We launched Capital B in January with a mission to produce high-quality journalism that centers Black voices and helps our readers live more informed lives. With national reporters located around the country and our first local newsroom in Atlanta, our teams reported from communities that mainstream news bypassed and unveiled important stories that others overlooked.
Capital B is still in its first year, but already, we are pushing Black experiences into public conversation and helping our communities get the factual and functional information they need to thrive. When the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leaked this spring, we explained why abortion is a Black issue and the nuanced position it holds in Black churches. When government officials adopted harmful policies, we held them accountable for perpetuating disparities for Black farmers and unhoused communities.
In Atlanta, we told the stories of Black residents who fought to protect their neighborhoods from the encroachment of the “Cop City” police training facility and the city government’s eminent domain effort in Peoplestown. We talked to the pivotal voters in Georgia’s historic Senate race and helped Black Georgians maximize their tax refund through Gov. Brian Kemp’s tax surplus rebate plan.
In case you missed them, here are some of Capital B’s biggest stories of 2022.
The early days of the monkeypox — now mpox — outbreak looked strikingly similar to the first months of COVID: Public health officials and mainstream news coverage took a largely race-neutral approach to informing the public. But Atlanta health reporter Kenya Hunter looked at the numbers and saw a disturbing disparity: More than 80% of the monkeypox cases in Georgia were Black men. Public health officials changed their tune in the weeks that followed, and implemented targeted campaigns to provide vaccines and information to Black LGBTQ communities.
The crises in Buffalo and Jackson
When a racist gunman traveled to Buffalo, New York, and killed 10 people in a grocery store, we knew the tragedy hadn’t actually started on that fateful day in May. Capital B reporters spent days talking to longtime residents of Buffalo’s historic Black neighborhood and told the story of a community that had experienced generations of neglect. For years, they had been fighting the fallout of redlining, lead poisoning and mass incarceration, making the community a soft target for violent hate. Months later, we took the same tactic in Jackson, Mississippi, sitting down with residents who told us that the city’s water crisis was nothing new, but rather a decades-old injustice. While mainstream news covered the story of the moment, Capital B revealed these events for what they were: products of systemic oppression and evidence of how racism has become a public health crisis.
‘White Lives Matter’
The rapper formerly known as Kanye West’s descent from an exalted, lyrical truth-teller to a disgraced purveyor of antisemitism has been chronicled in headlines for years. When the artist, who has legally changed his name to Ye, was seen sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “White Lives Matter” this fall, it marked a new low. But we found a couple of folks were a step ahead of him. Reporter Adam Mahoney spoke to a radio show host who had acquired the trademark for “White Lives Matter,” handed to him by a fan who wanted to ensure the racist phrase couldn’t be used for profit at the expense of Black people. “The purpose was to make sure that other people didn’t get rich off of that pain,” DJ Ramses Ja told us.
When Hurricane Ian struck Florida’s Gulf Coast in September, news cameras and government aid workers rushed to the barrier islands and coastline properties where homes and businesses had flooded. But Capital B reporter Margo Snipe went further inland to the middle class Black neighborhood of Dunbar, where residents were largely left to repair damaged roofs and destroyed streets on their own. “They ain’t coming for us,” one resident told us of the federal aid workers. After Capital B’s story was published, a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson tweeted that the agency would be sending resources to the distressed neighborhood.
This summer, the horrific shootings in a Texas elementary school and the Buffalo, New York, grocery store reignited demands to address the nation’s gun violence epidemic. Fears about school shootings took center stage, but there was a more common tragedy that never came up: drive-by shootings. We put a spotlight on these incidents that have plagued Black and brown communities for generations, as national criminal justice reporter Christina Carrega wrote, claiming four times as many casualties as school mass shootings by midyear.