The Masters Class with Artist Frank Kelley | SPMG Media

Master’s Class with Artist Frank Kelley, Jr.

Jul 13, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

FKJ Art Gallery/Studio Online

Register Now –

Here’s what students are saying about Artist Frank Kelley Jr.’s Master’s Class
What a wonderful class for first time artists. He taught us how to develop our canvas with layering techniques that truly made it even more fabulous. Learning how to appreciate and love our work no matter what we did was very important in continuing your progress. Frank answered all our questions and explained the concepts very well, so online learning was easier and truly fun! I would do it all over again. If you’re even thinking about taking an art class, definitely go with Frank Kelley Jr.”

~Kathy Gardner

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donating $120 million to historically Black institutions

  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is committing a total of $120 million to institutions dedicated to the higher education of students of color.
  • Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin will donate $40 million to the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and the historically-Black Spelman College and Morehouse College.
  • The donation comes amid renewed calls for racial justice, after the killing of George Floyd and disproportionate Covid-19 cases in Black communities.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is committing a total of $120 million to institutions dedicated to the higher education of students of color.

Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin will donate $40 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the historically-Black universities Spelman College and Morehouse College.

The donation comes amid renewed calls for racial justice, after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody. The Black community has also been disproportionately sickened by the coronavirus, showing the gaping disparities in access to quality health care across minority communities.

“The amount of tragedy really did get us to focus and say, ‘let’s do something now that will be supportive of these great institutions and give people some sense of hope,'” Hastings told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “This moment is not the first time that racism has reared its, you know, terribly ugly head.”

“We want to help draw attention to the HCBUs (historically Black colleges and universities), to them being part of the solution for America, and for black children to aspire to,” he added.

According to Forbes, Hastings has a net worth around $4.8 billion, thanks primarily to his 1.3% stake in Netflix — the best-performing stock of the last decade. That’s helped him become a longtime donor in the education system. He’s given millions in funding to charter schools, and in 2016 started a $100 million philanthropic fund for kids’ education.

The Great Migration

The Great Migration was the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West from about 1916 to 1970. Driven from their homes by unsatisfactory economic opportunities and harsh segregationist laws, many blacks headed north, where they took advantage of the need for industrial workers that arose during the First World War. During the Great Migration, African Americans began to build a new place for themselves in public life, actively confronting racial prejudice as well as economic, political and social challenges to create a black urban culture that would exert enormous influence in the decades to come.

After the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, white supremacy was largely restored across the South in the 1870s, and the segregationist policies known as “Jim Crow” soon became the law of the land.

Southern blacks were forced to make their living working the land due to black codes and the sharecropping system, which offered little in the way of economic opportunity, especially after a boll weevil epidemic in 1898 caused massive crop damage across the South.

And while the Ku Klux Klan had been officially dissolved in 1869, the KKK continued underground after that, and intimidation, violence and even lynching of black southerners were not uncommon practices in the Jim Crow South.

The Great Migration Begins

When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, industrialized urban areas in the North, Midwest and West faced a shortage of industrial laborers, as the war put an end to the steady tide of European immigration to the United States.

With war production kicking into high gear, recruiters enticed African Americans to come north, to the dismay of white Southerners. Black newspapers—particularly the widely read Chicago Defender—published advertisements touting the opportunities available in the cities of the North and West, along with first-person accounts of success.

Great Migration: Life for Migrants in the City

By the end of 1919, some 1 million blacks had left the South, usually traveling by train, boat or bus; a smaller number had automobiles or even horse-drawn carts.

In the decade between 1910 and 1920, the black population of major Northern cities grew by large percentages, including New York (66 percent), Chicago (148 percent), Philadelphia (500 percent) and Detroit (611 percent).

Many new arrivals found jobs in factories, slaughterhouses and foundries, where working conditions were arduous and sometimes dangerous. Female migrants had a harder time finding work, spurring heated competition for domestic labor positions.

Aside from competition for employment, there was also competition for living space in increasingly crowded cities. While segregation was not legalized in the North (as it was in the South), racism and prejudice were nonetheless widespread.

After the U.S. Supreme Court declared racially based housing ordinances unconstitutional in 1917, some residential neighborhoods enacted covenants requiring white property owners to agree not to sell to blacks; these would remain legal until the Court struck them down in 1948.

Rising rents in segregated areas, plus a resurgence of KKK activity after 1915, worsened black and white relations across the country. The summer of 1919 began the greatest period of interracial strife in U.S. history at that time, including a disturbing wave of race riots.

The most serious was the Chicago Race Riot of 1919; it lasted 13 days and left 38 people dead, 537 injured and 1,000 black families without homes.

Impact of the Great Migration

As a result of housing tensions, many blacks ended up creating their own cities within big cities, fostering the growth of a new urban, African American culture. The most prominent example was Harlem in New York City, a formerly all-white neighborhood that by the 1920s housed some 200,000 African Americans.

The black experience during the Great Migration became an important theme in the artistic movement known first as the New Negro Movement and later as the Harlem Renaissance, which would have an enormous impact on the culture of the era.

The Great Migration also began a new era of increasing political activism among African Americans, who after being disenfranchised in the South found a new place for themselves in public life in the cities of the North and West. The civil rights movement directly benefited from this activism.

Black migration slowed considerably in the 1930s, when the country sank into the Great Depression, but picked up again with the coming of World War II and the need for wartime production. But returning black soldiers found that the GI Bill didn’t always promise the same postwar benefits for all.

By 1970, when the Great Migration ended, its demographic impact was unmistakable: Whereas in 1900, nine out of every 10 black Americans lived in the South, and three out of every four lived on farms, by 1970 the South was home to less than half of the country’s African-Americans, with only 25 percent living in the region’s rural areas. The Great Migration was famously captured in Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.

George Floyd funeral and memorial services: Here’s what to know

Three separate memorial services and a funeral service will take place today and in the coming days for George Floyd, the black man whose death in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 touched off a wave of protests around the world. Here’s what to know:


According to multiple reports, including by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the services will be held at the following times and places:

  • Minneapolis: Thursday, June 4, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. A private memorial will be held at the Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary at North Central University. The Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver a eulogy.
  • Raeford, North Carolina: Saturday, June 6. A public viewing and private service will be held here, according to a Facebook announcement by the Hoke County sheriff. Floyd was born in North Carolina before moving to Texas.
  • Houston: A public viewing will take place on Monday, June 8, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Fountain of Praise Church. The funeral will take place the following day, on Tuesday, June 9, at 11 a.m. According to KHOU, the funeral is expected to be a ticketed event. (We’ll update this post when we hear more.)


TV networks are planning to air today’s service. You can live-stream it on the NBC News YouTube channel or via the embedded video below:

On This Day in 1972, Angela Davis, a prominent voice of the Black Power era and the Black Feminist Movement

On This Day in 1972, Angela Davis, a prominent voice of the Black Power era and the Black Feminist Movement, was acquitted on all charges of conspiracy, murder, and kidnapping by an all-white jury.

Davis had been accused of supplying weapons to a man named Jonathan Jackson, who was killed in a shootout with the police on August 7th, 1970. That day, Jackson burst into a San Raphael, California courtroom to free inmates who were on trial and take hostages. Jackson had hoped to exchange the hostages for the freedom of his brother George, a black radical who was imprisoned at San Quentin Prison. Davis was indicted in the crime, and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Soon after the warrant was issued, Davis was added to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” Her arrest prompted the “Free Angela” movement to protest the criminal justice system. After being acquitted of all charges, Davis returned to teaching and writing. In 1980, she was the vice-presidential candidate of the U.S. Communist Party.

#APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory #HiddenHerstory

Man who filmed shooting of Ahmaud Arbery charged with murder

A third person has been charged in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said it arrested William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Bryan took the viral cellphone footage depicting the chase and killing of Arbery, 25, on Feb. 23 in Glynn County.

On May 7, Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with Arbery’s murder.

Bryan will be booked into the Glynn County Jail, GBI said. An initial police report noted Bryan tried unsuccessfully to block Arbery, who was jogging in the neighborhood when confronted.

The 28-second video showed Arbery jogging as Travis McMichael, 34, stood outside of a white pickup truck armed with a shotgun and Gregory McMichael, 64, a former police officer, stood in the truck’s open flatbed trunk holding a. 357 magnum.

The attorneys for Arbery’s mother and father said the family was “relieved” to learn of Bryan’s arrest.

“We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process. His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well,” the attorneys, S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, said in a statement.–abc-news-topstories.html

Artist Myshel Wilkins Releases ‘Rescue’ a 19-Country Tribute #IMASUPERHERO Movement

In tribute to the front line defenders of humanity in the face of COVID-19, Grammy-award winning artists collaborate to create ‘Rescue’ and begin #IMASUPERHERO Movement.

An idea to bring hope and light to an already dark situation turned into a movement across the world! The #IMASUPERHERO project is proving that acts of kindness are fighting back and making a difference.

Recording artist, Myshel Wilkins, not only gifted her song “Rescue” to the public but also created a unique music video incorporating videos of people in 19 states and 11 countries holding signs reading #IMASUPERHERO as well as videos of them serving those in need during this pandemic. The incredible response to its release showed how much this message of hope was needed and the importance of celebrating all the heroes putting themselves on the front lines every day.

This massive collaborative effort involves Grammy and Emmy award-winners and everyday superheroes like medical workers, police officers, delivery service drivers, parents, and so many more! And not just that, but the entirety of this amazing piece of art was captured on cell phones and post-production was coordinated through conference calls. Once again proving that no matter our circumstances, great things can be accomplished when we work together as one unified community.

Four talented artists combined their efforts to bring the “Rescue” music video to the world.

Recording artist and former “Miss National Black Hall of Fame,” MYSHEL”, uses her powerful voice to bring messages of truth and inspiration to crowds around the world . . . across the United States to Venezuela to France and to Uganda where she works alongside a non-profit to serve the abused and vulnerable. She sang back-up for American Idol winner, Mandisa as well as artists TobyMac, Don Moen, and R&B singer Tamia.

Grammy award-winner, MR. TALKBOX, produced and co-wrote the song “Rescue” with Myshel and continues to be featured on albums for artists’ like Bruno Mars, T Pain, Cardi B, Shelby 5, TobyMac & Diverse City, and many more . . . with his unique and well-branded sound on the talk box.

JESSICA AMBUEHL is one of the creative minds that brought the #IMASUPERHERO movement to life and produced the “Rescue” music video. She is a professional storyteller on both sides of the camera – as an actor with an extensive resume as well as behind the camera as producer, director, writer and casting director.

Although ALVARO ARO is known for his Emmy award-winning cinematography work, he donated his editing skills to help make this music video shine. His expansive and talented work behind the camera ranges from commercials to films to industrial videos . . . and is a true superhero as he served in the US Marine Corps from 2005-2013.

The pandemic has definitely created heartache nationwide, but this video proves it has also united all of us across the world in acts of kindness. Nineteen states and eleven countries are represented in this one video . . . fighting COVID-19 with infectious love!


Represented countries and states include STATES: Missouri, California, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Indiana.

COUNTRIES: Uganda, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Poland, Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Ghana, India, Nepal, and Tunisia.

“What I love about humanity is that, even when we feel life is at its darkest, light always seems to find a way to pierce through with illuminating hope!” says Myshel.


Requests for artist interviews and additional information can be sent to


What states are opening up, and when? Here’s an updated list after April 30 expiration of federal guidelines amid coronavirus crisis

Experts believe the United States has passed its first peak of coronavirus deaths, and state leaders are rolling out a patchwork of constantly evolving plans to relax social distancing restrictions, plans that often vary by region, state, county and even city at times.

For weeks, the White House targeted May 1 for the phased reopening of the country, and when the Trump administration’s “Stay at Home” guidelines quietly expired Thursday, the nation was left with a wide array of constantly-changing regulations, often adjusted by governors in response to various health data points.

President Donald Trump, eager to revive a once-booming economy upended by the coronavirus crisis, pushed a new set of suggestions designed to reopen the U.S. economy. The administration has pivoted to a three-phase plan that leaves the decision to states, creating an uneven strategy that some health experts warn could undermine the progress that has been made in stemming the spread of coronavirus.

At the height of stay-at-home restrictions in late March and early April, more than 310 million Americans were under various directives — some called shelter-in-place orders, others labeled stay-at-home orders. The mandates generally required people to avoid all nonessential outings and stay inside as much as possible.

Several states announced plans to coordinate their ongoing response with neighbors, although often governors have announced regulation changes at the state level, rather than as a coordinated regional change.

Here is how all 50 states – plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. – are making moves to roll back social distancing regulations. We will keep this file updated as measures are announced:


On April 28, Gov. Kay Ivey outlined her “Safer At Home” order, which went  into effect 5 p.m. April 30, immediately after Alabama’s stay-at-home order expired.

Alabamians filed onto beaches and into previously shuttered retail stores the order expired, although salons, on-site restaurant dining and other places remained closed under a new state health order.

Beach cams showed people strolling along the sand in Gulf Shores under the late afternoon sun as beaches opened for the first time in a month. Elective and non-emergency medical procedures are also being allowed to resume.

The new order allows all retail businesses to open at 50% of their occupancy levels and abide by social distancing and sanitation measures. Gatherings are restricted to fewer than 10 people and visitors must observe 6 feet of distance from each other.

Restaurants, bars and breweries will remain limited to take-out, curbside or delivery.

And night clubs, theaters, bowling alleys, gyms and fitness centers, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other close-contact service providers will remain closed. Churches will stay closed and are encouraged to provide drive-in or online services.

“Safer At Home” expires at 5 p.m. May 15.


On April 24, Alaska began allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service and for retail shops and other businesses to reopen, all with limitations, under an initial phase of a plan to restart parts of the economy.

Personal care services, like barbershops and nail and hair salons, were allowed to reopen April 27, as were restaurants. However, all are operating under strict guidelines intended to guard against spreading the virus.

Gatherings have been limited to 20 people, or 25% maximum capacity, whichever number is smaller and can now include guests from other households. Social distancing, however, must be obeyed.

Religious services must also follow the gathering guidelines.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy and health officials have issued a number of health orders as a part of the phased Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.

Anchorage, the state’s largest city, waited until April 27 to slowly begin reopening.


Gov. Doug Ducey on April 29 extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15, with some businesses reopening on a limited basis as early as May 4.

A week earlier, on April 22, Ducey had announced that hospitals and outpatient centers could resume elective surgeries on May 1.

Ducey said businesses will be able to resume in-person sales May 8, but only if they have certain safety protocols designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in place.


Gov. Asa Hutchinson said April 30 that gyms, fitness centers and indoor athletic facilities may reopen on May 4.

Such facilities will be required to screen both its staff and its patrons for COVID-19 when they reopen. Face masks will be required for staff and patrons except when actively exercising, hand sanitizer must be made readily available and all equipment must be sanitized after each use, the governor said.

Facilities will not be allowed to admit someone displaying possible COVID-19 symptoms like a fever, a cough or shortness of breath. Those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases will also be barred entry. Pools, spas, showers and saunas at gyms and similar facilities will remain closed until further notice.

Gym staff and patrons must observe 12-foot social distancing with no personal contact, Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson previously announced April 22 the state would begin lifting restrictions on elective medical procedures; that went into effect April 27.


Gov. Gavin Newsom has said some business sectors, such as retail and manufacturing, may be able to open within weeks if the state’s testing capability grows and case numbers slow. But other businesses such as hair salons will take longer. Large gatherings such as concerts still remain out of reach, he said.

On April 22, Newsom had said California was not prepared “to open up large sectors of our society” but made the first modification to the state’s stay-at-home order with the resumption of “essential” surgeries.

California schoolchildren could return to their classrooms as soon as late July, though likely with modifications, Newsom said in late April.

Following speculation that Newsom would shutdown all beaches in the state following overcrowding issues at some Southern California beaches, on April 30 Newsom announced a targeted closure of some Orange County area beaches. He praised the work of multiple local municipalities to increase access to the coast while keeping regulations in place to ensure social distancing.

Meanwhile, sparsely populated Modoc County, in California’s northeast corner, plans to reopen its schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county’s only movie theater on May 1, becoming the first county in the state to ease out of stay-at-home orders and flouting the governor’s mandate.


Getting a hair cut and shopping in person at retail stores were allowed again in much of Colorado starting May 1 as the state eases restrictions set up to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

However, stay-at-home orders remained in place for Denver and several surrounding counties, only essential businesses such as grocery, liquor and hardware stores open there.

One week before the state’s stay-at-home order lifted April 27, Gov. Jared Polis announced the next phase, called “safer at home”: The goal is for Coloradans to maintain 60%-65% social distancing, and vulnerable residents should continue to shelter in place.

Polis said the state will work with nonessential businesses on guidelines to phase in reopening beginning May 1. On May 4, nonessential business offices can reopen with half the usual staff to allow for social distancing.

Retail opened for curbside April 27; there will be phased-in opening for in-person operations beginning May 1.

Schools will remain closed, and bars and restaurants will not immediately reopen.

Colorado hospitals, dental offices, optometrists and other health care providers are set to start seeing patients for elective procedures again by early May.

On April 27, Colorado also joined California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada in the Western States Pact, a coalition that shares aligns reopening plans with other states in the region.


On April 10, Gov. Ned Lamont extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 20, and on April 30 announced that date is when the state is expected to start the first step in a gradual, multi-stage process of lifting restrictions on businesses and activities.


Reopening the state will happen in phases, according to an April 23 statement from Gov. John Carney. The state doesn’t want to fully reopen its economy yet because it wants to avoid a resurgence in new cases.

Reopening would start with certain sectors such as restaurants, gyms, theaters and churches, while still requiring social distancing in those places. Schools and bars would likely not be among the first to reopen, and people would still be asked to work remotely if they can.


Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will start reopening its parks on May 4 with some restrictions, saying the ability for Floridians to get outdoors will offer some “peace of mind.”

DeSantis said May 1 the opening of parks will cover all parts of the state, including the Southeast Florida counties that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus and are slated to open their businesses on a slower schedule than the rest of the state.

DeSantis said April 29 he is easing back on Florida’s month-long shutdown. The first phase will go into effect May 4, but will exclude Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach counties.

Elective surgeries can resume, restaurants can offer outdoor seating with six feet of social distance and indoor seating must be at 25% of normal capacity. Indoor retail businesses can operate at 25% indoor capacity. Bars and gyms would remain closed; schools will remain in distance learning. DeSantis has said he has no plans to reopen movie theaters.

DeSantis urged everyone to continue observing social distancing, avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people and wearing face masks in situations when physical distance is difficult to achieve. He also recommended that Florida’s most vulnerable population, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, remain sheltered in place.


Gov. Brian Kemp allowed his statewide shelter-in-place order to expire at midnight April 30 but extended his emergency powers to June 12 and telling the elderly and medically fragile to stay at home until then.

Social distancing requirements and bans on large gatherings remain in place.

Gyms, tattoo parlors, hair and nail salons, massage therapists were among businesses allowed to reopen in Georgia on April 24, less than a month after the state forced them to close amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person religious services resumed over the April 25-26 weekend, and restaurants and theaters reopened on April 27 with “specific social distancing and sanitation mandates.”


On April 25, Gov. David Ige announced that he would be extending the state’s stay-at-home directive and mandatory quarantine for travelers entering Hawaii through May 31.

Ige did say that beaches could be used to access oceans for outdoor water exercises like swimming and surfing and for “running, jogging, or walking on the beach, so long as social distancing requirements are maintained.”

The latest order indicates that elective surgeries can resume “as each facility determines to be appropriate.”


Gov. Brad Little allowed his five-week stay-at-home order to expire April 30. Idaho residents have been successful at reducing infections and deaths because of the coronavirus, Little said.

On May 1, the state enters the first of his four-stage plan to recover from the economic damage caused by the virus. Little said the process will take time, and advancing through the stages to return the state to near normalcy by the end of June will be based on declining infections and strong testing. The readiness of the health care system is another factor.


Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s modified stay-at-home order took effect May, 1; it allows small, safe worship services to resume.

Before his stay-at-home order was set to expire at the end of April, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced April 23 that he would be signing an extension that runs through May 30.

Under the new order, masks would be mandatory for all residents above the age of 2 in public spaces. State parks would begin to open, although social distancing measures must be obeyed. Retail stores not currently deemed essential will be allowed to fill orders for delivery or pick-up. And Illinoisans forced to postpone surgeries and medical tests will be able to begin rescheduling some of them.

But on April 27, a judge in southern Illinois ruled that Pritzker’s stay-at-home order exceeds his emergency authority and violates individual civil rights, according to the Associated Press.

Pritzker promised “swift” action to overturn the judge’s order, which applies only to Rep. Darren Bailey but allows other individuals and groups to challenge the order. Bailey won the initial restraining order April 27, and has asked a state appellate court to withdraw the order so that he may file a new complaint using additional information.


Gov. Eric Holcomb on May 1 announced the state’s plans for a 5-stage phased reopening, with the goal of having the state “back on track” by July 4. He cautioned that the plan is subject to change.

Stage 1 has been ongoing since mid-March. This phase included essential manufacturing, construction, infrastructure, government, business and other critical operations remaining open. Schools remained closed.

Stage 2 is set to begin on Monday, May 4 for most counties. In this stage, those 65 and older or high-risk should remain at home as much as possible and social gatherings can increase to 25 people. Restaurants can open at 50% capacity starting May 11. Essential travel restrictions will be lifted. Remaining manufacturers that were not considered essential will be able to open. Retail and commercial businesses will open at 50% capacity.

Holcomb on April 27 reopened routine care. That includes dental offices, abortion clinics, dermatology offices and veterinary clinics.


Gov. Kim Reynolds said April 27 that select businesses in 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties can resume operating, with limited capacity, starting May 1.

Those include restaurants, fitness centers and retail stores, which must obey 50% limitations on normal operating capacity. Social, community, recreational and leisure sporting events can open with limits to 10 people and spiritual and religious gatherings must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Malls can also open at 50% operating capacity but must keep play areas and other common seating areas, such as food courts, closed.

Reynolds also said on April 24 she would allow elective surgeries and farmers markets to open with some restrictions. She described it as a first step in a long process of reopening Iowa’s economy.


On April 30, Gov. Laura Kelly unveiled her framework for reopening the state by phasing out restrictions for businesses and social activities over the following six weeks while ramping up efforts for virus testing and tracing.

Kelly’s three-phase plan begins with the May 4 expiration of her statewide stay-at-home order.

Each phase would run a minimum of 14 days but could be extended by the state if the virus unexpectedly spreads. The second phase would kick in May 18 and the third on June 1. A more complete relaxation of the restrictions could take place on June 15. Under a new executive order, counties would be allowed to impose more stringent limits but couldn’t adopt less aggressive controls.

The state plans to recruit and train 400 new workers for a robust contact tracing program.


Gov. Andy Beshear laid out his first phase of a plan for re-opening several portions of Kentucky’s economy on April 29, saying places of worship will be able to hold in-person services and retail shops will be able to welcome customers in May.

In order to re-open, various businesses must follow public health guidelines set forth by industries and the state in its “Healthy at Work” initiative. These rules include enforcing social distancing, closing common areas and making masks universal for employees, among others.

Under phase one of the plan, manufacturing companies can re-open their doors on May 11, and horse racing can occur without fans. On May 20, places of worship can hold in-person services, and retail shops can welcome back customers. And on May 25, 10-person or less social gatherings can occur, and barbershops can re-open doors.

With the things that can reopen in May, Beshear said they represent “cautious steps that are going to be done with strict compliance.”


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an extension of his stay-at-home order through May 15 to stem the spread of coronavirus, warning the state will enforce the restrictions if some parishes allow businesses to reopen early.

Edwards’ new proclamation makes a few minor changes in his previous order that expired April 30.

It allows some outside dining at restaurants but no table service, outside church services with social distancing and curbside retail at malls otherwise closed, but most restrictions remain in place, including inside gatherings of 10 or more people.

Meanwhile, some Louisiana parishes are bucking the governor’s continued coronavirus order by letting churches and other establishments open their doors to more people May 1.

LaSalle Parish in central Louisiana and East Feliciana Parish near Baton Rouge both said churches and businesses may open at 25% of occupancy limits — a change Bel Edwards has said he hopes to make in mid-May. East Feliciana Parish also is reopening libraries and some other establishments.


On April 28, Gov. Janet Mills announced that she will extend a stay-at-home order through a modified order that went into effect May 1.

The first phase of reopening lifts restrictions lifted on the use of golf courses, visits to the dentist, barbers and hairdressers, and stay-in-your-vehicle religious services.

The order also allows certain outdoor recreational activities like hunting and fishing to resume.

Called “Stay Safer at Home,” the order will run through May 31.


Gov. Larry Hogan said April 24 that Maryland could be ready by early May to begin phase one of its three-phase recovery process.

Maryland isn’t ready to lift restrictions right now, but the governor said he’s optimistic.

  • Phase one: Lifting the stay-at-home order, reopening many small businesses and restarting low-risk community activities
  • Phase two: Allow for a larger number of businesses to reopen, including restaurants and bars, with significant safety precautions in place.
  • Phase three: Begin permitting larger events and lessening restrictions even further.

“If we try to rush this and if we don’t do it in a thoughtful and responsible way, it could cause a rebound of the virus, which could deepen the economic crisis, prolong the fiscal problems and slow our economic recovery,” Hogan said.


Gov. Charlie Baker announced April 28 that the state’s stay-at-home advisory would be extended until May 18.

“If we act too soon, we could risk a spike in infections that could force our state to revert to serious restrictions again,” Baker said. “This scenario would be far worse for our economy, and for our communities, and for our people.”

The order had been set to expire May 4. Starting May 6, everyone in the state must begin wearing masks or facial coverings while in public under an executive order signed by Baker.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on April 30 ordered theaters, restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms and other places of accommodation to remain shuttered until May 28; they remain limited to carry-out and delivery orders only.

The order also continues the closure, through May 28, of all “non-essential personal care services,” that require individuals to be within six feet of each other, including hair and nail salons, barber shops, and tanning, massage, spa, tattoo, and piercing services. The order does not apply to personal services that are medically necessary.

The executive order issued April 30 extends one set to expire and came as the governor also extended a state of emergency without approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature. The state of emergency was set to expire.



An April 30 executive order from Gov. Tim Walz extends Minnesota’s stay-at-home order to Sunday, May 17. Restaurants, bars and other public accommodations will remain closed until then.

However, effective May 4, more businesses will be able to start up again, provided they can meet certain requirements.

“We are moving retail businesses to reopen operations for curbside pickup and delivery,” Walz said April 30.

Previously, some businesses were able to reopen under an executive order signed April 23 by Walz.

The order allowed “industrial, manufacturing and office-based businesses that are not customer-facing to return to work,” with conditions, Department of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove said during a press conference.

Another executive order closed schools in Minnesota through the end of the school year.

And on April 17, Walz signed an executive order that reopened outdoor recreational businesses, including golf courses, bait shops, public and private marinas and outdoor shooting ranges. The order went into effect the following day and requires residents to adhere to social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Gov. Tate Reeves on April 24 issued a new executive order for Mississippians that he calls “Safer-at-Home,” which allows most retail stores to open with certain guidelines, but keeps other businesses closed.

“We are starting to reopen our economy,” he said. “But we are not slamming the door wide open. It’s not a light switch that you turn on and off. It’s a dimmer.”

The new order took effect at 8 a.m. April 27 and will remain in effect until May 11.

It allowed clothing, gift and other retail locations to open, but owners and managers must take precautions such as sending home sick employees, wearing masks in common areas, using proper sanitation procedures, providing hand sanitizer for customers and limiting the number of customers at any given time.

Reeves said the businesses that won’t be allowed to open are ones that generally involve close, interpersonal contact, such as movie theaters, museums, casinos, entertainment venues and gyms.


On April 27, Gov. Mike Parson announced the first phase of the “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan that will allow all Missouri businesses to open May 4, provided social distancing requirements are followed. Proper hygiene and handwashing are also encouraged.

“Opening these businesses is going to look very different for a while, but I’m confident Missourians will abide by the guidelines as we move forward,” Parson said.

For businesses of less than 10,000 square feet, a number of employees should be limited to 25% of the maximum capacity, while that figure drops to 10% for retailers of 10,000 square feet or more.

The state’s stay-at-home order expires May 3.


On April 22, Gov. Steve Bullock announced a phased reopening plan that allowed church services to resume April 26 and retail businesses on April 27 “if they can adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing.”

Restaurants, casinos, bars, breweries and distilleries can open May 4 with limited capacity. Schools will can return to “in-classroom teaching delivery at the discretion of local school boards” on May 7. Montana public schools are mostly not taking Bullock up on the offer to resume classes.


Gov. Pete Ricketts on April 29 announced plans to ease coronavirus restrictions in Lincoln and other parts of Nebraska, including some of the state’s least-populated counties, even though the number of confirmed cases has surged.

Ricketts said he will extend the state’s current public health restrictions in the Lincoln area through May 10, and will then relax them to match the less stringent rules that are set to go into effect in Omaha on May 4. The Lincoln-area restrictions were originally set to expire on May 6.

Nebraska’s current statewide restrictions prohibit restaurants from offering dine-in services and have forced the closure of salons and tattoo parlors. They also limited day care centers to allow no more than 10 children in one room.

The new rules will allow salons, tattoo parlors and restaurant dining rooms to reopen with limits on the number of people who can be present. Restaurant employees will have to wear masks, and dining groups will have to be seated at least 6 feet apart. Daycares will be allowed to have up to 15 children per room.

Nebraska is one of the handful of states without a formal stay-at-home order, although many of the restrictions Ricketts imposed are similar.


Many Nevada retail stores, small businesses and other “low-density open spaces” could reopen in mid-May or sooner, according to Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Sisolak unveiled the plan, dubbed “Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery,” April 30. Nevada remains in “phase zero” of that effort, Sisolak said, but is expected to move into a new phase around the same time his latest stay-at-home order expires on May 15.

Officials predict it will take two or three weeks to work through each of the plan’s phases. Sisolak said he wasn’t sure how many phases the plan would ultimately require.

Sisolak has said Nevada schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

On April 27, Nevada joined California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado in the Western States Pact, a coalition that shares aligns reopening plans with other states in the region.

New Hampshire

Gov. Chris Sununu on May 1 extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 31 while allowing the restricted reopening of restaurants, hair salons and other businesses throughout the month.

Hair salons, barber shops, retail stores and drive-in movie theaters also will be allowed to reopen May 11 with different requirements for the various industries. Retail stores, for example, will be limited to 50 percent capacity, and hair salons will not be allowed to offer services beyond basic haircuts and root touch-ups.

Restaurants, which are currently limited to takeout and delivery, will be allowed to offer outdoor dining starting May 18.

Hospitals, which had largely been restricted to treating COVID-19 patients and emergencies, can start performing time-sensitive procedures such as CT scans and knee and hip replacements for chronic pain starting May 4.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy announced April 29 that state and county parks and golf courses could reopen as soon as May 2.

Murphy eased closures that he put in place April 7, opening all state parks and giving counties and golf course operators the discretion to open their parks and courses this weekend. Counties and towns will make the call whether to reopen parks and have various positions.

On April 27, Murphy laid out a “road map” for restarting New Jersey’s economy with a series of public health benchmarks that indicate the state is many weeks away from returning to any semblance of normal life.

Reopening is still an aspirational prospect and the stay-at-home order Murphy issued five weeks ago will remain in effect “until further notice,” he said. Given the sustained deaths and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 and the lag in testing capacity, Murphy acknowledged that he doesn’t know when the state will be able to “start this journey” of reopening.

New Mexico

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced April 30 that the state would begin to ease business restrictions, acknowledging that the coronavirus has brought about an “economic crisis.”

Many nonessential retailers, pet groomers, state parks and golf courses will be permitted to operate beginning May 1 in a limited way under a new, modified state public health order. The new order is in effect through May 15 and replaces the order that expired April 30.

Here’s what’s not opening: movie theaters, casinos, barbershops and hair salons, gyms, indoor malls, camping centers and state park visitor centers, and offices or workplaces.

Restaurants and bars can only still operate as curbside or delivery. Gatherings of five people or more are still prohibited.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said April 29 that he would sign an executive order authorizing the resumption of elective surgeries in all upstate New York communities except for Erie County. Cuomo said April 27 that he would extend the “New York State on PAUSE” plan in regions most-impacted by the virus beyond May 15, the date by which the stay-at-home restrictions were to be lifted.

New York’s schools and colleges will remain shut through the end of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said May 1.

Areas not as severely impacted may see a gradual easing of restrictions. The businesses that could open first are construction and manufacturing, Cuomo said.

He added that the state would “be smart about it” and would follow CDC guidelines that recommend states show a 14-day decline in cases and would consider continued social distancing and face mask measures.

On April 18, New York joined Connecticut and New Jersey in opening up their marinas, boatyards and boat launches for recreational use.

The state updated its guidance for golf courses, opening the door for public and private courses to open. Golfers will have to walk the course and carry their own bags without a motorized cart, according to Dani Lever,Cuomo’s communications director.

North Carolina

The state’s stay-at-home order will extend through May 8, Gov. Roy Cooper announced April 23. When trends improve, the state will use a three-phase approach to gradually ease restrictions.

Although data tracking the spread of COVID-19 in the state remains “mixed,” Cooper said in late April he was optimistic those trends could improve enough for the state to enter Phase 1 of his three-step reopening plan on May 9.

In phase one, a stay-at-home order remains in place, but people can leave home for more commercial activities (including shopping at certain retail stores). Among the other changes in the first phase: Gatherings would be limited to no more than 10 people but parks can open, subject to gathering limits.

North Dakota

Gov. Doug Burgum unveiled guidelines April 28 for reopening certain businesses that have been closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Most businesses that have been shuttered for weeks may reopen May 1, but it won’t be like before, Burgum said. Burgum has eased restrictions that include limiting bars and restaurants to half capacity, requiring barbers and cosmetologists to wear masks and prohibiting some high-intensity fitness classes. Burgum said movie theaters also reopen if they do such things as limit seating and stagger start times.

While most businesses may reopen with precautions, other large-scale venues and K-12 schools are closed until further notice, Burgum said.


Under state orders for a gradual reopening of the state economy, hospital, medical, dental and veterinary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital can move forward.

Retail stores can reopen after May 1, if they restrict sales to curbside pickup, delivery or appointment-only, limiting the number of customers to 10 or fewer.

State Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed a modified order this week gradually reopening parts of Ohio economy, with precautions.

The directive, which goes through May 29, allows Ohioans to leave home for work and shopping when those services reopen. Ohioans can still go to buy groceries, exercise outside, take care of relatives and complete tasks allowed under the previous two orders.

Gov Mike DeWine said office work could restart May 4 with retail shops reopening May 12. But after a public outcry, DeWine backed off his initial order requiring customers to wear face masks.


Oklahomans can return to restaurants, malls and other stores May 1 as stay-at-home orders expire in the state’s biggest cities, putting local governments in line with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plans for reopening the state’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Social distancing rules will still apply, though it remains to be seen how many businesses will reopen .

Gov. Kevin Stitt plans to begin reopening the state through a three-phase plan that will commence May 1. Stitt enacted a plan called “Open Up and Recover Safely” April 22 that allowed personal care businesses to open April 24 by appointment only.

These include hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and pet groomers and must follow sanitation and social distancing guidelines. Customers are encouraged to wait in their cars until the time of their appointments.

Churches will open May 1 “if they leave every other row or pew open” and follow social distancing measures. Restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and tattoo parlors (by appointment only) also could open May 1.


Starting May 1, Oregon medical providers could resume non-urgent medical procedures, Gov. Kate Brown announced April 23.

Brown had ordered providers to stop doing non-emergency procedures in an effort to preserve hospital space and protective gear like gowns, masks and gloves to care for COVID-19 patients.

The move is what Brown calls a “step forward” as the state ponders loosening some restrictions meant to limit the spread of new cases of COVID-19.


Two dozen counties in rural northern Pennsylvania will see some relief from restrictions, Gov. Tom Wolf said May 1. Those counties are all in the northwest and north-central regions of Pennsylvania, which have seen far fewer virus infections and deaths than the rest of the state.

The changes are to take effect Friday, May 8. Stay-at-home orders will be lifted and retail shops can start to reopen, though other restrictions will remain in place as counties move from “red” to “yellow” in a three-phase reopening plan.

Wolf will also allow golfers to hit the course and boaters to hit the water starting May 1.

Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds will be able to open, but campgrounds in state parks must remain closed through May 14. Social distancing and masking guidelines will be required just as for other essential businesses.

Wolf announced on April 22 a three-phase, color-coded plan that will be used to reopen the state’s counties in the coming weeks; select restrictions could be lifted in some areas as soon as May 8.

He said several metrics will be used to move counties from red, yellow or green status.

Wolf also announced that he will reopen construction in the state beginning on May 1, moved up from May 8.

After state liquor stores were closed in March, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is now allowing select stores to offer curbside delivery.

Previously Wolf signed a bill to allow online notary services so online auto sales can resume.

Puerto Rico

A medical task force appointed by Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced submitted recommendations on April 25, suggesting that Puerto Rico abide by strict social distancing and hygienic measures for 18 to 24 months, absent of a vaccine or proven treatment for the virus.

The task force recommends a gradual reopening in four stages, broken down by the infection rate per industry. In the first tier are construction, mining, computing, agriculture and manufacturing. Rather than provide specific target dates for the stages, it recommended enacting each by monitoring the rate of transmission on the island.

On April 11, Vázquez Garced extended a lockdown order through May 3. It allows residents to leave their homes only from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. for essential activities. After 9 p.m., a daily curfew goes into effect until the following morning.

Rhode Island

If Rhode Islanders continue their adherence to coronavirus-containment measures, Gov. Gina Raimondo hopes to be able to lift her existing stay-at-home order May 9, Raimondo said April 27.

That would begin the first part of a multi-phase process over the next many months aimed at reviving the economy and restoring life to something resembling normal.

Raimondo on April 22 announced plans to roll out a staged reopening of parks and beaches in the coming weeks, citing encouraging virus statistics.

“It is my hope that we will be able to enjoy our parks and beaches in some form or fashion in the month of May,” she said.

South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster announced May 1 that a mandatory stay-home order will be lifted May 5, the same day that outdoor dining at restaurants will be allowed to resume.

The easing of key restrictions came after state health officials reported 50 COVID-19 deaths since April 28 — marking the deadliest four-day period that the state has seen during the ongoing pandemic.

Under a mandatory stay-home order that McMaster issued April 6, South Carolina residents have been required to stay home unless they were at work, visiting family, shopping for essential items or exercising.

According to a statement, McMaster and state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell strongly urge anyone considered to be “at-risk” for COVID-19 based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit exposure to others.

McMaster announced a plan April 21 called “Accelerate South Carolina” to “stomp on the gas” and reopen certain sectors of the economy.

Clothing, department, furniture, jewelry and sporting goods stores, as well as florists and flea markets can reopen but will be forced to operate at reduced capacity. The closure on beaches will be lifted, though it will be up to local officials to decide on the reopening of specific beaches.

The order still encourages social distancing directives to be followed. Barber shops, beauty salons, bingo halls, gyms and nightclubs must remain closed for now.

South Dakota

Gov. Kristi Noem unveiled in late April a “Back to Normal Plan” for businesses and residents for the next phase of the coronavirus response.

The plan lays out actions for residents, employers, schools and health care providers once four criteria categories are met, including a downward trajectory of documented coronavirus cases for 14 days in an area with sustained community spread.

However, some South Dakotans will never be able to return to normal because they’ve lost a family member to coronavirus, Noem said, adding, “My heart breaks for them.”

Noem had not issued a stay-at-home order, but had placed some statewide restrictions.


Guidance issued by Gov. Bill Lee’s office May 1 says house of worship should exercise caution, encouraging their community members to wear face coverings and remain six feet away from others. The guidance urges faith communities to “conduct as many activities as possible remotely.”

Lee on April 29 told lawmakers he planned to reopen salons and barber shops May 6, the latest in a string of restrictions to be loosened in the state.

Details of business restrictions in the order, which also continued the state of emergency, apply to all but six counties in the state. Those counties, which are home to the state’s larger urban areas, are following the guidance of their respective health departments which are operated locally.

Previously, Lee allowed for restaurants to reopen on April 27, many retailers on April 29 and gyms on May 1, each of which came with rules on limited capacity and suggested guidelines.

The all-clear to reopen those businesses does not apply to Tennessee’s largest cities, including Nashville, MemphisKnoxville and others.

On April 28, Lee issued an executive order extending the closure of bars and close-contact businesses through the end of May.


For the first time since early April, every restaurant and retailer across the state was allowed to open doors to customers May 1, although more widely in some cities than others and still under social distancing requirements. Hair salons, gyms and bars remain closed.

On April 27, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he will let his stay-at-home order expire April 30 and signed Phase One of his Open Texas plan that will see many business reopen.

On May 1, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls can open, but must operate at a 25% capacity level from their listed occupancy. Public areas inside malls like food courts and play areas must remain closed.

Outdoor sports like golf and tennis can resume, as long as four people or fewer are participating in the event and social distancing is followed.

Through Phase One of Abbott’s plan, public swimming pools, bars, gyms, cosmetology salons, massage parlors, bowling alleys, arcades and tattoo and piercing studios will remain closed.

Abbott announced executive orders April 17 that mandated all schools, public and private, to remain closed for the rest of the school year.


Starting May 1, Utah is moving from a “red” to “orange” phase of Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposal to gradually scale back restrictions.

The state will allow gatherings of up to 20 people, and most businesses, including dine-in restaurants, will be allowed to open as long as they follow specific guidelines spelled out in the state’s plan.

Every household also has a chance to order face masks from the government. The program, which he dubbed “A Mask for every Utahn,” was unveiled as Herbert announced an official step back from the state’s most stringent stay-at-home orders.


Gov. Phil Scott on May 1 announced additional steps to ease restrictions under the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order issued in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Effective May 4, manufacturing, construction and distribution companies will be able to re-open with a maximum of 10 employees. The following week, on May 11, those same sectors, will be allowed re-open at full operations with as few employees as necessary.

In order to return to work, Vermont employers and employees must undergo mandatory health and safety training developed by the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Agency.

The state’s residents and businesses have been operating for more than a month under the order which asks most people to work from home and severely limits how and which businesses may remain open.


Gov. Ralph S. Northam stopped short May 1 of saying he expected to soon lift his executive order restricting public gatherings and closing non-essential businesses but promised more information in early May on whether that order will be allowed to lapse.

The March 24 order set a 10-person maximum for public gatherings and in non-essential businesses such as restaurants and personal-care salons where meeting social-distance standards is unattainable.

Northam on April 29 announced that elective surgeries and dental procedures can resume May 1. Veterinarians will also be allowed to see non-emergency pets, Northam said.

Northam on April 24 announced a phased reopening plan. Northam said the administration is monitoring several key data points to inform their decisions. Northam has said the state’s stay-at-home order, in effect through June 10, could be changed and has not outlined a specific timeline for reopening businesses.

During the first phase, social distancing will continue, teleworking will be encouraged and the state will still recommend wearing face coverings in public.

Northam plans to ease restrictions in all regions of the state at the same time.


Gov. Jay Inslee announced May 1 that the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order would be extended through at least May 31 and said there will be a four-stage phase in for lifting of restrictions, starting with allowing retail curbside pickup, automobile sales and car washes by mid-May.

There will be a minimum of three weeks between each phase, though he said some counties with lower numbers of cases and deaths may be able to open parts of their economy sooner if approved by the Department of Health.

Fishing, hunting and golfing can resume on May 5, at which time people can also return to state parks and other state lands for day trips, Inslee announced April 27.

Inslee on April 24 announced a plan that allows existing construction projects to resume as long as strict coronavirus social distancing protocols are in place.

Washington, D.C.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on April 23 the formation of a task force, the Reopen D.C. Advisory Group, that will issue recommendations in May on the timeline to ease restrictions. To accelerate the process, Bowser said the city would look to hire several hundred contact tracers.

Bowser said the District will be “deliberate and strategic” in its plans, until a stay-at-home order lifts May 16.

West Virginia

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on April 30 said he is lifting the statewide stay-home order next week as part of his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions.

A new rule will go into effect May 4 encouraging people to stay home but not requiring them to do so. The move coincides with the reopening of small businesses, outdoor dining at restaurants and barbers.

The governor is pressing forward with an aggressive reopening plan unveiled earlier this week, though he has loosened his testing benchmark without explanation.


On April 27, Gov. Tony Evers allowed businesses that can offer services “free of contact with customers” like dog groomers, upholsterers and lawnmower repair shops to open April 29. And on May 1, 34 state parks and forests may open under special conditions. The openings come with attendance limits and reduced daily hours, while facilities like public restrooms, shelters and playgrounds will remain closed.

Outdoor recreational vehicle rentals like those who deal with boats, golf carts, kayaks and ATVs can also open April 29, as can automatic or self-service car washes.

“This order means that every business across our state can do things like deliveries, mailings, curbside pick-up and drop-off, and it’s an important step in making sure that while folks are staying safer at home, they can also continue to support small businesses across our state,” Evers said.

Evers has extended the state’s stay-at-home order closing most nonessential businesses until May 26. The Democratic governor’s administration has unveiled an online dashboard meant to track progress on the benchmarks Evers set, but the data includes gaps.

On May 1, the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to decide whether to keep in place  Evers’ stay-at-home order following a challenge from Republican lawmakers.


Wyoming will ease some of its coronavirus restrictions on May 1, with barbershops, gyms, nail salons and child care centers among the businesses that will be allowed limited re-openings, Gov. Mark Gordon said.

The changes announced April 28 replace health orders that expired April 30. They are the first steps in the governor’s plan to restart the state economy.

Gordon also said residents would be allowed to camp at state parks starting May 15.

In a news conference, Gordon described the measures as a “methodical, measured approach moving forward.”


Recording Academy Names Valeisha Butterfield Jones Its First Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

The Recording Academy announced the appointment of Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, a role that is among the recommendations of the organization’s Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion. Butterfield Jones will report directly to Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr., effective May 11, 2020. According to the announcement, she will join the executive leadership team responsible for advancing the Recording Academy’s mission and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are core to business values and standards, and demonstrated throughout the organization. She will design, build and implement world-class programs and industry standards focused on inclusion, belonging and representation for underrepresented communities and creators.

“We are thrilled to welcome Valeisha Butterfield Jones into the Recording Academy family,” said Mason. “Valeisha has been a force in driving systemic change and enhancing equal opportunities for underrepresented groups across entertainment, technology and politics. I’m excited to work with her to continue evolving the Recording Academy as an organization that represents our music community and a place where all voices are welcomed, supported and nurtured. We are so fortunate to have Valeisha’s leadership in this crucial area.”

Most recently, Butterfield Jones served as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc. responsible for accelerating diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes for underrepresented communities internally and externally across the global brand. Prior to joining Google, she served as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign, deputy director of public affairs for international trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Obama Administration, executive director at Rush Communications (encompassing the Russell Simmons-founded businesses Def Jam Enterprises, Baby Phat, Phat Farm and Hip-Hop Summit Action Network) and as the national director of diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association. She began her career at HBO Sports.

While the timing of the announcement, which comes in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, seems unusual, the Task Force’s recommendations called for the role to be filled by May 1, 2020. The Task Force, which was founded in the wake of former Academy chief Neil Portnow’s controversial 2018 comment that female musicians and executives need to “step up” in order to advance in the music industry, submitted its recommendations in December.

“It’s imperative that the music industry continue to make strides toward a more equitable and inclusive industry, and I am pleased to see the Recording Academy take this important step toward change within its own walls today by appointing Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer,” said Tina Tchen, chair of the Task Force and president and CEO of Time’s Up. “Creating this executive-level position was a principal recommendation of our Task Force because it is one significant way the Academy can demonstrate that issues of diversity are mission-critical and will be prioritized in the future.”

Butterfield Jones said, “The Recording Academy has an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that diversity and inclusion is embedded in its core values. I’m deeply honored to join the Academy as we enter a new chapter of transformational growth, leadership and change. During this unprecedented time in world history, together we will double-down on our focus to drive systemic change and equitable outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators.”

Butterfield Jones also co-founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) in 2007, a nonprofit coalition of women and men committed to the balanced, positive portrayal of women in the entertainment industry. She also serves on the National Board of Directors of ColorComm, MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sisters Network and iVote.



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