Discussing corporate DE&I budgets and if the people those funds are meant to help are benefitting.
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welcome to resist bot live.
Melanie: Hey y'all.
It is Sunday, April 3rd, 2022.
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So I want to thank you
again for joining us today.
We are going to be following the money.
We're talking about Mason, Tennessee a
predominantly black town in Tennessee.
That is it has a population
of about 1500 people.
The Ford motor company, we'll
be building a plant in 2025.
That will bring this struggling
community a great economic boost
for a very struggling community.
And after years, 20 years,
in fact of mismanagement and
corruption and even arrest for
mishandling money and corruption.
Now the Tennessee controller, Jason
mom power is threatening this township
with taking over economically.
Stepped in with financial oversight
for this town and the mayor and the
vice mayor are speaking on how this
definitely seems to be racially motivated,
considering that prior to this takeover,
this year, just within the last month,
up until the removal of those Those
corrupt officials who were white,
were now dealing with black officials
in this predominantly black town.
And they're stepping into potentially
step on the economic advantages
or economic boosts that this
new plant will bring to Mason.
So we're going to talk about that and
also talk about what responsibility
Ford may have in looking at this.
So I'm going to start bringing
up our regular panelists.
Christine: Hello there.
So I am so glad we're
talking about this today.
I had first mentioned it to the group
when I just came across it in, you know,
just caught it in my stream on Twitter.
And this story immediately led me to think
how many other towns are there that are
experiencing this in one way or another.
And then my mind, because I'm
in the private sector goes to,
okay, well, if this is all.
Revolving around the timing
of a Ford plant coming in,
you would think in the post.
Era of BLM 2020, and all these
corporations making these promises to
do better and to allocate funding and to
be a stand for the community that this
would be actually a great opportunity
with the Ford plant, moving in to be able
to incorporate all those promises on DEI
into an example, and it's not happening.
So then it led me to one.
Why is that?
And so this is why we're here and I'm so
glad we're talking about it today, Mel.
Melanie: Thank you so much.
I really appreciate you bringing
this tower attention because we see
these things and when everything
is terrible, you're kind of
like, oh, another terrible thing.
But then how many times has this
small, terrible thing happening?
You brought up a good point.
We're dealing with the
town of just 1500 people.
It's really easy for that
to get lost in the shuffle.
So thank you.
And we look forward to the conversation
that we're going to have today, along
with our other friend, Athena Fulay.
Athena: Hey, Mel.
Hey Christine, how's everyone doing today?
Melanie: Great, great.
I'm looking forward to
your input on this as well.
Just as Christina was
mentioning end you at this idea.
We stumbled across this.
It's just by happenstance.
So it's likely somebody's PR spin, let
the sleek somehow or got away from them.
And yet when you look at so
many of our policies and so many
things that happen you just got to
wonder how much else is out there.
And I completely agree.
This is exactly what we're
trying to do with this podcast.
We want to shed light on these
issues that aren't getting
that kind of media attention.
Reinforcing, this continued
idea that we have to stay.
I don't want to sound like Tin Hattie,
but we have to stay vigilant . It,
we have to stay aware and we
have to hold folks accountable
across all from local to federal.
And so these conversations
are very important.
I look forward to learning more
because I as well have this some kind
of resistance, fatigue, right . We're
like the last four years of the Trump
administration was like drinking
from a fire hose of all the awful.
And what can we focus on?
And what can we what would we address
this time who will rewrite about this?
So I think the lesson in that
is to, keep on and continuing to
find these messages and keep the
general awareness up that we should.
Always follow up and see where
some of these initiatives are
going a year or two down the road.
Because as we see, if they're not
looking, they're gonna corporations are
gonna try to get away with whatever.
Melanie: And when you think about
what after George, Floyd, and
even like with Ford there, DNR DNI
initiatives started back in 2008.
What are your lips saying?
And what are your hands doing?
And are those things working in tandem?
I think that's the question that
goes, especially with something
like, , where Ford is a major player in
this and, and arguably the motivation
behind this takeover and Mason.
So what, A: are Ford's responsibilities
and B: what is Ford actually doing?
What does their D E and
I actually look like?
not only for, not just a single amount,
but other companies where, what is
happening when the rubber meets the road?
Or are you just saying this because
this is the cool thing, or are there
actual changes that we can see?
So our guest today is somebody who
really keeps a, an intense look on that.
And I'm so excited to have her join us.
We're joined today by Qiana Patterson.
Qiana: Hey, good morning, everyone.
I'm so glad to be here
with you this morning.
Melanie: Glad to have you.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Can you talk a little bit about,
I always like to get into.
Who you are, what you do and how this
topic factors into your professional
life and then your personal outlook.
Qiana: A really great question.
Shockingly people will be surprised
to know that I'm a former public
school teacher here in Los Angeles.
And I say that because that has become
the basis for much of the work that
I've gone on to do after I stopped
being an educator, I went onto.
to work in the tech sector.
And now I find myself as an investor,
much like Christine investing at the
intersection of really true community
power and development to make, people's
lives better and the planet better.
And I know that.
Somewhat seemingly difficult
as as an investor, but I
think it is truly possible.
And my sort of vantage point of being
an educator, being an anthropology major
coming up the sort of ranks in a very
non-traditional sense sort of frames
everything that I do, my outlook on the
world and how I look at the past as well.
And so, all of this work definitely
coincides with, what I believe to
be the path forward, which is really
understanding true community power.
How do we, as individuals collectively do
the right thing and maybe not necessarily
abdicate the responsibility and the
change that we want to see with companies.
But how do we, as individuals in
a community of people want and
see a better pathway forward.
when we're looking at these
things, we all have those.
Signs that we look for on if a company
is walking the talk and since Ford is,
central part of the discussion today, I
took a look just at their DNI website.
I think the thing that jumped out to me,
I always look at who's there what's there.
What are you showing me when
you're telling me that you were.
There were zero black faces on
their diversity inclusion page.
There was reference to disability,
but , all of the words were right on
a page that was predominantly white.
it speaks on where the focus
is and what we're looking at.
And it makes the silence regarding this
issue in Mason for me, much louder.
And not only when I say no black faces,
I don't remember seeing a particularly
large amount of nonwhite faces either.
One of the things that
when brought out about.
What they've done, what Ford has done
since 2018 in the 4,000 jobs that they've
added since those 2018 initiatives,
9.8% of those went to black people.
that was where the focus lies there.
And it's, something to consider.
When you think about.
A lot of this is in Detroit.
So, so there, you know, it's,
it's not necessarily a matter
of the people not being there.
It's still, what is your focus?
Where are you?
Where are the actual funds going?
Where's the actual energy going?
Is that energy going to trans people?
Like how much of that is
going to trans people?
How much of that is going to
people with physical disabilities?
How much of that is
going to mental health?
All of these things factor
and it needs to be seen.
It needs to be shown.
It's not just putting a pretty picture
out there, but when you have always
had marginalized people in the back.
The onus is on you to make sure that
you're pushing them to the front more.
So when that's absent on your DNI
DNI page it's giving me pause.
Athena can you talk a bit, cause th you,
talked about something that I noticed
as well about where the DNI is focused.
Can you talk a little bit about what
you saw and how that resonated with you?
So some of the work that I do in my
real life is DNI in higher education.
So working to ensure that almost
like an academic from an academic
standpoint, how do you define that?
And what does that look like?
And you bring up some
good points about forward.
Who they are as a company and what
their history is and, and how that
shapes a lot of what diversity will
look like for them versus what diversity
might look like for a company, either
somewhere else in the United States
or, uh, with a different history.
And so if you visit the Fords, D E N I
website they rightfully focus on women
as a means of diversity, because I
would imagine that that car industry.
And that field might, may be
predominantly, men might be
speaking out of tune here.
I don't know, but I would make
assumptions that that industry was
probably a long established and
functional through the work and
contributions of male identifying people.
So when you look at their site, there is a
spot specifically about the women at four.
As Christine pointed out earlier,
there, there are these checkboxes,
so it's like great women put them on
this page where diverse without really
going through that further step of
really exploring what diversity is,
what inclusion is and what equity is.
So in Ford's case briefly looking at what
they're looking at, they are getting,
they're sort of scratching the surface
for that, but I think what's happening
problematically in the example that we're
going to talk about today is just how.
Corporations and politics.
How much of an influence these
corporations have and the politics of
particular regions, especially rural
regions when they have such a powerful
voice to leverage in terms of funding and
policy, when it comes to local, there's.
Melanie: And one of the things that,
that makes us interesting or made it
interesting for me about Ford with
Ford was one of the first, when we talk
about racial equity, Ford was one of
the first, if not the first company to
really hire black people in large numbers.
And we're talking back in 19.
before this was, there was the major
push for women in the workforce.
We were looking at racial inclusion
and he hired thousands of black
men back in 1920, which was, huge.
So companies can't throw rely on the.
Decades old jumps.
And then it's sort of like the old, well,
you know, Republicans freed the slaves.
It's like, that's very great that
you did this one thing years ago, but
you know, the ball is still moving.
Society is still evolving and inclusion
is not finite as society changes.
As you know, people, marginalized
people speak out more as we have,
as we gain greater awareness,
that means those changes also
need to be made on higher levels.
It's not just enough to rest on our
laurels, but I wanna talk to you Qiana.
when you look at things like this, what
are you looking at in terms of comparing?
If the walk matches the talk, what are
the key indicators for you that, either
get your support or raise a red flag?
Qiana: I think that one thing that
I, sort of look for in language and
whether or not the sort of talk and
walk match up is one in language.
For most of us of color and those of
hosts who are marginalized, we are,
we have largely been minoritized.
So think about what.
We've never been a minority right.
In the, grand scheme
of the society itself.
But we have been minoritized
in a way that, we aren't on,
we don't represent board seats.
We are not in the C-suite of
companies that isn't by osmosis that's
because we've been systematically
blocked from those type of roles,
those kinds of positions of power.
That isn't because we are
fundamentally a minority.
We are not, we have been minoritized.
And so I think one of, for me is like that
using that language is really important.
And then the component for me, Has
really been thinking about, and maybe,
because of the work that Athena is doing.
I think that we have to look at what
are the structures that prevented people
and that still prevent people from
accessing opportunity, whatever that.
And so for me, I think about
the, conversation about pipeline.
So a lot of companies, you know, when
they started making these promises and
they were public about these things, the
first thing that they did was they started
like donating money to stem programs.
In the K-12 system, they sort of
started saying, we need to like,
shore up education, uh, so that
kids can access computer science.
And while I think that is great,
I think that's a good thing.
It, for me, it fundamentally.
It's skirt at the actual challenge
that I saw, which is you are not
currently hiring the people who
have been minoritized, right.
Who are in a position to
take those jobs today.
And so it just totally ignored all.
Minoritized black people, brown
people, everybody who's gone to
college who gotten CS degrees.
It totally ignored all of the
people who have the prerequisite
skills to take those jobs, but
they can not get into the funnel.
It ignores everyone who is currently.
Underpaid under employed.
And those for me are
the key sort of factors.
If a person was using that kind of
language Hey, I want to look at everybody.
Who's underpaid in my company.
I want to look at what underemployment
actually looks like in my city or
region that I'm hiring or from,
and now, given remote work, now,
it doesn't matter where you are.
So I think fundamentally
for me, that's where.
I have been pushing back on this
conversation around DNI initiatives,
simply because it ignores that people
who had already gone to college, if
that's, if that was the road that
you needed to go down to get that
particular job, if you needed to get
an MBA, but it couldn't be just an MBA.
You had to get an MBA
from a particular school.
And then the last point
is thinking really about.
College as an access point,
but not all colleges equal and
not all students understood.
And certainly I didn't, as a
first-generation college student,
didn't really understand that.
There was social capital that
I was supposed to be acquiring
while I was in college.
And how fundamentally, that was likely
more important than the actual paper
degree that I have on my wall today.
And that, because I was a first generation
college student had no social capital,
did not understand the power of.
Being in the right classes with the
right professors who had the certain
recruiters and headhunters coming to
their classes and recruiting from them.
Like, I didn't understand that.
And so when I, my goal was
to graduate from college.
My goal should have also been to
understand social capital in a way that
landed me the type of job that could
have put me on a different trajectory.
And that's not to say the trajectory
that I've been on has been a bad one.
It would have been different if I
would have understood social capital.
So I think that.
I'm not a researcher, but if we thought
about these things more holistically
in a much more broader way, then
we would actually be able to get at
the root of some of the core issues
and come up with really meaningful
solutions to the problems that we
face, which we know are systemic.
And they are not, you cannot
put a bandaid on these problems.
They are deep and they're wide,
and we need to come up with
solutions that are equally as deep.
Thank you so much.
And I'm glad you mentioned that
because there's this push to get
people in the door to get students in
the door, to get bodies in the door.
we've got black women.
We've got people with, disabilities,
but how are they treating?
Once they get there.
Do they have the tools that they need?
What you mentioned about, that social
capital, your social capital is not the
same as someone who is three generations
deep into, into your university.
Who's, Parents may have gone to
undergrad with your professor and
those types of things like this is
these are those intangibles that a lot
of us, when we're dealing with being
a first or at best second generation
college students have no idea to eat.
We don't know what we don't know.
People don't know what they don't know.
And so when that's not shared.
, who is the responsibility, sitting
on who is falling short here?
One of the things, when we talk
about Ford's responsibility, this
isn't something I'm not asking for
something, you know, pie in the sky,
because when there were problems or
issues with COVID-19 in Tennessee for
outspoken, Ford and other businesses,
they spoke up and these were like
Republican led rollbacks and Ford
spoke up and had something to say.
And there was a back down on that.
So it's not something that
they have not done before.
So that also makes the lack
of action in statement on.
Fords part concerning.
Qiana: I think there's a
question about community.
Who are we community with?
If we have large corporations who are
domiciled in regions and cities and
states, they are major employers, right?
They are major land owners.
They are major thought leaders
and they can shift policy.
They can push decisions, they
can transform entire communities.
Are they truly in community
with us as individuals.
And I think that's the part
that we have to understand.
So what is the responsibility.
Of a corporation who is in
community, maybe just by proximity.
Maybe we don't have a shared understanding
or a belief even on what that community
is, but by proximity, we are in community
with these corporations, what is
their responsibility to the community?
And I think that's the core thing
that we have to start asking.
From the standpoint of what
will benefit shareholders.
I fundamentally believe that us,
if we're in community with someone
who has such a large state where
regardless of file own stock in that
company or not, I'm a shareholder
in the wellbeing of this community.
What, and so my question is
what does that truly mean?
And what is the responsibility of
me as an individual and what is the
responsibility of a corporation?
Like you said Mel to speak out, right?
To have an opinion.
To take a position on something, right.
And so often corporations cannot or
will not make a stance, even if it's
the right thing to do because they think
about like, what's going to happen to
our stock price, what's going to happen
when NASDAQ opens up tomorrow morning.
we have to understand what becomes
a priority of accompany, and where
you are essentially on that ladder.
Whereas community, whereas the
wellbeing of that community on the
ladder of importance and priority.
And when we understand.
And we have a clear vision and it's
transparent about that, then we know
how we can and should maneuver, right.
And then what then collective power
that we could take and actions that we
can take that can change that dynamic.
but I think that we
have to understand that.
Melanie: Yeah, and this is one of those
reasons where people always get a little.
When they hear the word
ally, ally ship allies.
I'm an ally.
I'm a, I'm here for you,
but are you a partner?
Are you going to make sure?
Are you going to stand in the gap for
me when something like this happens?
It's great to.
Toss money at a problem.
Very nice because absolutely a lot of
these communities absolutely need money.
So it's not a matter of oh no
don't send money open that purse.
But also there's more than that because
it's not just money that we're missing.
As you mentioned before,
it's the, social capital.
It's the actual partnership
where someone should know.
there should be something where
Tennessee should know, okay,
you can't come for this town.
This is who we're working with.
You can't come for them.
And when that's not there, that's noticed
it gets noticed on who this is done for
who and how it's what the procedure is.
And the getting back to Mason.
This is not the first town that has been.
Taken over where, this
has happened before.
It's not that this is the first thing
that's happening, but what's the
difference here and the way and even
the controller called it unprecedented,
they actually sent letters to people
in the township asking that they push
officials to dissolve the charter.
And what happens when the town, if
the town were to dissolve the charter.
That meant all the funds that
would have gone to build up
this struggling black town.
That's I think said that is 72, not,
I think it's 72% black would now go
to Tipton county, which is 75% white.
There was Jellicoe Tennessee.
They were also taken over, but the vice
mayor of Mason brought out how that.
Procedure was completely different and
it was a way of helping them so that
they could get back on their feet so
that they could become economically
viable, not this threat and there was
never a request to dissolve the charter.
This has not been asked for before.
So in looking at that and hearing that.
If I'm hearing that as resident of
new Orleans, Louisiana, who has no
investment background, I'm certain
that Ford should be doing their due
diligence and aware of it as well.
Qiana: Yeah, totally.
Companies don't choose to locate a
large manufacturing facility in a
city, in a town without a whole lot of
due diligence, there would have been
a ton of cities or towns on a list.
And they chose that particular
region for a lot of reasons.
And so, no, they don't go into that role.
It's not like throwing spaghetti on
a map and wherever the noodle sticks,
that's where they ended up putting,
you know, a new manufacturing plant.
There's a lot of decisions made into this.
It's an event.
and you understand, you have to have
a really good understanding of what
is going to be the return on your
investment that you put out from the,
building up the plant to building
up the workforce, all the kinds of
things that are going to go into that.
And so I think.
They are well aware of the
demographics of this town.
They were well aware
of the financial state.
This town was N they would have been
had listening sessions, talking sessions
prior to choosing this location.
it tells me like, no, they
had to have known everything
and still chose that town.
And so then once they did choose
it, then suddenly people want
to dissolve the charter, which
I think obviously is telling.
Melanie: And we're not
talking nickels and dimes.
This is a $5.8 billion project.
And it's going to be huge.
It's going to be 3,600 acres.
And it's looking to bring 6,000
jobs into this small community.
Qiana: And there's going
to be a lot of beyond that.
So when, you know, when you do that,
there's going to be more housing.
There's going to be there.
They would have to attract more people.
There's not enough people
in that town right now.
So there's gotta be.
there's gotta be schools.
There's gotta be, there's a
ton of things that happen.
In this region, that's going to have
enormous impact on this community.
Whether you work at the plant or you work
at something that is in support of the
plant restaurants, business owners, all
kinds of things, schools you'll need more.
Teachers you'll need a bigger hospital.
There's tons of things
that are going to have.
and we're all in, whose income, like I
said, who's in community is going to be
a really important thing to prioritize.
Melanie: it looks bad.
It's not something that we can just
ignore because America has a history
of when it sees people of color,
when it sees marginalized people.
It's got to get its trunk.
There has to be their chunk.
We learned about a lot of us learned
about the Tulsa massacre in 1920.
We just learned a lot of us
learned about that as adults.
Like we know what happens
when there is progress.
when you're dealing with a country,
a state that has this type of
poor history, With black people,
specifically, something like this can't
be ignored and is not being ignored.
The NAACP just yesterday actually
helped filed suit for violation
of the equal protection clause.
It's not that this should be happening.
Things are not going in the way
that they should normally go.
I've gone on a lot and I love
to hear a little more from
Christine and or Athena on this.
Sorry, but this is something that really
kind of got my goat once I started digging
into it, obviously, but I wasn't sure if
either one of you had any comments on it.
Christine: So what was on my mind and
what remains on my mind is just letting
people know that this is just the start,
because if you look at the economic.
Emphasis of a reassuring, they call it
bringing jobs back to the U S right.
Politicians talk a big game about that.
That's going to involve more
investment into towns like this.
That's going to involve incentives,
tax wise and whatever have
you to large corporations.
So the politicians get that checkbox and
that win, and they can say we brought.
another Ford plant to this state and
to this, the city and things like that.
So it's only going to accelerate
because we have this situation in the
us where the, in the next several years
there is actually going to be a big.
On manufacturing again, build back better.
Things like that.
And so my biggest concern, I'm so glad
we're addressing this now is there are
going to be more situations like we see
in Tennessee, unless, you know, and I'll
dovetail that over to Thena unless we
all collectively pay attention and hold
people accountable and hold corporations.
The other thing about it, I look at like,
I live, I don't know, I'm a new Orleans
east resident and I talk a lot about.
The needs we have the unmet needs.
We have very recently Anthony Mackie,
it was announced that he's going to
be building a huge studio, right.
Five minutes from where I live, huge deal.
But when we, when you look at that, the
other thing that I have to look at, for me
as a new Orleans east resident, but also
like places like Mason, are you going to
ensure that this place is still living?
For the existing residents, because the
other thing that happens when we get these
economic benefits is the first people that
get pushed out are the marginalized people
that helped build this in the first place.
Will it still be livable?
Will it still be affordable?
What are the obligations there and
how will these corporations be?
What is the pay going to look like
for these residents that are you
going to make sure that as with this
added infrastructure, that's going to
come with this plant because as Kiana
brought out 6,000 jobs, town of 1500
people, there's absolutely a gap there.
So what are you going to do to ensure
that the people who have been working and,
doing their best to keep this town viable?
What are you doing to ensure that
this will still be livable for them?
This is the part, one of the
things, you know, every week
we typically have petitions.
And this is one of those cases where we
are called to action is for petitions
on this for the people of Tennessee,
or if this is happening in your town.
And we don't know because
I'll be very honest.
When I started digging into this
it's we know that this is not
just happening in one place.
Finding those places is very, I won't
say very difficult, but it's not as
easy as some other connections may be.
I'm inclined to believe that is to
a degree by design, because we're
talking about the people who get
lost in the cracks all the time.
We're talking about people who are not.
Of means, people who are
marginalized, people get ignored.
So this is one of those things where
if you are, whether it's an you're
a resident of Tennessee and you want
your representative to know how you
feel about this, how you feel about
what's being done to this town that's
that's chock full of black folks, or
another town that you are that's in
your state, or that you're aware of.
Tax resister 5 0 4 0 9, to get the ball
rolling on your petition, because this is
something that it needs all of our voices.
This is something that we'll need voices.
And if it's a matter of getting
the word out there, we would
love to have you on resist by.
That's why we're here.
That's why we're talking about this today.
And that is why we're here.
When I started digging.
I believe the hashtag, if you want
to follow more, if you're on Twitter,
the hashtag is stand with Mason.
So there are ways to find out what's
going on specifically in Mason, but
marginalized people being steamrolled
by whether it's the government or
corporations or whatever, that's not new.
So to the extent that we can help.
Bring awareness to that and make
sure that you that your employees,
I love to, to reiterate that your
officials work for you, make sure
that they hear what you think about
this that this is something that
should not, we shouldn't be silent on.
You just mentioned a really great
point when you said employees, because
I'm also thinking real employees of
large corporations, many of which,
who are employed by, marginalized
people, uh, have a voice internally.
And so maybe there's another
angle that we can look
Athena: I wanted to add to that.
I think at the end of the day with almost
all of our issues, that's accountability.
So if the stakeholders
of these corporations.
If the employees that institutions
would speak up, if voters speak up with
their elected officials, I think there
is a power in that organizing that I
feel if issues aren't brought up, then
there's lack of knowledge about it.
And these things can sort
of squeak on by and happen.
So I think as we can continue to think of.
Intersections where this happens
and with the corporations and local
governments, I think it's important
to make sure we're aware of it and
apply those pressures wherever we are.
And just to reminder, the, controller of
Tennessee, his name is Jason mum power.
Like we need to put names with this,
like who is, who are the faces of this?
And know, and, while he is not working
alone, he's not some lone Wolf.
He is the person who put his name on it.
So we should.
Remember that when we're discussing
or remembering who's done, what.
That's where we are and that
this has not been done before
we saw it in van Buren county.
We saw it in Jellicoe.
We saw it in Polk county, where there
were, when we're dealing with how
the difference when the town is say
95% white, as opposed to a town that
72% black, and frankly, Tennessee
doesn't have the credit for us to
say at chalk it up to coincidence.
If you want that type of benefit
of the doubt, be better people.
Athena: Not at 5 billion.
And Kiana brought up a very good point.
You didn't before any of these
decisions are made, there are scouting,
expeditions, community conversations.
There's a lot of resources that go
into making decisions like that for
like, you know, your local grocery
store Starbucks, these things happen.
So for a plant at this scale and size for
a corporation that's as global as Ford is
no, these, this research has been done.
These conversations have been, had
to think that it's a coincidence is.
I learned a phrase from Dr.
Roxanne gay this weekend.
That's a, it's a pity to have such limited
imagination if you honestly think that
that's the case that's happening here.
And so I think, yes, the call is
for us to call it out and help
more folks get involved in that.
Melanie: And again, we were dealing,
this is not a county, a town that started
struggling last year, 20 years, 20 years,
Jason manpower, and his president press
predecessors saw this town struggle.
But here we are now where there's
a benefit to them and it's
like, oh yeah, no, we're, we're
going to help these folks out.
Doesn't sound right.
It just sounds a little fishy.
Speaking of fishy, we're going to shift
a little bit with off, off topic news,
but just to close it out with good news,
New York has the first Amazon union.
Yes, here we are.
Melanie: It was one of those kind of
slow moving stories that could have
easily, you know, you remember, I,
I definitely remembered Amazon being
terrible and Amazon being terrible to
someone specifically and, and, and the
attempts to, to getting union together.
But then there was, Chris smalls who
is now the president of this union.
He's there because Amazon bet on basically
him not being able to get the job done
bet on them not being able to get the job
done and wanted him to be the face because
they decided he wasn't charismatic.
He wasn't articulate and they would
be able to just kind of steamroll
hands, speaking of steamrolling
and they were not able to.
So now we're dealing with the first
Amazon union and it's in New York city.
Lord, we got the new Yorkers, another
thing to brag over, but whatever
we'll take it, we'll take it.
Qiana: One good point.
And this is something you.
mentioned earlier and I think Athena did.
So a one fact is like one in five workers
in New York are represented by unions.
So labor is a big thing in New York.
And the second point is that
the power that happens when you
don't just have an ally, right.
But you have someone said
accomplice, I for the last several
years have been calling, that
type of person in one's life, a
co-conspirator someone who conspires
with you to be your highest self.
Did I joke the other day my Twitter
account turned into a Chris smalls
Stan account, but like someone
was conspiring with him right.
In concert with him to see this through.
And I think that's just an amazing example
of someone who sees The power that he had.
And didn't try to take it away from him.
Didn't try to put someone
they thought was better.
That was more poised or whatever it was.
But that just said he is
a voice of the people.
He was a worker, he stands
in unison with them.
And he is the best person
to to carry this through.
And I think that it was just a,
really, uh, highlighted a really great
example of what happens when your
allies become your accomplice, become
your co-conspirator in helping you.
And that is like, that was like,
for me, like truly defined as we
saw that, uh, at the end of this.
Melanie: And I think that's one of
the things I appreciate so much about
Chris smalls specifically, but just
it's something that I've noticed.
Particularly among people who fall on
my side of things or my, kind of more
aligned with my views and how we have
this need for all the boxes to be tick.
You have to be poised.
You have to have these letters.
You have to have this, these this
type of co-sign Chris smalls.
He was not that.
And we need to recognize the value of
that because there are a lot of people
who do not align with me, who saw that
and who know that even when the messaging
is rough, when a person is effective,
when a person is an effective speaker,
when they're an effective leader,
capitalize on that in as much as your.
Talk to the people, you talk
to the person or use the person
who can reach the people.
And he is someone who was
absolutely up to the task.
And I hope that's something that
more of us realize poise is great.
Being articulate is great, but that is
not always an indicator of effectiveness.
That's not always an
indicator of intelligence.
That's not always an indicator of ability.
And that's something that
we really, really need to.
Take to heart and consider how, when we're
looking for the people who represent us,
when we're looking for people to get the
job done, like, what are we looking for?
And are those things superficial?
Like how much of it is,
is of actual value us?
Qiana: Like how do you think about
who is up to task to do a job?
And if you've got A, a metric or a
scorecard by which you are so rigid, you
will miss out on Chris Smalls you will
absolutely miss out on Chris Moss who can
be as effective, but maybe not have fit
that rigid sort of, checkbox that sh that
you had set out for the last 10 years.
So it kept out the Chris malls
and the males and the Athenas and
the Kianna's and the Christmas.
Right because we didn't fit
some neat little checkbox.
Well, we could have actually done the job.
So it's really about like, how
do you get rid of that chat bots?
How do you open up and really
figure out like, what are the
skills that we need, right.
What's the impact that we want to make?
What is it that we need
in order to get X job?
And it probably isn't going to just
be in the form of a person who went
to Stanford, who has this type of
degree or anything, not to bash up
friends who went to Stanford, but like
literally it isn't all about just that.
And so I think that's a highlight is
not actually , a different direction.
It's like in a perfect example of
what do DNI initiatives need to do?
And that's one of those core things
in terms of systemic things that I
think need to be challenged, right?
How do you actually source talent and
whether or not your algorithms and
your systems actually, reject a bunch
of people that actually would do well
in those jobs, in those companies.
Athena: I wanted to add that.
The word that you brought up earlier,
community, I think really captures
what this is demonstrating because
we still have a lot of biases and
restrictions and thoughts about what a
leader could look like in the school.
So I think you're right, Chris, his
appointment and his success here
is bringing this to the forefront.
But what you were talking about
earlier, this idea of a co-conspirator
or an accomplished the group of
people around him facilitated
and supported this as well.
And it's just as important as that
having that, lightning rod, if you
will, of a leader to, to get you there.
But it's that community surrounding them
and that support, I think that will be
more lasting as leaders come and go.
So building that out is what the work
of a lot of these organizing groups do.
And I think I know resist bot.
Now, if you want to plug a little bit
about that, we're trying to build out our
community spaces too, because it's exactly
this idea that we're going to want.
We want this change.
We're going to have to build this change
together, but what will that look like?
It's a long.
And how can we yes.
And in the meantime, how can we work
on these systems that are in place
creating these check boxes of what
you should, and shouldn't look like
when you are in leadership roles?
Melanie: We won't all look the same.
We won't all sound the same.
We won't even have the same ideals.
I, one of the things I love about the
resist bot telegram group is that.
We don't all it's not an echo chamber.
It's not an echo chamber where we all
listen to, or like, agree with one thing.
How do you do that?
Recognize that there's still a larger
common goal and move forward with that.
I continue, and give the grace and space
because there will always be gaps, but
also I give the grace and space needed
when we're working alongside people.
Massive massive differences from our own.
So it's, it's really looking at what
community means and community does
not mean a bunch of people looking
and sounding and talking a lot.
That's a cult, that's a cult guys.
That's not, that's not
community, that's a coat.
Let's see, but a different one.
so that is that is where
we are before we go.
I I've thoroughly enjoyed
this conversation and the
time went way too fast.
But we'll start with you Kiana.
Can you tell folks where they can find you
and if you want to sh and whatever you'd
like to shout out, this is your time.
Qiana: I would love everyone
to follow me on Twitter.
I've got rent, really interesting
ideas and post a lot of food
pics of the things that I cook.
And so you can find me on Twitter.
Some work that I'm really passionate about
is the work that I do with pledge LA,
which is an initiative between the mayors.
Here in Los Angeles and the tech
and investing ecosystem, really
to push systemic changes within
equity and inclusion, so that the
face of our companies both in the
tech space and venture look like
those citizens of this region.
and it's an, uh, a great example
of a public private partnership
that I'm super proud of.
A part of, and the chair to really push
a lot of those initiatives forward.
definitely be on the lookout of all the
great work and really to amplify, not
just the work that we're doing here in
Los Angeles with pledge LA, but also to
really think about how can this initiative
be replicated and copied in other
regions because we truly believe it's.
That is worth replicating and we've
seen such great impact and economic
development because of that work.
So definitely be on the lookout
for more initiatives being
pushed out by our work at pledge.
Melanie: Thank you so much.
Can't wait to have you back.
This has been amazing.
So Athena can you shout out and
let people know where they can get.
Athena: sure I am on Twitter.
Find me it am filet there.
I get accused a lot of the times
focusing on some of the negatives,
but I agree the Amazon labor union
is a huge win this past week.
And the announcement that
title 41 will be overturned.
So the Biden administration is waking
up and realizing that that racist
closing of the Southern border and
inability for folks to claim asylum
down there has been overturned.
another victory that'll happen in may.
And so this week we're going
to have to count that as a w.
And I also forgot to mention that
there was finally an anti-lynching.
We finally, you know,
it's a hundred years.
so little wins there.
They're getting the point Dina
and Christine last but not least.
I am, always on the Twitters, but
we, ending this conversation, I'm
really motivated by it's the election.
That's starting to come my way
from people outreaching for
help with certain candidates.
So I've been keeping busy.
A lot of it may not be outwardly obvious,
but you know, where you'll find me
is where you'll find candidates that
I am looking forward to amplifying.
Across the country in key sectors.
And the reason I leave this show with all
of you inspired is because I hear a lot,
we hear a lot about election fatigue.
We hear a lot about this almost
certain outcome that people think
is coming our way in the midterms.
But to me, I'm sorry, I'm an
optimist, even though I sound
pessimistic sometime my realist
optimist, I don't subscribe to that.
And the examples of the Christmas.
The winds that we see in New York
is an example of speak for yourself.
I always say, right, if you feel
that there is fatigue and people are
tired and we can't win elections,
why don't you step out of the way?
So those of us who, as Kiana mentioned
today have been minoritized find our
power finder space and, you know,
mobilize with people who really do
feel like we can get things done.
So that's how it ended.
Melanie: Thank you.
And if for some reason you want to
follow me, you can find me on Twitter.
I'm at the gates of now the O is zero.
I'm talking about resist spot stuff.
I'm talking about pop culture stuff and.
Probably a lot of other
stuff, but it's great.
And so you should follow me.
So that wraps our show.
If you want to learn more about this or
other open letters, other opportunities
for you to get involved, go to resist that
bot you can learn about how to volunteer.
You can learn about how to donate.
And we would like to thank our
new monthly donors this week.
Sydney from Salem, New Hampshire,
uh, whose focus is LGBTQ plus issues.
Sydney Allen from Paley, Paoli,
Pennsylvania, Mike from El portal, Florida
and Stephanie from Fort worth, Texas.
Thank all of you.
Thank you so much for supporting
what we're able to do.
And can also, there is every week
we have a new blog post by Susan
Stotts and she's got a great article
this week about diversity equity
inclusion, and what's going on in Mason.
So you'll want to be on
the lookout for that.
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Thank you so much.
And we will see you next week.
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Thank you for listening.