Things That Matter

She Was Cropped Out Of A Photo Featuring Her White Peers, Now This African Climate Change Activist Is Speaking Out

Racism and white privilege are front and center in the climate change battle thanks to a viral photo of five climate change activists that was cropped to remove the only woman of color. The ‘terrible mistake’ has sparked an outcry among the public and prompted soul-searching at the Associated Press – the organization responsible for erasing the only Black woman in the photo.

The incident highlights the erasure of people of color from activist circles and the silencing of their voices to elevate those of their white peers.

In a photo of five climate activists, the only Black activist was cropped out before publishing.

It all happened at the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland, where the young climate activists were in attendance. A photographer with the Associated Press took a picture of the five activists, including the well-known climate superstar Greta Thunberg and Ugandan Vanessa Nakate. THe photographer cropped it Nakate and sent a photo of the four whit women with a scenic mountain backdrop to editors around the world.

The AP’s initial response to the criticism was that it was done to enable a close-up of Thunberg and to remove a possible distraction in the photo – a building behind Nakate.

Vanessa Nakate told BuzzFeed News she was heartbroken to see websites use a photo featuring four white activists but not her.

In a Twitter DM conversation with Buzzfeed News, Nakate said she was heartbroken when she realized what had been done. She went on to say “I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa. It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”

The young climate activist also took to Twitter to share her reaction in an emotional 10-minute-long video discussing her experience at the summit and how it felt being cropped from the photo. She says “it was the first time in my life that I understood the definition of the word ‘racism.'” She said she felt like her story had been erased.

“I don’t feel OK right now,” she said in the video posted on Twitter. “The world is so cruel.”

Thunberg supported her on social media, saying over the weekend that the picture was “totally unacceptable in so many ways. Like Vanessa said herself: ‘You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent.’”

She’s also had to face backlash from people saying if she didn’t want to be cropped out, she should of stood in the middle of the group. Like what the…?

For real. People on Twitter were trying to tell this young African activist that she should of positioned herself in the middle of the photo if she didn’t want to be cropped out. What is wrong with people? How are you going to tell a person of color to be mindful of where they stand simply out of fear of being cropped? That’s not how it should work.

The AP originally said it was done to allow a close-up shot of Greta Thunberg but has since apologized for the incident.

The initial responde from the AP was definitely tone deaf, saying that it was done with the intention to remove a distraction in the photo’s background. Even if that were true, in doing so, you’re literally erasing the only person of color (and her experience) from the photo, the summit, and the cause. That’s not OK.

Recognizing the error in their response, the AP changed course by the weekend.

“My hope is that we can learn from this and be a better news organization going forward,” Sally Buzbee, the news service’s executive editor and senior vice president, said Monday. “I realize I need to make clear from the very top, from me, that diversity and inclusion needs to be one of our highest priorities.”

“This is a very important issue for the AP, and it’s bigger than a bad mistake on one photo,” said Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of the AP, who attended the first meeting. “Our values are to cover the world — not the white world, but the whole world. And we need to do it.”

Being erased from a major moment has led Nakate to lead a mission to fight for more inclusivity in the environmental justice movement.

Speaking up catapulted Nakate into an unfamiliar territory of social activism: calling out anti-black discrimination and racism. After experiencing “the definition of the word” for the first time in her life, she received messages of support. She said she now felt a greater responsibility to “amplify their voices”.

Nakate, an activist since 2018, was inspired by Thunberg to start her own climate movement in Uganda and began a solitary strike against inaction on the climate crisis in January 2019.

She’s made it a point to highlight the climate change issues that affect minority and vulnerable populations around the world. She hopes to remind people, that climate change is affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations already. That for many communities around the world, especially in her native Uganda, there is no time to wait for action.

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Things That Matter

Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Police have taken another Black man’s life, this time it’s 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Protests have broken out in cities across the country as the nation reacts to the killing of yet another young Black man.

But as the nation reacts to the murder, Wright’s family – his mother and child – need all the support they can get right now and thankfully there are many ways that we can all be better allies while helping support the family that Wright leaves behind.

Daunte Wright is the third high-profile police murder in Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright was driving to his older brother’s house with his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon, when police pulled him over for expired tags. Police said they found an existing warrant for Wright’s arrest and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam footage revealed Officer Kim Potter shot Wright when she claimed to be reaching for her taser. He died on the scene, just 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd.

According to CNN, Daunte’s death is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man at the hands of police in Minnesota in the last five years. And Daunte Wright’s death comes less than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests around the world.

Daunte Wright leaves behind a family still struggling with such an immense loss.

Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, spoke out about the fear he experienced before his death. Daunte called her after the police pulled him over, at the suggestion of his older brother. “I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice. But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did,” Katie told Good Morning America on April 13.

According to Katie, Daunte believed he was getting pulled over for his hanging air fresheners, then she heard “scuffling” and an officer told him to hang up the phone. “I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”

If you’d like to help support Daunte’s family and demand justice, below are a few resources and action items:

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