The United States is in the midst of two cataclysmic events that have had a massive impact on the Black community. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has already killed over 150,000 Americans, has disproportionately affected Black people who are dying at the rate of two to three times higher than their share of the population.

At the same time, America has been coming to grips with deep-seeded racial inequality after the death of George Floyd in March.

Both issues will require bold political solutions, so it's more important than ever for Black people to be represented in positions of power.

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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