Black Lives Matter Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Other News

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Black Lives Matter protestors

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The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. 

Kicking off Black History Month with some good news: a Norwegian lawmaker has nominated the Black Lives Matter movement for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination letter, the Socialist Left member of Norway’s parliament Peter Eide wrote that he chose the racial justice movement “for their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence. BLM’s call for systemic change have spread around the world, forcing other countries to grapple with racism within their own societies.”

The movement began after Trayvon Martin’s killer was acquitted, in 2013, and experienced a resurgence following George Floyd’s death in May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. “Awarding the Peace Prize to Black Lives Matter, as the global strongest force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity, and human rights,” Eide wrote, “and that all countries must respect those basic principles.”

The NGV Contemporary launches a design competition for its upcoming location in Melbourne.

The NGV Contemporary, Melbourne’s new contemporary art museum, launched a design competition last week for its new permanent location. The cornerstone of a $1.46 billion state government project to redevelop the city’s Southbank arts precinct, the project will be the biggest of its kind in Australia—it’ll feature more than 300,000 square feet of floor space and house the National Gallery of Victoria’s growing collection of contemporary art and design. The competition is only open to Australian firms, and at least one team member per entry must be based in Victoria.

This is an incredible opportunity for some architectural magnificence,” NGV director Tony Ellwood, who will be one of the competition’s judges, said in a statement. “It’s a project that’s about expressing great creative energy and civic pride. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t go with something that has a real signature to it, and will be regarded as one of the great architectural buildings in the country.”

Keep by Colgate

Colgate launches an aluminum toothbrush, Keep, that contains 80 percent less plastic. 

Last year, more than 495 million nonelectric toothbrushes were purchased in the United States. Most toothbrushes can’t be processed by municipal recycling centers thanks to the shape and mix of plastic used to make them, meaning they often end up in landfills or the ocean. Colgate, which sells 30 percent of the world’s toothbrushes, is combating this by launching Keep, a redesigned manual toothbrush that contains 80 percent less plastic. The handle is made from aluminum and features two replaceable plastic brush heads—one for deep cleaning, the other for whitening. While it remains to be seen if Colgate can convince consumers to switch to its less harmful alternative, Keep seems like a promising step toward a reality where cleaning your teeth doesn’t have to pollute the earth. 

On Valentine’s Day, indoor dining will reopen in New York City at 25 percent maximum capacity.

In mid-December, New York governor Andrew Cuomo banned indoor dining to combat a second wave of the coronavirus. Starting on February 14, however, New York City’s restaurants will be permitted to seat customers indoors at 25 percent maximum capacity. The announcement came as a beacon of hope for the beleaguered restaurant industry—a crucial driver of the city’s economy that has weathered extreme loss due to pandemic-induced restrictions. The restaurants and bars that haven’t permanently closed have stayed afloat largely due to takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining, which has become increasingly unsustainable amid frigid winter temperatures.

Some business owners, however, are bemoaning the lag time: “Restaurants in the city are ready to safely open now,” Andrew Rigie, director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, told the New York Times. “Unfortunately, once again, the state’s standards are being applied inequitably in the five boroughs without a transparent and data-driven system for further reopening the city’s restaurant economy.” 

Emmett Till’s childhood home in Chicago

Emmett Till’s former childhood home in Chicago has been declared a historic landmark.

Chicago’s City Council has declared the childhood home of Emmett Till, a Black 14-year-old who was brutally murdered in 1955 after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman, as a historic landmark. Till’s open-casket funeral, in which his mutilated body was seen by more than 100,000 people at the viewing and countless others thanks to widely published photographs, was once described as “the largest single civil rights demonstration in American history.” The late teenager’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, lived in a 2,400-square-foot Victorian house at 6247 S. St. Lawrence Avenue, in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, until 1962. Though it has fallen into disrepair in recent years, the building still stands not only as a monument to Emmett Till’s life, but to Till-Mobley’s lifelong advocacy efforts to improve the lives of Black Americans. Landmark status essentially means that Chicago commits to protecting the structure from demolition and any renovations that would alter its facade.

Blacks in Green, a local nonprofit, purchased the home last year and plans to turn it into a museum. “Achieving landmark status for the Till-Mobley House is an important step in recognizing that Black cultural heritage sites long overlooked by the city are a vital part of Chicago’s past, present, and future,” Naomi Davis, founder of Blacks in Green, told the Chicago Sun-Times

ASOS purchases Arcadia Group’s brand lineup, which includes Topshop and Topman.

On Monday, the fashion e-commerce platform ASOS confirmed that it would purchase Arcadia Group’s brand lineup, which includes the millennial favorites Topshop and Topman. The acquisition reportedly cost ASOS around $404 million, with an additional $41 million paid for Arcadia Group’s stocks. “The acquisition of these iconic British brands is a hugely exciting moment for ASOS and our customers, and will help accelerate our multi-brand platform strategy,” Nick Beighton, ASOS’s chief executive, said in a statement. He further told the BBC that it’s a stepping stone in the brand’s long-term plan to become “the number-one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings throughout the world.”

The acquisition follows a turbulent period for Arcadia Group: In May 2019, Topshop closed all of its U.S. stores, and weathered criticism one year later for canceling more than $137 million worth of clothing orders, leaving thousands of garment workers without income during the pandemic. The deal will be completed on February 4. 

Pinghe Bibliotheater by Open Architecture

Today’s attractive distractions:

Peter Saville creates art-inspired graphics for Uniqlo’s Louvre collection.

Open Architecture completes a library that resembles a giant blue whale.

Scores of social media influences are departing Los Angeles for Texas.

A new pavilion on Sydney’s harbor will be built from recycled oyster shells.

All Stories