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Why I Took My Young Son to Protest

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Last Tuesday evening I took my 6-year-old son, Javier, around our neighborhood in Jersey City and introduced him to all the “mom” cops.

Two peaceful marches had dispersed hours before, but at dusk, police still stood on every corner. There has been no curfew here, and marches have been large and nonviolent. Still, businesses had boarded up or lowered their steel grills; the air roiled with tension. I hailed the manager of our local Key Food, which usually had a line around the block. He was putting their grill down, and told me, “Just in case.”

But the three officers on our corner looked nothing like the threatening phalanxes of what appeared to be mostly white men in military gear filling the media. First of all, there was not a riot shield in sight. Second, they were wearing regular Jersey City Police Department uniforms. And two of them were women — and they were not white.

I hadn’t planned to, but I introduced my son immediately.

“Javi, see, there are mommy cops too,” I said.

“That’s right — I have three kids!” said one officer immediately.

“I have two, honey,” said the other. “You want to take a picture?”

Javi’s face cracked into a smile, and they all shook his hand. I wasn’t only reassuring my son, I realized, I was reassuring myself.

I chose to raise my son in Jersey City because it’s multi-ethnic and tight-knit, the kind of place where you call out to your grocery store manager from across the street. It’s a place where advocates have pledged to hold weekly protests against police brutality at City Hall, calling for cutting the police department’s budget and removing officers from schools. But I hadn’t realized until that moment I also felt safer here. And that was partly because many of the cops we see looked like my mom.

I was born in 1973, but I wasn’t raised going to marches. Instead, my mother, who was black and an English professor, filled the shelves with black literature and history: “Roll, Jordan, Roll”; “Another Country”; “A Raisin in the Sun”; “Black Power.” (In a nod to my father, she also filled the shelves with Jewish literature, plus, “The Black Jews of Harlem.”)

My favorite above all was June Jordan’s “Fannie Lou Hamer,” an illustrated biography for young readers published in 1972, and which is now out of print. Jordan tells the story of the voting rights activist Hamer in unsparing detail. There is an unforgettable illustration of Hamer’s battered face as she was leaving prison — patrolmen ordered fellow prisoners to beat her with a solid lead blackjack.

Its vivid depiction of Hamer at the hands of the Mississippi Highway Patrolmen gets right to the point. But I haven’t yet read it to Javi. In fact, I’d even cut short Julius Lester’s “Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story” because (spoiler alert) a horse dies.

Until the world rose up to protest George Floyd’s death, I had mostly followed my parents’ example. I send Javier to a diverse public school where they say the pledge in Spanish. I tell him about his black and Jewish forebears. And I give him plenty of books about black people, like his current reader, “Wagon Wheels,” by Barbara Brenner, about a family in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, in 1878. (It’s also out of print.)

But I had not yet told him about the long history of violence toward black people in this country. Like me, my son looks mostly white. Unlike his friends, he has never been bothered by the police, or had a racial slur hurled at him. He probably never will. He will grow up learning racism how his mother did: hearing what people say when they think they’re talking to a white person.

But recently, Javier had seen the picture of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old killed by a Cleveland police officer while playing with a toy gun. He wanted to know why the police had killed Tamir — and now why George Floyd had died, why Breonna Taylor had died. I had taught him all about the achievements of black people, but I had not fully explained that white people killing black people was a sickness in our country going back centuries.

Adjusting a lecture on structural racism from slavery to the present for a 6-year-old is a mighty task. In an hour on Saturday morning, we went through slavery, Reconstruction, voting rights, civil rights. I told him about the racism his relatives had endured, and I drew the line from being enslaved to police brutality.

I also told him that an officer being black or Asian or Latinx didn’t mean they were good, and that being white didn’t mean they were bad. I told him what mattered was that an officer could see Tamir Rice for what he was: a child. And I told him that, in this country, I trusted some cops to do that more than others.

He was silent a moment. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” he said.

“Well, you weren’t old enough before,” I said. “But now you asked. Did you want me to tell you earlier?”

“No!” he said. “I wish you hadn’t ever told me about black people being killed.”

“Yes, but everyone is protesting now to try to stop it,” I said.

“They’re trying to stop it?” he asked.

“If there are enough mommy cops at the next march, we’re going to go.”

The next march turned out to be that afternoon. On our corner stood a different group of officers. Half of the group were women; no officer was white. I hustled us downtown, the only middle-aged lady dragging a 6-year-old on a blue bike with training wheels through the teeming crowd.

I was happy to see the marchers were wearing masks and social distancing. I was impressed that, except for the fact that they were all young enough to be my children, they were a diverse group. I thought, in a perfect world, I could give them each a copy of “Roll, Jordan, Roll.”

After the march, the protesters streamed onto the pedestrian plaza. An enormous, neatly spaced-out line formed at each ice-cream place. The crowd at the pizzeria ballooned. Marchers sat out near the wine bar and the Cuban restaurant, holding drinks. The officers on the corner got wings. When Javi crashed into the street barrier deliberately, one cracked up.

This was what everyone wants. I don’t think any of us took the situation for granted.

Jersey City is far from perfect. Neither are its police officers. But I felt lucky that the strength of our community had held, that it had proved to not be a happy illusion. I will keep my son in this life as long as I can. I do this both to protect him, and to let him live in the world as I want it to be, as I think it can be.

It’s also good to know that our powers, as parents, are limited. As we rolled along, Javi looked up at another “Black Lives Matter” sign.

“Mommy,” he said. “I think it should say White and Black Lives Matter.”

“I’ll explain that to you later,” I said.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/parenting/protests-bringing-kids.html

Publications

Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

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Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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