Mapping Black California
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SoCal Grantmakers Looks to Support Ethnic Media and Community News

MBC’s Strategic Communications Coordinator, Amber Bolden, joined a panel during the April SoCal Grantmakers Reimagine Multiracial Democracy Policy Conference. The session “Distrust and Disinformation: Combatting False Narratives through Ethnic and Community-Driven Media” included Capital and Maine Editor-in-Chief, Peter Hong, Power California Senior Associate Director, Saa'un Bell, and Inland Empire Community Foundation Director of Government Affairs, Julian Cuevas (facilitator). Panelists highlighted the role of ethnic media, community newsrooms, and diverse narratives. They also provided recommendations for the role of philanthropy in encouraging sustained models of support.  Amber shared, “I had the opportunity to represent MBC and Black Voice News. It was a privilege to share some of the strategies that worked for us while being reminded that we can’t do this alone. One of our goals at MBC is to provide scalable solutions that can be duplicated to help make sure everyone is included in the historical narrative and future solutions.”

California Economic Resilience Fund of Orange County Taps MBC as Data Consultant

The California Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) was designed to support sustainable and equitable recovery from COVID-19 for the state.  All 13 California regions will receive funding for planning and implementation. MBC was selected by Orange County to serve as the data and mapmaking consultants responsible for developing the data visualizations that inform the region’s planning process. Each region has a High Road Transition Collaborative (HRTC), which includes diverse industry and community interests. Member of the Orange County HRTC and Orange County Business Council Chief Economic Advisor, Dr. Wallace Walrod said, “MBC understands the power of GIS from deep technical [and] practical [standpoints], which is rare and so important for the kind of inclusive, community-focused project that Orange County’s CERF initiative aspires to be.” MBC is developing four interactive maps targeting the following: disinvested communities, equity inclusiveness, COVID recovery, and sustainability/environmental justice.

Black Equity Fund Learning Grant Awarded to MBC

MBC received a $20,000 Learning Grant from the Inland Empire Black Equity Fund.  This grant will help advance MBC’s community stakeholder engagement efforts by addressing racially biased gaps in data through the creation and dissemination of easily digestible and accessible visualizations. The purpose of this work is to address root causes of racism as a public health crisis while identifying solutions moving declarations from paper to action. Target areas include, but are not limited to, birth equity, reproductive justice, mental health, social determinants of health and factors contributing to COVID-19 disparities. Grants are managed and disbursed through support provided by the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The Fund provides support for power-building and systems change efforts in established and emerging organizations. MBC is excited to use the grant to continue its work to advance health equity by increasing access to data on Black Californians.

New Member Joins MBC Team

Shakeara Mingo is the newest member of the MBC team, bringing with her years of GIS and community planning experience. Before joining MBC, Shakeara held GIS analyst positions with the Washington D.C. Housing Authority and Aegis Mobile. She is a community organizer and founder of Focused Vision Consulting, an organization that provides solution-based strategies to support entities that assist low to moderate-income and minority communities. She has experience using GIS to track historical changes in black communities. “Culturally, it is a match made in heaven.  As a Black woman mapmaker working with other Black women mapmakers it's a dream come true,” she said.  Shakeara earned her B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland College Park and her master’s degree in City/Urban regional planning from Georgetown University.

MBC Local Media Innovation Alliance Report

MBC’s Program Director, Candice Mays served as a contributor to the 2023 Local Media Innovation Alliance Report. The report titled “Here Come the Machines: AI for local news”  focused on the potential implications and implementation options for integrating artificial intelligence into local news. In her section, Candice highlights the opportunities that artificial intelligence offers community newsrooms while cautioning users to exercise thoughtful implementation. She highlights one potential use for AI in community newsrooms includes using bots to generate social media posts and promote stories, freeing up reporters to research and write original content. At the same time, she explains “Humans are the experts and AI is just a tool humans use to facilitate their work.” She encourages users to consider the stakeholders and impacted populations in the application of AI tools.

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