Black Birders Week takes flight
It’s Friday, June 5, and #BlackBirdersWeek has been a soaring success.
This week, black birders around the country flocked to the internet for the first-ever Black Birders Week — an online movement to highlight and uplift black birders changing the public face of a stereotypically white pastime.
Since Amy Cooper’s racist 911 call on black birder Christian Cooper went viral in late May — a video of the exchange has now been viewed more than 44 million times — the internet has exploded with support for black nature lovers. @BlackAFinSTEM, a grassroots group of black science and tech professionals, quickly responded to the video by organizing a series of virtual events they called Black Birders Week. Using hashtags like #BlackInNature and #BirdingWhileBlack, the group has hosted a week of hashtag games, Q&As, and virtual live streams meant to celebrate the outdoors and affirm black people’s right to enjoy nature without fear of violence or discrimination.
The series has been overwhelmingly popular. “We definitely didn’t expect that there would be this level of response,” said Chelsea Connor, one of the movement’s co-founders.* “I’ve been in tears on and off since we started.”
The Trump administration continues to prioritize dismantling environmental protections in the middle of national protests over racist policing and a public health crisis. On Thursday the president signed an executive order to waive environmental reviews for infrastructure projects in order to speed them up, and the EPA put forward a new rule that would weaken pollution controls under the Clean Air Act.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially started on Monday, and it’s ramping up fast. The third named storm of the season, Cristobal, is heading toward the Gulf Coast and is expected to make landfall on Sunday. Last year, the third named storm of the season did not arrive until August 20.
A new analysis by Media Matters for America found that across three years of hurricane coverage, major TV networks failed to report on the disproportionate impacts storms had on poor communities and communities of color. Zero out of 669 broadcast evening news segments reported on marginalized communities’ struggles to evacuate or get disaster aid, or their exposure to pollution during flooding.