Announcements! NewU Start Up Funding; NY Rally in Support of Diallo

NewU Diversity in Media Start Up Camp!

We are looking for talented media entrepreneurs to participate in a start-up camp and pitch slam! The benefit: Four people will walk away with $10,000 for their idea – and did I mention, it’s going to be in Vegas? The catch: You have to be a member of one of the UNITY organizations.(But there’s still time to pitch and join!)

The New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY is a competitive program for journalists of color who want to become entrepreneurs. It supports and helps grow the creative ideas of participants through a national “startup camp”. In addition to offering a unique formula based in training and one-on-one mentoring, the program includes a competition for start-up funding to assist media entrepreneurs in realizing their ideas.

Since its inception in 2010, a total of 16 fellows, members of AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ and NAJA, have learned about entrepreneurship and had an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a carefully-selected group of mentors, panelists and guest financial experts. In fall 2010, the participants’ video pitches were voted on by their industry peers, and 4 of the 16 participants– one from each of UNITY’s alliance partner organizations – each won $5,000 in seed money to further their entrepreneurial ideas.

In 2011, The New U project will offer one group training start-up camp for 20 selected fellows in Las Vegas that will convene October 17-19 of 2011. New U’s leadership team and returning mentors remain committed to its mission of increasing the number of innovative thinkers and product developers who are of color, providing them with a forum in which to develop and express innovative ideas. Participants’ travel expenses are covered through the grant, as is the cost of the program, and award grants for 2011 will increase to $10,000 per winner, of which there will be four.

Go here to review application process and apply for the 2011 New U Fellowship.

Deadline is NEXT WEEK: August 26th. So apply. Even if you just have an idea, looking at the form will help you flesh it out – and it may be a stronger idea than you think!

Also, some disclosures: Doug is a good friend of mine, and I am also participating in this camp as a presenter. (The panel I will present to the fellows has a working title of “Things I Wish I Had Known Before Trying to Launch a Business.”)

New York Council Member Letitia James is looking for protestors and speakers for a rally in support of Nafissatou Diallo.

Elected Officials and Women’s Advocacy Organizations Hold Press Conference In Support Of Nafissatou Diallo

Request Continuation of Manhattan Criminal Case; Demand Public Scrutiny of Victim Cease

New York, NY— On May 14, 2011, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged with the sexual assault of 32-year-old Nafissatou Diallo, a Guinean housekeeper at the Sofitel New York Hotel in New York City.

By May 19, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on seven criminal counts, two of which are first-degree criminal sexual acts. His bail was set at $1M, with additional 24-hour home detention and an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. After Mr. Strauss-Kahn turned over his passport and posted an additional $5M bail bond, he was placed under house arrest in Manhattan. On July 1, a special hearing was called in which Manhattan District Attorney prosecutors cited credibility issues in regards to Ms. Diallo’s background, and released Ms. Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance. He was arraigned on June 6, and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

As these events have unfolded, media outlets have used alleged sources from the Manhattan DA’s office to imply that the criminal case against Mr. Strauss-Kahn was unstable. These same alleged sources have been used to paint Ms. Diallo as a prostitute and a con artist, as well as accuse her of lying in her application for asylum in the United States, and for describing a false gang rape in Guinea.

Following Ms. Diallo’s accusations against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French writer also filed rape charges accusing Mr. Strauss-Kahn. In fact, the writer’s mother, who previously had a consensual relationship with Mr. Strauss-Kahn, described him as “a predator who isn’t looking to please, but to take.” A French newspaper later published claims that Mr. Strauss-Kahn harassed female flight attendants of Air France to such a degree that the airline instituted a policy of placing male attendants on his flights.

Public scrutiny of women who accuse men of rape is itself a manifestation of misogyny. In this particular case, the fact that the accused is wealthy, politically connected, and white; while the accuser is poor, non-white, and immigrant suggests that there are other social factors at play. The public “leaking” of confidential information regarding the criminal case (if these alleged sources are legitimate) directly interferes with the ongoing criminal case, and is unfair to all involved.

GOALS– Urge the Manhattan DA to look at the facts of the case, as well as the Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s history of conduct. Cease leaking of information pertaining to the case. Take into STRONG consideration Ms. Diallo’s medical report which includes testimony consistent with what the accuser told police, and which lists the cause of injuries as “rape”.

On August 16, medical reports which are consistent with Ms. Diallo’s testimony to police, and which lists the cause of injury as “rape”, were leaked. Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys allege that the report is “misleading and deceitful”.

WHEN: August 18, 2011

5:00PM- 7:00PM

WHERE: the steps of City Hall

Interested? Contact (212) 788-7081.