Facebook Supports Climate and Clean Energy Provisions in the Budget Reconciliation Bill

MENLO PARK, CA—As elevated by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, science shows that the next decade will be the defining period for dramatic emissions reductions to limit the worst impacts of climate change. Facebook recognizes the urgency of climate change and is committed to help tackle this global challenge. Earlier this year Facebook announced that our global operations are supported by 100% renewable energy and reached net zero emissions, completing the goal set in 2018. Facebook already set a new goal that in 2030, we will reach net zero emissions across not only our own operations, but also our value chain. However, the work is far from over and it is acknowledged that responsibility to help influence policy and technology will not only impact the carbon footprint of Facebook’s business, but of the global community.

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Facebook supports the United States’ goal to curb emissions as set out by the Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. Strong, forward-thinking domestic policies that prioritize economy-wide climate and clean electricity solutions are crucial to achieving this goal. Action from both the private and public sector is needed to drive change. 

Facebook appreciates the tireless effort by members of Congress to pass meaningful legislation that will enable the US to meet its global commitment. Facebook urges Congress to ensure that strong climate and clean energy provisions are passed — including those provisions currently included in the budget reconciliation bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Facebook supports legislation that encourages investment into climate and clean energy to ensure that the US continues to innovate and sets our country up for success over the next decade. Federal policy must be enacted to make good on the Paris Agreement. Future generations are counting on it.

— Source: Nick Clegg, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs


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P&G Aims to Improve Portrayal of “Black Life” on Screen, Expands Inclusion Efforts for Black Creators

CINCINNATI—The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) today announced the creation of an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries. Titled “Widen The Screen,” it will include new films and initiatives that feature more diverse storytellers, combat bias against all people fueled by misrepresentation, increase investment in Black-owned and operated media and employ more diverse creators in a way that improves their trajectory for long-term success.

The anthem film “Widen The Screen” premiered during the 2021 NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, March 27 with a call to action to portray a more holistic view of Black life – one that is layered, beautiful and dynamic – not one that simply reinforces commonly told stereotypes. The film, created and produced by a team of largely Black creators in collaboration with Grey, and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali, ends with the line “Let’s widen the screen to widen our view” and challenges the expectations viewers have about the characters and stories often played by Black actors – fueled by a limited view of Black Life on screen.

The film and additional content at www.pg.com/widenthescreen helps people learn about how disparities in representation behind the camera lead to misrepresentation of people and communities that fuel bias in real life.

“While we’ve made equality a top priority within P&G and worked with other companies to do the same, we recognize that is just not enough. We have to address the systemic inequalities that exist in our industry, and that’s why ‘Widen The Screen’ is a critically important initiative, not just for P&G, but for the industry,” said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble. “In stepping up and leveling the playing field for Black creators, we will enable change that will benefit all under-represented groups and result in higher quality, more relevant film, television and advertising content that deepens our appreciation of the richness of our society.”

“It is my hope, through this campaign, to encourage image makers to reveal the fullness of who we are as Black people. We don’t have to be ‘exceptional’ to be respected and valued. Our humanity isn’t dependent upon us being doctors, lawyers, engineers, or famous,” said Kevin Wilson, Jr., Director, Widen the Screen. “Yes, we are those things, but we also take up many spaces in this world and the love we share should be depicted as well. We are more than the brutality we often see in our depictions in television and film. We are the joy we experience with loved ones and the passion we have for one another.”

Widen The Screen is a significant expansion of prior P&G efforts aimed at increasing inclusion and representation of people of color in the advertising industry. Building on this success, Widen the Screen will provide even greater access and opportunity to break into an industry notorious for being difficult to enter, with an immediate focus on Black creators, and runway for future expansion.

Queen Collective, P&G’s signature multicultural talent development initiative returns for its third year in 2021. A partnership with Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Tribeca Studios, this effort accelerates gender and racial equality behind the camera by opening doors to the next generation of up-and-coming Black women directors through mentorship, production support, and distribution opportunities. Two films were produced in each 2019 and 2020, and P&G is doubling production in 2021, greenlighting four documentary-style productions for women filmmakers.

This summer, P&G is increasing creative output for Black creatives and filmmakers in partnership with UNINTERRUPTED and SATURDAY MORNING, Black-owned creative and production partners, to help the world see their passion, potential and power – and to tell previously untold stories. P&G and UNINTERRUPTED, an athlete empowerment brand within The SpringHill Company built by LeBron James and Maverick Carter with the mission of empowering greatness in every individual, are collaborating on a project that will take viewers on a journey of a father and his son using the power of imagination to explore a range of opportunities beyond athletics. The film and associated community programs are intended to show young Black men that they can follow and achieve their dreams outside of sports, which aligns with UNINTERRUPTED’s “More Than An Athlete” mantra. P&G’s partner for “The Look,” SATURDAY MORNING is a creative agency that brings awareness to and shifts perceptions on racial bias and injustice. With SATURDAY MORNING, Tribeca and dozens of black creatives, P&G is creating scripted stories told in 8 minutes and 46 seconds to tell life-affirming stories of joy, love, and resilience.

P&G also announced support for efforts to increase the number of Black creators entering the industry through programs like the Marcus Graham Project and the One Club for Creativity’s One School Initiative; continued support of critical talent development initiatives like ADCOLOR; and increasing investment in a broad range of Black Owned and Operated companies and media platforms. Widen The Screen also includes important collaborations with a variety of majority-owned advertising agencies and partners, as they too strengthen their efforts to ensure increased representation and inclusion.

“True inclusion leads to greater creativity and innovation, provides access to opportunity, and leads to equity in income and wealth creation. Our hope is that we will create a ripple effect and the rest of the industry will follow suit,” Pritchard added.

Source and photo: Procter & Gamble/Business Wire


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CyberEarth21 A BDPA Virtual Earth Day Tech Summit April 22-24, 2021

Call for “SMART City” presenters or panelists on or before April 10th, 2021. Email us at → events@bdpadc.org or visit → https://www.bdpadc.org/cyberearth/

Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Investigation Reveals Digital Economy Highly Concentrated, Impacted By Monopoly Power

WASHINGTON—The House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee released the findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, especially the challenges presented by the dominance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their business practices.

The report, entitled Investigation of Competition in the Digital Marketplace: Majority Staff Report and Recommendations, totals more than 400 pages, marking the culmination of an investigation that included seven congressional hearings, the production of nearly 1.3 million internal documents and communications, submissions from 38 antitrust experts, and interviews with more than 240 market participants, former employees of the investigated platforms, and other individuals. The full report may be downloaded by clicking here.

“As they exist today, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook each possess significant market power over large swaths of our economy. In recent years, each company has expanded and exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive ways,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) in a joint statement. “Our investigation leaves no doubt that there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation, and safeguards our democracy. This Report outlines a roadmap for achieving that goal.”

After outlining the challenges presented due to the market domination of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, the report walks through a series of possible remedies to (1) restore competition in the digital economy, (2) strengthen the antitrust laws, and (3) reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.

The slate of recommendations include:

  • Structural separations to prohibit platforms from operating in lines of business that depend on or interoperate with the platform;
  • Prohibiting platforms from engaging in self-preferencing;
  • Requiring platforms to make its services compatible with competing networks to allow for interoperability and data portability;
  • Mandating that platforms provide due process before taking action against market participants;
  • Establishing a standard to proscribe strategic acquisitions that reduce competition;
  • Improvements to the Clayton Act, the Sherman Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act, to bring these laws into line with the challenges of the digital economy;
  • Eliminating anticompetitive forced arbitration clauses;
  • Strengthening the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;
  • And promoting greater transparency and democratization of the antitrust agencies.

“After conducting this country’s first major congressional antitrust investigation in decades in which we held hearings, heard from experts and questioned the CEOs of dominant tech platforms, I can say conclusively that self-regulation by Big Tech comes at the expense of our communities, small businesses, consumers, the free press and innovation,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “By reasserting the power of Congress, we now have a thoroughly researched and meticulously reasoned roadmap for the work ahead as we rein in anti-competitive behavior, help prevent monopolistic practices and allow innovation to thrive. I’m looking forward to continuing this urgent work.”

“This comprehensive report is a roadmap to a future where digital behemoths with considerable power over their markets are kept accountable to consumers, small businesses, and their workers,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “By following these recommendations, we can bolster antitrust protections to ensure consumer choice, data privacy, and affordability in online marketplaces. But in doing so, we must also answer the overarching question that we’ve been grappling with: How do we remain a country where small businesses can thrive, even as we shift from brick and mortar to lines of code? That is our challenge now.”

Rep. Val Demings added, “Our investigation revealed an alarming pattern of business practices that degrade competition and stifle innovation. These companies have made remarkable advancements that have shaped our markets and our culture, but their anticompetitive acts have come at a cost for consumers and small businesses. Competition must reward the best idea, not the biggest corporate account. We will take steps necessary to hold rulebreakers accountable. I thank Chairman Cicilline for his leadership, and will continue to work for a fair marketplace and a tech industry that can advance quality of life for every person without undermining it for others.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they must be able to compete on a level playing field,” said Rep. Lucy McBath. “We must do all we can to ensure our economy remains fair, our entrepreneurs have the incentive to innovate, and our small businesses are given the opportunity to prosper and create new and good-paying jobs.”

“This investigation has revealed that Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were committed to drowning out competition through unfair and anti-competitive practices – often doing so at the expense of user privacy and innovation,” said Rep. Scanlon. “We must do everything we can to protect consumers and this report is a roadmap to the work that lies ahead. I look forward to developing and introducing legislation to restore fairness to the digital marketplace.”

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IBM Establishes First Quantum Education and Research Initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

ARMONK, NY―This week, IBM announced its first IBM Quantum education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), aimed at driving a diverse and inclusive quantum workforce. Led by Howard University and 12 additional HBCUs, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will offer access to its quantum computers, as well as collaboration on academic, education, and community outreach programs.

In addition, as part of the company’s continued efforts around diversity and inclusion, IBM will make a $100M investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development through partnerships with additional HBCUs through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative.

Driving Diversity and Inclusion in Quantum Computing 

“We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs. Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud and artificial intelligence,” said Carla Grant Pickens, Chief Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, IBM.

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The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. It will emphasize the power of community and focus on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy, and special projects.

“Diversity is a source of competitive advantage, essential to create a thriving quantum industry,” said Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research. “We could not be more excited about partnering with our HBCU colleagues to help educate and empower the first generation of quantum computing native students and researchers.”

The 13 HBCUs intending to participate in the Quantum Center were prioritized based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields. They include: Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Coppin State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Southern University, Texas Southern University, University of the Virgin Islands, Virginia Union University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. 

“Howard University has prioritized our efforts to support our students’ pathway to STEM fields for many years with exciting results as we witness more and more graduates becoming researchers, scientists and engineers with renown national companies. Our faculty and students look forward to collaborating with our peer institutions through the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. We’re excited to share best practices and work together to prepare students to participate in a quantum-ready workforce,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA.

For more about the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center, read HBCU Center Driving Diversity and Inclusion in Quantum Computing.

Investing in Under-Represented Talent to Drive Innovation

As part of the Skills Academy Academic Initiative in Global University Programs, a multi-year program, IBM is donating more than $100M in assets, including university guests lectures, curriculum content, digital badges, software and faculty training to select HBCUs by the end of 2020. The IBM Skills Academy is a comprehensive, integrated program designed to create a foundation of diverse and high demand skill sets that directly correlate to what students will need in the workplace. The learning tracks address topics such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, design thinking and quantum computing.

The HBCUs who are part of the Skills Academy Academic  Initiative include: Clark Atlanta University, Fayetteville State University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Johnson C. Smith University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Southern University System, Stillman College, Virginia State and West Virginia State University. 

The response to combating systemic racism in the US must be timely, strategic and more than a statement of support. The response needs to be tangible action. IBM’s investment in HBCUs is part of the company’s efforts around social justice and racial equality by creating equitable, innovative experiences for HBCU students to acquire the necessary skills to unlock economic opportunity and prosperity.

To learn more about IBM’s 100 years of work on diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace, visit: https://www.ibm.com/employment/inclusion/

Source and photos: IBM

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The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

WASHINGTON — Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

irs-logoCertain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances.  For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

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Learn more about the benefits, limitations and expectations of tax-exempt organizations by attending 10 courses at the online Small to Mid-Size Tax Exempt Organization Workshop.

— Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

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Norton Releases Statement on Passing of Her Friend and Colleague, Civil Rights Leader Congressman John Lewis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who was a colleague of the late Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) first in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and then in the House of Representatives, issued a statement today on the passing of her friend.

john-lewis“John’s heroic courage came from principled conviction so deep that it led him to repeatedly risk his life to achieve equal treatment for all Americans. So searing was his example that John was elected chair of SNCC — not because he was strongest but because he was the bravest.

“John’s determination to “never give up or give in” was always leavened by his commitment to non-violence and love.

“In Congress, John Lewis brought the same combination of outspoken opposition on principled matters and reconciliation whenever it could be achieved.

“There will never be another like him.”

Source: Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Photos: Office of Congressman John Lewis

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Congressman John Robert Lewis, the iconic and legendary civil rights leader for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, died July 17, 2020. He was 80 years old and the last of the surviving 1963 ‘March on Washington‘ speakers.  bt

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