauty company Gold Bond for their new #ChampionYourSkin campaign to spotlight Black stuntwomen.

“I’m partnering with @goldbond on the #ChampionYourSkin campaign to share my spotlight with Black stuntwomen because they’re the ones who make action roles possible,” reads a post on the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul’s” Instagram account. “These women literally put their skin to the test to break down barriers and fight for greater representation in the industry – both on camera and off.  Learn more about how to support aspiring Black stuntwomen, and how Gold Bond’s high-performance products champion them at www.diamondintheraw.org”

 

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“This campaign is about championing your skin and spotlighting Black stuntwomen because while it’s very little of them, it’s very important that they too are included when you talk about diversity in Hollywood,” Blige told AfroTech. “I think it’s important and I’m very excited to be a part of this because now as an actress, there’s a lot of stunts that I have to do and if it weren’t for the stuntwomen I would get hurt.”

Aside from Blige’s partnership, Gold Bond is placing a spotlight on Black stuntwomen.

“Because you can’t be what you can’t see, Gold Bond is giving back to Diamond in the Raw, an organization founded by stuntwoman La Faye Baker,” said the company in a press statement. “Gold Bond’s contribution supports La Faye’s creation of the ‘Skin Champions Stunt Workshop’ program, geared toward helping more girls of color pursue their dreams in the stunt industry.”

Blige also tells Popsugar, “I’m kind of like my own stuntwoman in a lot of cases. I’m in hair and makeup a lot, so I make sure I take that makeup off every night and clean my skin very well. I drink a lot of water, I take vitamins, I train, and I just take care of it.”

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Baseball Returns to Xavier University of Louisiana for First Time Since 1960

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In 2019, Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) announced it would be bringing its baseball program back. On Tuesday, the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) played its first baseball game in 61 years.

To kick off its first two games in six decades, XULA received an assist from Major League Baseball, which allows the Gold Rush to use MLB’s Urban Youth Academy at Wesley Barrow Stadium for its practices and games. XULA also uses the stadium for its softball team.

XULA is the only university playing it’s games in a MLB facility. The collaboration between MLB and the school is part of an arrangement officials believe will improve participation and boost diversity in baseball and softball.

“Kids can now see the whole pipeline,” Eddie Davis, the director of the youth academy in New Orleans, told the New York Times. “The younger kids can see former academy kids playing high school on the same field and now playing college on the same field. It’s tangible. Before, it was kind of grayish; you really can’t touch it. But now, you can.”

Ten of the 43 players on XULA’s roster are alumni of the academy, which provides free on-field instruction for boys and girls ages 6 through 19. The academy also includes a junior broadcasting program and a sports law program hosted with Tulane.

XULA split a doubleheader Tuesday, losing its first game against Bryant & Stratton, but winning the second game.

One of the Gold Rush’s players Dillon Cousin, who grew up in Louisiana, originally committed to play baseball at the University of Alabama, because XULA didn’t have a baseball program. However, when he received a call from XULA’s coach Adrian Holloway invited Cousin to a school event, gave him a tour and told him about his vision, Cousin was hooked.

HBCUs have an awkward relationship with sports programs. Holloway coached baseball at Selma University until it shut down its baseball program in 2019. The same year XULA said it would revive its baseball program. Holloway said that when it comes to HBCUs, baseball isn’t seen the same way basketball and football are viewed.

“A lot of H.B.C.U.s are either cutting baseball or baseball is terribly underfunded at their university or usually baseball is the stepchild,” Holloway told the Times. “It was definitely a pleasant surprise to see Xavier adding baseball and actually putting money into it. We’re blessed to have a well-funded program to start.”

 

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