All posts by Editor-in-Chief

Deborah Levine is Editor in-Chief of the American Diversity Report. She is a Forbes Magazine top Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer and an award-winning author of 15 books. She has been recognized by the Women's Federation for World Peace and the TN Economic Council on Women. She was featured on C-Span/ BookTV and her published articles span decades in journals & magazines: American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Public Management & Social Policy, The Bermuda Magazine, The Harvard Divinity School Bulletin. A former blogger with The Huffington Post, she is now an opinion columnist with The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Journalist Lewis Simons Podcast – To Tell the Truth

LewPulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lewis M. Simons (Lew) has been a foreign correspondent and investigative journalist for half a century, reporting throughout Asia, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. He covered the Vietnam War, opened the world’s eyes to the terror in Tiananmen Square, was expelled from India for revealing Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s abuses and saved the life of a teen-aged Tibetan monk. Simons won the Pulitzer Prize for for exposing the billions that the Marcos family looted from the Philippines and led to the People Power Revolution and the fall of the government. Simons’ newest book, To Tell the Truth, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama, chronicles those and many other extraordinary adventures.
Hear Lew discuss:
1. Why did you write To Tell the Truth?
2.What do you consider the most important story you ever covered?
3. Why did the Dalai Lama write the foreword to To Tell the Truth?
LewTakeaways for ongoing discussion:
1. Can Americans believe the news they read and view today?
2. What is the future of the free press in social media-obsessed America?


Jim Fielding Podcast: Storytelling for Change

Jim Fielding Jim Fielding is President of Archer Gray’s Co-Lab Division. He is a respected leader in brand strategy, consumer products and experiences, and storytelling.

As author of All Pride, No Ego (Wiley, August, 2023), he is committed to safe and authentic spaces for all individuals.


Having led consumer products groups at the world’s largest media companies, including Disney, Dreamworks, and Twentieth Century Fox, Jim has built diverse cultures and visionary teams that excelled in competitive global markets.

Hear Jim answer these vital questions: 

1. With today’s challenges to basic human rights, how can we use our voice and story to create change?
2. How can storytelling assist leaders striving to build a more inclusive, high-performance culture?
3.  What should young people know today how to “Control the Controllable” and why is it so important to leave space for the possible?

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Stranger Politics Shopping at Walmart – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

As I was leaving my neighborhood Walmart yesterday morning a total stranger stopped in front of me and announced, “The Biden family is living off millions while the rest of us are poor!”  He just stood there waiting for my response. I smiled sweetly and said “ You mean poor Trump – forced to live at that Mar-a-Lago place and living off all those contributions folks send him because he’s such a nice man.” I continued my sweet smile and the gentleman, confused, finally walked away and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was disturbing to have a perfect stranger approach me like this. I worry that given the wild ride of this 2024 presidential election, I need to prepare myself for a tidal wave of such strangeness.   

Continue reading Stranger Politics Shopping at Walmart – by Deborah Levine

Mike Bernhardt Podcast – Tides of War

Mike Bernhardt Mike Bernhardt is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications including DIVE Magazine, Journey Beyond Travel, GeoEx Travel, and Hidden Compass. He’s also the editor of “Voices of the Grieving Heart,” an anthology of grief poetry. His new short story for Hidden Compass, “The Tides of War,” explores his search for what happened to his wife’s grandparents during World War II.

Hear Mike discuss:
1. The motivation behind writing  “The Tides of War”.
2. The challenges that he faced in researching and writing this story.
Mike Bernhardt3. How can we learn from past mistakes and look at individuals, rather than their racial or ethnic affiliation, when determining who is a risk to public safety?
Too many of us don’t take an interest in our elders’ past and stories until it’s too late. History is far more interesting when viewed through the eyes of those who lived it. In times of war or conflict, societies tend to fear and even criminalize innocent people.


On the road to what? – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

I was surprised to see the photos of Ron DeSantis’ motorcade multi-car pile up on I-75 near Brainerd Road. Frankly I’m skeptical about the rumors saying that a dog had caused the accident. In the more than 20 years Ive traveled that road, Ive never seen a dog cross that road. I wonder if his cars got entangled in some of the orange traffic cones along the way. Or maybe they got caught in heavy traffic on that section of the highway when folks careen across lanes.

It wouldn’t have been surprising if either had happened. Whatever the cause, we may never know. DeSantis was using state government vehicles and a new law was just passed shielding his travel records from public view. But we do know about our challenging roads and we’re learning more.

First lesson: Note this quote from Patrick Rothfuss, Safe roads are the bones of civilization.” Key for keeping those bones safe is how people drive on them. Alas, what were once civilized and polite driving has given way to the equivalent of the pushing and shoving by kids in school hallways. I am forever grateful for those drivers who let you onto the highway in front of them. And for those who don’t speed up to cut you off as they cross lanes. They have a slightly saintly aura.

Second lesson: Construction is the new normal. I wonder if DeSantis’ team had driven around East Ridge and the Brainerd area. The drive can be mind-numbing. Ringgold road is continually under construction with orange traffic cones everywhere. Digging equipment have decorated various sides of the road for longer than I can remember. Main roads are blocked. Some ramps on and off to the highway are gone. My favorite mess is the circular path now made by metal shafts that lead cars on Terrace in a circle around closed I-24 ramps. A driver unused to the area had gotten on the circle by mistake and just sat there in his car, mystified at the traffic coming coming at him. Yeah, buddy…I feel your pain.

We all know that Chattanooga is growing by leaps and bounds. You only have to look at the number of grey and white apartment buildings going up all over town, transforming once distinctive areas into lookalikes. Water mains and sewer systems are being updated, often leaving raised planks and covers that click loudly driven over into the night.

As we grow and roads get more congested, the modernization process that widens and adds highway lanes can be confusing. For example, if you don’t know that the extra lanes on the highway will quickly merge and disappear, being mystified is the least of your worries.

Governor Bill Lee has responded with a statewide campaign to promote his $3 billion Transportation Modernization Act.  He recently gave a speech at Alison Pike site that’s part of a larger project to widen Apison Pike from Interstate 75 to East Brainerd Road and more safely connect Ooltewah, Collegedale and Apison to Chattanooga’s urban core. An admirable goal…except for one thing. The Act explores public-private partnerships for “Choice Lanes”. That’s a divert-and-deflect euphemism for toll roads. Supposedly this will decrease congestion, save taxpayer dollars and make road projects more efficient.

The urban planner in me wants to know exactly how toll booths would be a plus for transportation. And who would own these Choice Lanes, and could sell them to whom. I hear echoes of that old saying, The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. If you hear that, too, ask questions. Lots of pointed questions. And don’t settle for divert-and-deflect answers.

Change is Inevitable. So is the Future – by Deborah Levine

Working from home became the  norm during the pandemic, but it isn’t a new concept. Computers have pointed us in that direction for almost 50 years. When my mother insisted that I take the first computer programming elective offered at my high school during the 1960s, I thought she was nuts. I was focused on learning Russian and preparing for a catastrophic moment in the Cold War. But Mom informed me in her soft sweet voice that computers were the change shaping the future and she was commanding, not suggesting. And if that weren’t weird enough, she insisted that I take a typing class to ramp up my keyboard speed.

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Richard Humann Podcast: Neo-conceptual Artist

Richard Humann Richard Humann is a Brooklyn-based neo-conceptual artist with innumerable international gallery and museum exhibitions, including: the Kemi Art Museum, the Tampere Art Museum, the Tornio Art Museum, the San Cristóbal Art Museum, the Daelim Art Museum, Macao Art Museum, the Kaohsiung Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ssamzie Space, and the Espoo Museum of Modern Art.  Humann was born and raised in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York State. He divides his time between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY.

Hear Richard discuss…
1. Moving to Brooklyn in the mid 1980’s from upstate New York – How has the art scene changed in all those years?

2. His work is displayed now on an international stage. How did this transformation happen?

3. What direction is his art now taking especially given the changing art world due to technological advances?

4. What is the place of art in today’s society and how is he viewing his legacy?

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Time is well spent at the library – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

As I enter our downtown library I’m reminded of a famous quote by science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, Libraries raised me.” Growing up in Bermuda, the one small public library was a treasure and my grandmother donated the Encyclopedia Britannica to it. When we came to America as a kid, we lived in several different communities before settling in Long Island, New York. Lacking any sense of direction I often got ridiculously lost, but agree with Albert Einstein who said, The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

Continue reading Time is well spent at the library – by Deborah Levine