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Rashad Robinson on How Everyone Wins When Black People Do

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When “Black people win, all people win,” Rashad Robinson says. The president and executive director of Color of Change, the country’s largest online social justice organization, Robinson expounds on how the organization works “to hold institutions accountable to create a more human and a more just world for Black people.”

Color of Change has done that recently by taking on Facebook, a behemoth of an institution with so much influence that its misuse helped carve a path for Donald Trump.

“It’s about holding powerful institutions accountable and forcing them to do things that they don’t want to do,” Robinson says.

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The organization has been key along with the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and Free Press in spearheading the #StopHateForProfit campaign imploring businesses to pause advertising on Facebook to push the social media giant to put an end to misinformation and hate across its platforms.

“What we’ve been doing at Facebook over the last several years is trying to force real systemic changes in how the platform engages while also trying to build the energy and focus so that when we have the political power in Washington wecan create new rules of theroad for technology that areactually written in the age of technology,” Robinson says. “Because so many of the rules that Facebook relies on were written before social media platforms existed.”

“When I think about Facebook, I think about a platform that has 2.6 billion users — that’s more followers than Christianity — that has a founder that is chairman and CEO and had 60 percent of the shares,” Robinson says. “Facebook likes to think of themselves as a public square, but a private person shouldn’t own and operate a public square. How Facebook operates the platform day in and day out is weaponized against our communities.”

Before his work with Color of Change, Robinson was senior director of media programs at GLAAD. He has been profiled and recognized in the Ebony Power 100, The Root100, and Crain’s New York Business “40 under 40” and has received awards from ADCOLOR, the United Church of Christ, and the MartinLuther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation.

Regarding the 2020 presidential election, Robinson says he’s “feeling focused and determined” in calling for justice and holding the people in office accountable.

“To think that voting is some pathway to liberation and not a piece of the work we have to do would be a mistake. Right?” he says. “For Black folks, and for Black queer folks, we should be thinking about this next election as just a continuation of how do we translate our presence, our visibility, our sort of the shout-outs from the stage that we get, the hashtags that we’ll use to talk about us. How do we use all of that and translate that presence into power?” 

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