It was only in May when Mark Zuckerberg told the graduating class at Harvard University that the United States should explore the option of a universal basic income. The concept, which countries like Brazil, Denmark and Canada are testing, promises citizens a paycheck regardless of employment, wealth, job status and other factors, according to CNN Money.
In his speech, Zuckerberg said such a basic income for all the citizens will give people an option to explore new ideas since they would have a financial cushion to do so. Now, just 2 months after giving that speech, Latino contract cafeteria workers at Facebook’s world headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., have joined UNITE HERE Local 19, a union representing workers in northern California.
The workers, who are employed by Flagship Facility Services, joined the union to negotiate better pay and affordable benefits in an area of the country that is becoming more and more expensive to live in. Mercury News reports that some of the employees are only able to afford to live in garages with their families to be closer to work.
“Their quest for a better life in Silicon Valley is what moved them to unionize,” Enrique Fernandez, the business manager for UNITE HERE Local 19 told Mercury News.
The Guardian reports that a spokesperson for Facebook says the company looks forward to working with the union to address the contractors’ concerns. The spokesperson also expressed that the tech company is committed to providing a “safe, fair work environment to everyone who helps Facebook bring the world closer together, including contractors.”
Facebook Watch announced just this week, that they will be creating a spin-off of their original series Red Table Talk —except this time it will feature Latinx musical icon Gloria Estefan. The Miami based show which will feature latinx celebs will be titled; Red Table Talk: The Estefans. Here’s everything we know so far.
Facebook Watch is turning Red Table Talk into a franchise.
With the green light for a second series from Pinkett Smith and Westbrook Studios, señores y señoras, we’re getting a Latinx spinoff. Set in Miami, Red Table Talk: The Estefans, will feature music icon Gloria Estefan, her daughter and rising musician Emily Estefan and her niece and Daytime Emmy Award-winning TV host Lili Estefan.
We’ll see all three generations of the Estefans talk about things that matter.
Like the original program, the spinoff will feature the three women of different generations discussing social and personal issues with family, celebrity guests and experts. Pinkett Smith and Gloria Estefan will both serve as executive producers.
“I’m incredibly proud of Red Table Talk, and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili.”
In a Deadline article Jada Pinkett Smith added, “Red Table Talk has created a space to have open, honest and healing conversations around social and topical issues, and what’s most powerful for me is hearing people’s stories and engaging with our fans in such a tangible way on the Facebook Watch platform. I’m excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places.”
Red Table Talk debuted in May 2018 and has aired 50 episodes on Facebook Watch over two seasons. The show has over 7 million followers on Facebook and spawned a main discussion group with over 600,000 members as well as other group forums. “Red Table Talk” promises candid conversations of current social and cultural issues including race, divorce, domestic violence, sex, fitness and parenting.
Facebook did not announce an expected premiere date for “Red Table Talk: The Estefans.”
In a statement, Gloria Estefan said: “I’m incredibly excited to carry the ‘Red Table Talk’ torch with my family in Miami. Jada and I have spoken about this a lot and feel my daughter, niece and I can tackle issues important to us and our fans with a new and fresh voice.”
Gloria Estefan’s journey to becoming one of the biggest Latin American pop stars began in 1959.
In 1959, Gloria’s family fled Cuba for Miami. She met Emilio Estefan in 1975; the two married in 1978, and shortly after that Emilio’s band, the Miami Latin Boys, changed their name to Miami Sound Machine —the biggest crossover act of the 80s and 90s.
Gloria Estefan has had one of the longest and most successful careers of any contemporary pop star.
And she’s done it in two languages, recording numerous Spanish-language albums, such as Mi Tierra (1993), Abriendo Puertas (1995) and Alma Caribeña (2000), all of which won Grammys for Best Tropical Latin Album. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Gloria and Emilio with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2017, it was announced that Gloria is one of the recipients of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.
We can’t wait to see what the Estefans bring to the (red) table.
Not to disregard the Pinket Smith efforts because they brought much needed discussions to the public with the creation of this show. The original Red Table Talk discussed race, relationships, culture, mental health and more —but we’re excited for the Estefans to discuss issues that affect the Latinx community specifically.
Facebook Watch knows that by giving the show a different angle, they can target another demographic group —and the Latinx community is on board with the representation.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to be in business with such wonderful partners and are thrilled to expand the Red Table Talk franchise with Jada Pinkett Smith, the Estefans and Westbrook Studios,” said Mina Lefevre, head of development & programming for Facebook Watch. “Red Table Talk is a shining example of how content, community and conversation come together on Facebook Watch. We’re proud to keep this conversation going around topics our fans care about.”
The human race is no stranger to segregation. In the United States, Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal” doctrine kept people racially separated for decades. In Germany, there were the Nuremberg Laws. In South Africa, Apartheid. Today, segregation in our country takes a different form—no longer supported by law, it is pervasive yet subtle, an intersectional issue rooted in gender, race, and socioeconomic status. While legally dividing people based on their differences is indisputably wrong, a complex question emerges: Could the cultivation of ethnic, religious, and racial minority communities actually yield positive outcomes for the people within those communities? Many signs point to yes.
On college campuses, this question underscores the phenomenon of “affinity housing”—spaces where minority students can live alongside peers who share important aspects of their identities.
The debate around affinity housing has spanned the past 50 years, beginning with active calls for change from students at numerous institutions in 1969 (Williams College, Vassar College, and Wesleyan University, to name a few). At Williams College, the discussion began when members of the Williams Afro-American Society occupied Hopkins Hall until the school president responded to a series of requests, including the development of a residence hall specifically for Black students. While that demand wasn’t met at the time—leading to a reemergence of the issue last year—students at Vassar and Wesleyan were more successful, resulting in Wesleyan’s “Malcolm X House” and Vassar’s “Kendrick House”—dorms specifically designated to Black students, which still exist today.
Now, in 2019, a wide number of colleges and universities offer affinity housing for a highly diverse spectrum of students, including women of color, Asians and Asian-Americans, Latinx populations, and LGBTQ groups. Proponents of affinity housing argue that these communal residences provide minority students with a sense of safety and security, especially at institutions with largely white student bodies. However, many people believe that affinity housing hearkens back to a darker epoch of American history, reviving segregationist tendencies that are fundamentally harmful to our progress as a society. Without a doubt, our country’s fraught past has definitely made the legal aspects of affinity housing a bit sticky.
According to the federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against tenants based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and family status.
So, if a university offers affinity housing for Black students, it could get in trouble if white or Asian students were explicitly prohibited from living there. To avoid this, colleges provide students with the choice to reside in these spaces, using careful language to define their role on campus—for example, California State University’s website describes its Halisi Scholars Living Learning Community as having been “designed to enhance the residential experience for students who are a part of or interested in issues regarding the Black community.” While it focuses on fostering a sense of community for Black students, the Halisi Scholars LLC is available to any student invested in issues of Black culture. Thus, as long as the option to join an affinity housing residence is inclusive to all, there is nothing illegal about it.
Although it can make affinity housing tricky to navigate, the Fair Housing Act protects folks all over the country. In certain states and cities, the protections expand even further to include factors like age, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, and citizenship status. Given the diversity of the U.S. population, these measures are absolutely essential to maintaining liberty and preserving our rights; yet history reveals that in spite of this legislation, marginalized communities are still most affected by housing discrimination, which perhaps points to affinity housing as a productive response to a long and unsavory trend.
Netflix’s “Dear White People” touches on the topic of affinity housing, illustrating the polemic nature of this issue through its characters’ divergent opinions.
credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images
While some characters, like Coco Conners—a Black economics student who serves as treasurer for Winchester University’s Coalition of Racial Equality—do not support the new Armstrong-Parker dorm (a residence hall for students of color), several other characters find community there. Yvette Lee Bowser, executive producer of the series, describes this point in the show as a “renaissance” for the predominantly white, fictional Ivy League school.
“Everyone wants to have a sense of community, no matter what their cultural background is,” says Bowser. “That’s really what Armstrong-Parker is about—a built-in sense of community.” As a woman of color, Bowser attended Stanford University, which also offers affinity housing. She reiterates that the housing assignments at Winchester are not meant to segregate, but to do the very opposite: the Amstrong-Parker dorm is designed to maintain connectivity within students’ own, preexistent communities. “You don’t choose to go to a predominantly white institution only to be with black people,” she says. “You want the diverse experience, but you also want to feel those creature comforts and culture comforts.”
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