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Young Activists Pour Energy Into Protests, But What About The Election?

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Howard University law students Chanel Sherrod, Domonique Dille and Temitope Aladetimi brought handmade signs to a protest near the White House last Saturday. Sam Gringlas/NPR hide caption

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Howard University law students Chanel Sherrod, Domonique Dille and Temitope Aladetimi brought handmade signs to a protest near the White House last Saturday.

Sam Gringlas/NPR

As demonstrators gathered around the White House last weekend, Howard University law student Tope Aladetimi leaned her cardboard protest sign against the street median and took a load off her feet. She had already been out protesting for a few hours, and the temperature was climbing into the nineties.

“There’s a power in using your body, and actually physically being here,” Aladetimi said. “Oftentimes, our voices aren’t heard and this is the only way we’re able to get our message across.”

Domonique Dille, a Howard law school classmate, feels an urgency to this moment.

“We can’t wait until November to voice our opinions,” she said. “We’ve seen our parents, our ancestors fight. They’ve all fought, and we’re still fighting in 2020. And we’re going to keep this going until the election and even past then.”

With a presidential campaign and historic demonstrations unfolding at the same time, the country’s youngest voters and activists are being pushed to weigh their role in politics right now, trying to navigate the relative power of protest and electoral politics in real time.

The question is especially pressing for Gen Z, the generation of voters in their late teens and early twenties who grew up with endless school shootings, viral videos of police brutality and a political climate defined by President Trump — and who are rapidly aging into the voting population.

When former President Obama recently addressed protests swelling around the country, he urged young people not to forget about the election.

“I’ve been hearing a little bit of chatter on the internet about voting versus protest,” he said. “Politics and participation versus civil disobedience and direct action. This is not an either/or. This is a both/and.”

“I was feeling pretty pessimistic a week ago, and I’m more optimistic in this moment than I’ve ever been,” said Natalie Spievack, who’d been out protesting for several hours last Saturday.

“More optimistic about the possibility of making systemic change, but mostly optimistic because I’m experiencing for the first time in my life people coming together around a common cause and demanding change — and actually seeing people listen,” she added.

Natalie Spievack (third from left) and Raymond Sison (far right) take a break from protesting with friends at Malcolm X Park in Washington, DC. Sam Gringlas/NPR hide caption

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Sam Gringlas/NPR

Natalie Spievack (third from left) and Raymond Sison (far right) take a break from protesting with friends at Malcolm X Park in Washington, DC.

Sam Gringlas/NPR

Spievack and several friends had found a shaded spot in a park to cool off.

They all said they feel like traditional modes of political advocacy have failed their generation. That’s in part why Raymond Sison says direct action and protest can be more powerful tools.

“There are so many issues to talk about, I mean, we’re here talking about police brutality, but like student loans — there hasn’t been anything done for students in America, one of the most indebted generations,” he said.

Everyone in the group said they recognize the importance of the 2020 election and are planning to vote this fall. It’s not really up for debate.

Like most of their generation, almost 80 percent, this group of young protesters overwhelmingly disapproves of President Trump. For comparison, 42% of Gen X voters and 48% of Baby Boomers approve of the president’s job performance.

Where it gets tricky, Spievack says, is trying to prioritize. Do you spend your summer planning demonstrations or knocking doors for a political candidate, like the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden?

To actually drive systemic change, Spievack says you have to hold politicians accountable — not just vote your preferred party into office.

“I feel like that’s been my biggest internal struggle over the last week and a half, figuring out what’s my place in creating change,” she says.

In Louisville, 19 year-old Sean Waddell organized a march for Breonna Taylor, the 26 year-old EMT killed by police this year.

“That could have easily been my brother, my sister or anybody,” he said, speaking on a call from a birthday celebration in Taylor’s memory, where thousands of people gathered downtown to release balloons and butterflies.

“Since middle school, seeing Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher, Black people dying over and over again before my eyes, and being told to go to our politicians and seeing so little, it does take away our spirit,” he said.

But Waddell plans to keep organizing, and he’s optimistic this energy now will translate into a lasting movement for justice.

According to CIRCLE, a Tufts University research group focused on youth civic and political engagement, young people don’t seem to be disengaging. Instead, youth turnout doubled between the last two midterms. And the group found that in 2018, three times more young people attended a demonstration than in 2016.

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“We have no more patience for justice to be served on a silver platter,” said Daud Mumin, an organizer in Utah with March For Our Lives. “We have to go and fight for it.”

After the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in which 14 students and three educators were killed, the student-led March For Our Lives organized hundreds of demonstrations around the country calling for gun control, sparking a nationwide youth movement.

“The moment the march ended, we all took a deep breath, I think, collectively,” said Matthew Hogenmiller, the social media manager for March For Our Lives. “We were 16 years old. Daud was, too. We were young people trying to create a change and all of us were looking for next steps.”

Political advocacy and voter registration became a part of March For Our Lives’ equation, too, as the group went up against entrenched political organizations like the National Rifle Association.

But Mumin says getting involved in politics can be harder for young voters, especially people of color. And he’s watching how quickly the protests over police brutality sparked tangible change in cities around the country in a way that elections haven’t.

“Electoral work is not the most accessible work,” he said. “So when we tell African American people, ‘Are you concerned? Go and vote,’ it’s almost offensive. It’s almost a slap in the face.”

Research suggests protest energy could boost young voter turnout. CIRCLE says in 2018, young people who were aligned with the Parkland gun control movement were 21 percent more likely to vote.

Matthew Nowling, communications director for the College Democrats, says protests over police brutality in Ferguson, Mo., actually inspired him to get involved in politics.

Afterward, he watched the Obama Administration take action, actions the Trump Administration has rolled back.

It’s a reminder, Nowling says, of what’s at stake not only right now, but on Election Day, too.

“The way to harness the momentum of the movement is really connecting the issues why people are protesting to direct Democratic Party policies,” he said.

Nowling says, while his organization is working to support the protest movement now, he’s hopeful the momentum will spill over into the election.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/14/876101226/young-activists-pour-energy-into-protests-but-what-about-the-election?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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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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