Category Archives: About Us

About the American Diversity Report

“Let’s Go High” with Bayard Rustin – by Terry Howard

Growing up in Virginia, my momma used to say to me that I sometimes “run around like a chicken with its head off.” That’s as perfect a depiction of any of my chaotic life as the month of June slips away. Duly noted.

You see, amid traveling, speaking engagements, fawning over a newborn grandson, greeting guests in my wife’s restaurant (and sometimes, yes, getting on her last nerve) and yard work, I failed to write something pertaining to Gay Pride Month. I really wanted to but never got around to it.

So while being confronted with the dual realities of the month coming to an end and the unrelated surge in hate mongering spilling into violence against LGBTQQI people, I decided to “go high.”

Continue reading “Let’s Go High” with Bayard Rustin – by Terry Howard

July 4th Prayer – by Deborah Levine

Originally written for Generation 42 Global Reformers July 4th Prayer Service 

As we gather together virtually for the July 4th celebration, my first thought is to ask for the blessing of our Creator who has placed us all on this precious planet. Our faith leads us to a shared hope for a future where we can harmonize, not homogenize, at the intersection of race, ethnicity, religion, generation, and gender represented in this country. That hope was not a conscious one growing up in British Bermuda as the only Jewish little girl on the island. But I’m honored to now be recognized as a Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer by Forbes Magazine. And I’m both honored and astounded to be an Award-winning author of 15 books on cultural diversity and the founder of the American Diversity Report where I’ve served as editor for 15 years.

I’m astounded because my early dream was to be a ballerina, forever in pink ballet slippers. But God had other plans for me. Perhaps that’s why, even as a youngster, I was surrounded by diverse cultures and appreciated their artistic expressions.
Continue reading July 4th Prayer – by Deborah Levine

On rustic church pews – by Terry Howard

If ever there was an eye-catching picture, this one fits the bill.

You see, a fellow I grew up with in a small town in Virginia posted it on Facebook. I’m not sure of its source or time, but think that maybe it was sometime in the 40s or earlier. Who knows for sure?

Okay, I admit to having lost count of the number of times I’ve looked at it, and am doing so right now as Juneteenth is in the spotlight. However, to get other reactions I randomly shared it with several folks.
Continue reading On rustic church pews – by Terry Howard

Radio Theater: UNTOLD Stories of a World War II Liberator

Deborah Levine, daughter of a World War II military intelligence officer, shares first-hand stories of WW II and theAaron Levine Holocaust including the wartime letters of her father, Aaron Levine, who was assigned to interrogate Nazi prisoners of war.

And you’ll hear the wartime love letters of Estelle Malloy, a Special Education pioneer whom Aaron married after they graduated from Harvard University. Lastly, you’ll hear the memoirs of Polish Holocaust Survivor, Leon Weisband.
But first, we’ll start at the beginning – with Aaron’s immigrant roots from the Ukraine region and Estelle’s childhood in Bermuda in the only Jewish family to have lived on the island for 4 generations.

Dennis Parker, Deborah Levine, Dylan Kussman at WUTC studio.

Director:  Dennis Parker at the U. of TN at Chattanooga’s radio station WUTC.
Narrator:  Deborah Levine, author.

Actors:
Aaron Levine is played by  actor/director/producer Dylan Kussman, Estelle Levine is played by Charlene Hong White, Aunt Polly by Trish Ross, Leon Weisband by Joel Scribner, Secretary of State Cordell Hull by Greg Glover, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter by George Hoctor and the Reporter by Chase Parker (no relation).

Music is by Aaron Levine’s nephew, Hollywood composer Michael Levine.

CLICK FOR BROADCAST RECORDING

 

“Domestic Infant Suppliers” buckle up – by Deborah Levine

originally published in  The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Writing about abortion is like leaping into a tornado, but here goes. I’ve always hated the idea of abortion, the term evokes pain and suffering as well as sorrow and mourning, whether you’re pro or anti-abortion. But I’ve advocated for giving women choice over their bodies since joining the many Jewish women involved in the first Women’s Liberation March in Manhattan in 1970.

While the protests of the seventies were a revolution, touching multiple area of our lives in the workplace and community,  anti-abortionists saw us as irrational, unattractive feminist shrews. They called us “anti-family,” “angry battle-axes” and “radical Commie lesbians.” The “Domestic Infant Supply” language in the current supreme Court draft doesn’t just echo those sentiments, it magnifies them.

Weird how some things haven’t changed. Matt Gaetz, who’s being investigated for sex crimes, had a timeless response to the leaked Supreme Court’s anti-abortion document  “How many of the women rallying against overturning Roe are over-educated, under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no bumble matches?” Once again, we’re supposed to give up control our bodies, cough up babies, go back to the kitchen and shut up.

Our protests in the seventies extended to issues of discrimination in a patriarchal society. You’d think that our progress over the decades would affirm women’s equality. But today, patriarchy advocates may ignore Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin: “I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” Some will say good! We need more housewives, more Domestic Baby Suppliers.

In the pursuit of power, patriarchal types don’t worry about  investigations into their sex crimes and sexual harassment. Men who invoke the Divine and are supposedly are appointed by God are often excused,  especially by right-wing white evangelicals. 

No wonder we’re worried as we watch the mix of religion and politics ramp up attempts to ban abortions, even in the case of child rape and incest. According to one Ohio State representative, an underage victim should just say thanks for the “opportunity”. 

Culture wars are super combustible when cultural conflicts combine with religious ones. The far-right, white evangelical support for revoking the 49-year old law can claim divine inspiration, but that’s not how all religious groups see the abortion issue. A March survey from the Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of religious groups have more nuanced beliefs.

A member of a Brooklyn Zen Buddhist center said her faith calls for compassion and abortion bans fail to consider why women have abortions. Further, the bans would hurt the poor and marginalized the most. The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding reported that 56% of U.S. Muslims say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. A scholar-in-residence at the National Council of Jewish Women said, “This ruling would be outlawing abortion in cases [risk to life of mother] when our religion would permit us.” She pointed out that Judaism does not share the concept that life begins at conception.

We’re already seeing online cluster bombs launched in this emotional firestorm. They target so many facets of society: gender, generation, race, ethnicity, religion. Reactions now appear in corporate policies as well as legal ones. All this as the 2022 elections approach. Time to vote! I’ll be rejecting anyone who sees women as their sex toys or “Domestic Infant Suppliers.” How about you?

Reflections on the Holocaust — by Deborah Levine

As my radio theater play, UNTOLD: Stories of a World War II Liberator, is in preparation for broadcast, I am reminded of the 1st time that I agreed to serve on the local Holocaust Remembrance Day Committee was painful, even after almost seventy years since the end of World War II.  I agreed to assist in promoting the event beyond our Jewish community and I agreed to participate in the reading of the names of the victims.  And I resigned myself to being an usher at the event, not my favorite thing.  What I didn’t bargain for was a seat on the stage when I offhandedly shared that I was helping in memory of my father who was a U. S. military intelligence officer during World War II.  Aaron Levine was an army translator of German and French.  And by the way, he was a liberator of a labor camp.

Continue reading Reflections on the Holocaust — by Deborah Levine

Georgia Election: Herschel, really? – by Terry Howard

Dashing, handsome, chiseled, thick necked and all, at age 60 it looks like Herschel Walker could still blast off left tackle for a first down in an Orange Bowl. But when he opens his mouth lately you freeze, not because of his Southern drawl but what flows out in a mess of confusion, ignorance, untruths, gobbledygook and Lord knows what else.

And here’s the kicker: he has a darn good chance of getting elected the next senator from Georgia. Really.

Now if you find yourself in the exclusive company of folks who look like you and him when he opens his mouth, “c’mon bro, you gotta be kidding,” clearly too many blows to the head,” or stuff unprintable is your likely reaction.

Now I admit that I don’t know what to make of today’s version of Herschel Walker the ex-football player and today’s senatorial candidate.

Well, okay, that’s not altogether true.

For me there’s two versions of Walker; the record-setting running back on one hand, and the bumbling politician from Georgia – or Texas? – on the other. There’s a danger in blurring the lines, connecting the two versions with the assumption that the former is a precursor to the latter.Do great athletes always make great politicians? That question just answered itself, didn’t it?

Hold on, let me get this said before the “Dawg darts start flying my way.

I’m a huge fan of the championship Georgia football team. Watching them take down Alabama got me off the couch high fiving around the TV screen.

And let me be even clearer. I was also a huge fan of Herschel Walker the football player but these days not so with him as a politician based on what I’ve heard him say lately. More on the contemporary Herschel Walker shortly.

You see, like Herschel, there was another Heisman winning running back out of the University of Southern California decades ago (I won’t pollute this narrative with his name). Like Walker, that football player had a documented history of domestic abuse against women. So are we asked to overlook the allegation that Walker abused women, and once pointed a gun at his ex-wife, because he rattled of a 75-yard touchdown run against Florida?

Sorry folks but I have a strong distaste for domestic abusers, including Heisman trophy winners.

Back to today’s Walker who is as adept at avoiding the truth as he once side-stepped would-be tacklers on the gridiron. I mean – hold your breath now Walker actually said that former President Trump never said that the election was stolen from him.

Really Herschel, really? Do we believe you or our lying ears?

And, Heaven help us, there’re more Walker jaw droppers. You may need a “mumbo jumbo” interpreter and a shot of Bourbon to figure it all out:

Jaw dropper #1: He challenged the theory of evolution. His claim is that if evolution is true, why do apes still exist?

Jaw dropper #2: He claimed that he had a cure for COVID in the form of a dry mist that you walk through.

Jaw dropper #3: He claimed then later denied that he said that he was in the top percent of his graduating class at the University of Georgia.

Jaw dropper #4: When asked if new gun laws should be enacted in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas shootings, his reply was “What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff.”

The following day and asked a similar question:

“Well, you know, it’s always been an issue, because as I said earlier on, they want to score political points. People see that it’s a person wielding that weapon, you know, Cain killed Abel. And that’s the problem that we have. And I said, what we need to do is look into how we can stop those things. You talk about doing a disinformation. What about getting a department that can look at young men that’s looking at women, that’s looking at their social media? What about doing that, looking into things like that, and we can stop that that way?”

Wooh Wee!

Now despite all this and more, Walker easily defeated his opponents by blowouts in the primary by skipping the debates with them and appearing exclusively in controlled events with softball questions like “how did you feel during your 85-yard touchdown scamper against Tennessee?”

His Democratic opponent, Raphael Warnock, has proposed a series of three debates with Walker who has said he will debate Warnock but  hasn’t said how many times (brace yourselves for Jaw dropper #5 folks).

So fresh off winning his primaries, and ending his bromance with Donald Trump, “Dawg” Walker recently griped about how Trump is falsely taking credit for his primary win.

“One thing that people don’t know is President Trump never asked me to run. So, I’m mad at him because he never asked, but he’s taking credit that he asked,” Walker said.

Okay, enough is enough. The thought of Herschel Walker as a senator deciding and voting on complex domestic and global issues facing the nation today is as terrifying as him in the cockpit flying me to visit my new grandson in California.

But in the United States of America, stranger things have happened, huh?

Culture Wars: Can artists win? – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press   

Why do we now say Kyiv instead of Kiev? It’s because Kyiv is the Ukrainian pronunciation and Russia’s invasion is a culture war.  Their disputes are old-as-dirt and Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev tried to enable a Ukrainian revival with the transfer of Crimea from Russia. But, Soviet repression went beyond land and sovereignty.

With the USSR dissolution, Ukraine established a new government with its own national anthem in Ukrainian, not Russian. It’s no accident that Putin’s treaty demands include protection for the Russian language. It may seem trivial, but imagine if England suddenly tried to re-establish British control over America and insisted that we revert to British English. If England were like Putin, you might go to jail if you refused to spell “color” as “colour”, the original, British version. Or what about our patriotic song, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”? That melody was originally an unofficial national anthem of England. We wouldn’t tolerate going back to its original title: “God Save the Queen”. We’d fight a new War of Independence.

Continue reading Culture Wars: Can artists win? – by Deborah Levine

U.S. Indian Boarding School Report – by Marc Brenman

In April 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report. The report was probably prompted by several year’s ago Canadian report on First Peoples boarding schools, and by the appointment of the first Native American Secretary of the Interior. The Canadian report was issues by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in 2015. 

The U.S. report has much interesting information on cultural eradication. Native American children were forced from their families and into schools that were little better than prisons, beginning in the early years of the American Republic. Esteemed Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin expressed anti-Indian beliefs. Interestingly, these sentiments were sometimes expressed in confidential memos to Congress, as if it was known even then that the actions were morally reprehensible. 

Continue reading U.S. Indian Boarding School Report – by Marc Brenman

Diversity and Speech Part 30: The Strange Odyssey of Racial Sports Metaphors – by Carlos Cortés

Woke people don’t stereotype, right?  And, of course, white men can’t jump.  Hm.  Consider the following.

For relaxation, my wife Laurel and I attend a bi-weekly creative writing workshop.  For a recent assignment, our instructor Jo Scott-Coe asked us to write about chocolate.   Each of the other participants wrote about food.   Not me.  For whatever reason, Jo’s assignment triggered thoughts of former National Basketball Association guard Jason Williams.

Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 30: The Strange Odyssey of Racial Sports Metaphors – by Carlos Cortés