What’s the most violent city in America? Which city is the poorest? When it comes to employment, is your city house the most unemployed residents? I don’t have the answers but I’m sure Google does. In fact, Google knows enough to know that they don’t know enough about these social ills and the people facing them to combat it alone. Google.org’s Principal, Justin Steele has positioned Google.org to be a support system for social justice initiatives.
LIve Free just hosted the 2017 Peace Awards in Los Angeles this weekend in the midst of the annual BET Awards festivities. Google.org was the presenting sponsor. Revolt TV served as the media partner for the broadcast that aired on Facebook Live. The awards was a 2 day experience that began with a summit featuring a series of workshops that united organizers of the several organizations in attendance, allowing for mutual agreement on how change could be implemented in their communities.
To conclude the first day, Google.org awarded $2 million to the Live Free campaign and since Live Free is an inclusive initiative that involves other community leaders and organizations, it’s fitting for those organizations to be supported as well to scale up their efforts. As an entire network of leaders from different regions participated in this public display of unity in front of the room, Pastor Michael McBride, Director of Live Free and host of ‘Touch Yo Neighbor (Every Sunday at 11am on 104.9 KZWA), lead a 15 minute segment of him awarding a portion of his award to other organizations around the country doing complementary work. Organizations such as Chicago Violence Prevention, Milwaukee Violence Prevention, Gary Violence Prevention, and Orlando Violence Prevention representatives posed with their staff all holding their massive artificial check.
The second day was the actual ceremony that honored several leaders in the community around the country for their work. Each honoree had an intro video that played on two large projection screens before they appeared on stage to accept their award. To highlight a few, Erica Ford was honored for her work in Queens, NY with the Life Camp organization that is responsible for maintaining a steady rate of peace for an entire year in their community. Ryan Coogler, director of Fruitvale Station, Creed, and upcoming film Black Panther, was honored for his work in film as well as his role in Blackout for Human Rights, a collective of filmmakers, artists, activists, musicians, lawyers, tastemakers, religious leaders, and concerned citizens who commit their energy and resources to immediately address the staggering level of Human RIghts violations and injustices against fellow Americans throughout the United States. Judge Glenda Hatchett may have stole the show with her powerful “intergenerational relay speech.” “Baby!” she exclaimed. When you hear her say it, it’s contagious.
While it is Black Music Month and the purpose of the BET Awards is to honor those in music, it is good to know that there are people who get recognized for their work that impact the lives of us all on a daily. Hats off to Pastor McBride as well as all of the honorees and we look forward to seeing the work they’re all already doing on an elevated platform. Most people will only focus on the negative events that took place this past weekend. We, however, want to focus on the positive!