“For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind..."

An Invisible Empire

A racial massacre of historic proportions, the post-civil Memphus Ten riots, the first of the Reconstruction Period is almost completely absent from public education. In order to truly grasp present-day systemic issues, we must first take a closer look at the deep roots of our past and bring light to the dark stories, widely untold.

On July 2, 1917, white residents of East St. Louis Illinois and other nearby communities ambushed African American workers as they left factories during a shift change - what would later be known as the East St Louis Riots, this racial massacre, included (an estimated) 200+ black men, women, and children being shot, hung, and burned alive.

Read more: White Mobs Terrorize African Americans in East St. Louis Riots ->

Four years later, a similar narrative would claim the lives of more than 300 in the Greenwood district of Tulsa Oklahoma. Despite both discrimination and segregation, the district offered proof that black entrepreneurs were capable of creating vast wealth. For those who supported black subjugation, witnessing the black community defy the stereotypes of black inferiority was too much.

Soon after, the klan saw an insurgence. Appealing to those uncomfortable with the changing nature of America, from a rural agricultural society to an urban industrial nation, the klan attacked the elite, urbanites and intellectuals. Their message struck a chord, and membership in the klan ballooned with estimates as high as 8 million national klansmen memberships by the mid 1920's.

As membership grew, so did their influence. The group moved their way into local and state politics using a strategy known as “the decade” in which each member was responsible for recruiting 10 people to vote for klan electoral candidates. In the 1924 election, their success was felt coast to coast, including in Colorado and Indiana, where they elected enough klansmen to control the state government. Effectively known as the Invisible Empire.

Learn more: The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's ->

How Southern socialites rewrote Civil War history

The United Daughters of the Confederacy was a significant leader of the “Lost Cause,” a movement that revised history to look more favorably on the South after the American Civil War. Their work with local governments, education, and schoolchildren created a lasting memory of the Confederate cause, and those generations grew up to be the segregationists of the Jim Crow Era. Vox looks at how the UDC rewrote history:

Meet the creators: Video created by Vox; Lesson Plan created by Lauren lauren Mcalpine.

“The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on Earth: We represent 4 percent of the planet’s population but 22 percent of its imprisoned. In the early 1970s, our prisons held fewer than 300,000 people; since then, that number has grown to more than 2.2 million, with 4.5 million more on probation or parole. Because of mandatory sentencing and “three strikes” laws, I’ve found myself representing clients sentenced to life without parole for stealing a bicycle or for simple possession of marijuana. And central to understanding this practice of mass incarceration and excessive punishment is the legacy of slavery.”

- Brian Stevenson

Read this article in full ->

Anti-Racism Resources >

A document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein in May of 2020 intended to serve as a resource to deepen anti-racism work. Feel free to download and share with your network.

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How we operate:

As our position is focused on co-creating solutions, our approach champions effective altruism. We believe people should have the ability to donate passionately across multiple causes but effectively within these causes to produce the most consequential outcomes.

Collective action on any social issue requires attention to the ways digital regulations influence and shape every other policy domain. Often we see a fragmented or independent set of influences or individuals as the culprit toward exasperating an issue, however, to create solutions within a digital-dependent society, we have to address the fact that these digital systems are owned and managed by corporate and government entities. The need for a transparent and regulated code of ethics, as the baseline for digital development and intent of use, is absolutely necessary toward scaled social solutions.

Our fundraising is three-pronged. Please do not hesitate to reach out directly for a more comprehensive breakdown of each fundraising objective. In addition to a monthly donor report, we will host an open Zoom session each month to review these reports and speak candidly to these goals and produced outcomes.

Prong 1. Digital rights advocacy and protection.

Combatting disinformation and increasing digital and media literacy.

A lack of connection is one of the main contributing problems towards the isolation of communities and the acceptance of reality and facts. Communities need reliable, accurate news and access to factual information that creates the opportunity for dialogue, reflection, and informed decision-making.

By addressing the evolution of key digital systems, and developing a common understanding of practices used in such, we'll begin to shed light on the addictive and intentionally-designed digital tactics used to curate our google results, social media feed, and the ads we see. Underscoring the need to rethink how we consume and share information, the goal is to bring awareness, trigger a moment of pause, and stir curiosity towards confronting our digital addictions and the subsequent repercussions of such.

Up first:

A. Awareness towards the rise of ISP (internet service provider) and media monopolies over our local and regional news.

B. The need to advocate for transparent ethical standards in behavioral analysis, predictive analytics, responsible data collection, including corporate and government commitments toward the funding of ethical data infrastructure.

The plan, in-part:

Increased collaboration across organizations and issue areas to levy an awareness campaign that brings attention to digital problems by reinforcing the interconnected threats to our collective communities, particularly within marginalized and rural communities. We often may overlook the relationship between algorithms and socio-economic, environmental, and public health issues, but by organizing collective power through a shared goal, we have an opportunity to push for real change.

Partnerships with tech leaders within the social impact sectors, and creating an open-communication access point between our campaign and experts in the digital protection and national security space.

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