Category Archives: About Us

About the American Diversity Report

Try Heart Based Solutions – by Keith Thornton

As we acknowledge our oftentimes dismissal of our societal commonalities, the human lineage possess generations of historical struggle in attempts to stem conflict born out of various differences and disputes.  The earliest inhabitants of our planet have always found clan like strength to endure as a species in spite of never ceasing conflict.  Fast forward to present day and on cue, we perpetuate all that has been done before us with seemingly the same results, unaware we have options to greatly change our human narrative.  As an alternative approach, to today’s hesitance to engage each other in a candid manner for solutions, we should consider to the merits of creative heart-based solution making as way to overcome social barriers.

Continue reading Try Heart Based Solutions – by Keith Thornton

DEI in the Boardroom – by Dr. Deborah P. Ashton

Equity Impacts Corporate Decisions

Why have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expertise in the Boardroom? Look at the controversy swirling around the Georgia’s voting law–the backlash, the boycott, and the backlash to the boycott. Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens lose from both the law and the boycott. I contend that if there had been DEI experts on the boards of the major corporations that traditionally lobbied in Georgia, this may have been averted. Corporations could have predicted how the passage and signing of the bill into law may have impacted their brand. While the bill was being crafted social justice concerns could have been addressed, along with concerns regarding voting integrity. When you are driving you slow down before you come to the hairpin curve rather than trying to correct for it afterward. I have always contended that we should resolve a problem before it begins.

Continue reading DEI in the Boardroom – by Dr. Deborah P. Ashton

The Wound that Will Not Heal – by Dianne Irvine Fleet

I am a 72-year-old well-educated, sad, tired and angry Black woman.  Let me tell you why I am so sad, tired and angry.

I am writing this in April, 2021, at the end of the prosecution’s case in the Chauvin trial.  For most Black Americans, the killing of George Floyd was like opening an old wound and picking at a scab again and again so that the wound never quite has a chance to heal.  The Chauvin trial has caused us to relive that terrible day and to realize that the wound has not yet healed.  You may not read this until the trial is over and the verdict is in, but, no matter the outcome, the wound will still be there.

Continue reading The Wound that Will Not Heal – by Dianne Irvine Fleet

Fraud, Politics and Old Folks – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

DEBORAH LEVINE
Editor-in-Chief Deborah J. Levine

I paid close attention when an old friend jokingly asked on Twitter: “Can anyone tell me why I’m so Angry all the time?” But it’s not so funny that rage is the new normal. We’ve gotten louder and more contentious, as we’ve suddenly been catapulted into a new Middle Ages with a politics and economics that mirror medieval lords and serfs with castles, indebted servants, and a dying middle class. Each age group is struggling in its own way and there are super-angry people in every generation. Tweets that aren’t crude and rude are often cries for help, for someone to listen, respond, and care. Both sides of the COVID coin are expressed online: anger and despair.

Many of the despairing are young and I’ve written previous columns about their skyrocketing suicide rates. But many of them are elderly and their desperation makes them more vulnerable than ever.

COVID has fueled a raging Black Market: scammers, fraudsters and con artists. Charlatans surface in tough economic times with a vengeance. Be afraid, especially if you’re older. It’s true that scams like “Free Solar Panels” target homeowners of all ages, but many fraudsters are focusing their stimulus check scams and community donation scams on senior citizens. Playing on understandable fears, fraudsters offer opportunities to skip the line and get quicker access for outlandish fees.

We’ve just completed National Consumer Protection Week and Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon said: “Fraudsters are making a fortune by targeting Americans, particularly older Americans… The scammers tell elaborate lies, often become demanding and threatening, and take advantage of the physical isolation that many seniors have experienced during the pandemic.”

Who would disagree that this is a shameful development towards the most vulnerable in our society? But what are we doing about it? Too often we consider the elderly faceless and expendable, like serfs who owe us or can easily be replaced. So we’ve seen a nonchalance towards the elderly who  were going to die soon anyway. Arguments against wearing masks to protect the elderly by wearing masks have been responsible for surges in infections and death. But the biggest COVID fraud towards the elderly has taken place from governors’ offices.

New York Governor Cuomo used emergency pandemic powers to tell nursing homes that they couldn’t deny admission to patients discharged from hospitals solely based on a confirmed or suspected COVID diagnosis. Supposedly freeing up hospital space, Cuomo should have anticipated that nursing homes would become the state’s lethal epicenter.

Instead, Cuomo made even more of a mess by covering up and delaying death toll reports. With multiple excuses, mostly nonsense, the governor finally acknowledged that he’d made a mistake. His apology, almost a year later, brings the term “obfuscate” to mind. With recent news of official reports being doctored to show only about 50% of the total nursing home deaths, the term “criminal” comes to mind.

Another ‘obfuscation” veering towards “criminal” comes from Governor DeSantis of Florida where vaccine sites targeted wealthy communities of political donors. DeSantis’ denial seemed sincere, “I’m not worried about your income bracket, I’m worried about your age bracket.”  Yet he blocked death toll reports on eldercare facilities and his new data analyst is an anti-masker sports blogger with no credentials.

Nix the medieval mix of lies and cons by lords of the manor. Let’s be honest and truly honor lives lost and elderly still at risk. And don’t bow down to the lords’ anti-masking propaganda. The lives that masks protect may be some old folks you love.

Diversity and Speech Part 20: Communicating across Generations – by Carlos E. Cortés

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

Carlos Cortes
ADR Advisor Dr. Carlos Cortes

In those memorable opening lines of his novel, The Go-Between, writer L. P. Hartley captured many dilemmas.  The dilemma of memory.  The dilemma of change.   The dilemma of misunderstanding.

It also captured the dilemma of generations, particularly conversations across generations.  We did things differently then.  They do things differently now.   How are we going to help them understand what we experienced?  How are they going to help us understand what they are experiencing?
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 20: Communicating across Generations – by Carlos E. Cortés

How I’m Trying to Make a Positive Difference – by Marc Brenman

Advisory Board - Marc Brenman
ADR Advisor Marc Brenman

I’m trying to make a positive difference in American political life by investigating whether and how it’s possible to draw some Trump voters toward the political center. In November 2020, about 48% of American voters voted for Trump. Voting for Trump is a proxy measure for rightwing feelings and beliefs. Many of these beliefs are extreme. None contribute to the American Dream of fairness, equity, opportunity, equality, and compassion, or the Good Society. Do we want to live in a permanently ideologically divided country, with the risk of civil war?
Continue reading How I’m Trying to Make a Positive Difference – by Marc Brenman

How Will You Toast The 2020s? – by Martin Kimeldorf

Cocktail party discussions in the rambunctious boom years of the 1960s often ended in dark pronouncements for the next century. Upward trending population growth graphs collided with downward bar charts displaying resource depletion. A few brave souls uttered dark prophecies for the 2020s. They whispered about a world landscape filled with economic and environmental collapse. They claimed this would create a breeding ground for pandemics that would challenge our very survival.

America loves to terrorize and confine itself with a bipolar view of the world.  The Ozzie-and-Harriet voices in our heads droned on with happy-talk. In George Jetson cartoons, we imagined escaping traffic gridlock in our flying cars.  At the same time a Civil Defense doomsday voice commanded us to “duck and cover” beneath atomic mushroom clouds. Eventually Twilight Zone voices questioned these comedic survival tactics.
Continue reading How Will You Toast The 2020s? – by Martin Kimeldorf

Voices of Asian American Women – by Terry Howard

Terry Howard
ADR Advisor Terry Howard

Reports are that there are over 23 million Asian Americans living in the United States. Other reports are that over the past year, there are at least 4000 reports of various forms of harassment, including assaults, directed against Asian Americans in the United States. And tragically, during recent shootings in Georgia, eight lives were snuffed out, among them six Asian women. These are the facts.

So I begin this by introducing you to incredible Asian American women – Wei Wei Jeang and Lisa Ong – long-time friends of mine during the years I lived in Texas. Not only did I want to check in on the well-being of Wei Wei and Lisa, both outspoken and strong advocates of equality and fairness, I wanted to get their thoughts on what’s been happening to Asian Americans over recent years. I’ll begin with a little bit about their backgrounds.
Continue reading Voices of Asian American Women – by Terry Howard

Make Healing a Priority – by Dr. Temika Edwards, Dr. Cynthia R. Jackson

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our physical, emotional, and mental stamina has been challenged to accommodate our ever-changing environment. To adapt to this change, we must incorporate inner and outer healing. Healing is a process that restores the whole person, mentally, physically, and emotionally, but also includes personal beliefs and values, sense of identity, and community of support. How we receive and respond to uncertainties can directly impact our inner and outer being.

Our inner being involves our spirit, emotions, and mind, while the outer being is our surrounding and social interactions. Both the inner and outer being are strongly connected, and we cannot have one exist without the other. For instance, the outcomes we create in the outer environment are motivated by what goes on inside ourselves. Although we all have our own temperaments concerning one side versus the other, we flourish best when the complexities maturing in each direction synchronize with each other. Everyone has an innate healing ability. With minor adjustments in our daily lives, we can improve the capability of our bodies to heal. We can also implement that same healing ability in the workplace, school, and community, which is why healing must be a priority in our lives to accomplish an optimal, balanced inner and outer being. Continue reading Make Healing a Priority – by Dr. Temika Edwards, Dr. Cynthia R. Jackson

My Salute to Women Overcoming Challenges – by Soumaya Khalifa

Resilience, Determination, Support and Hard Work

Soumaya
ADR Advisor Soumaya Khalifa

This Women’s History Month I am thankful for the many women who paved the way for me. These amazing women include my mother, sister, daughter, mentors, friends, colleagues, managers and too many others to list.  With these women as guides and companions, my path has been smooth yet challenging, steady yet adventurous.  For all of those women, I am deeply grateful.

I know a beautiful five year-old named Samira.  At birth, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation that doctors thought would keep her from seeing, speaking, walking, running and living her life like any typical child.  Of course, her family was devastated: they wanted only the best for their newborn daughter.  Samira’s mother, however, immediately jumped into action.  She sought doctors who specialized in Samira’s condition and found the physical, occupational, speech and other therapies that she needed to thrive.  Samira’s mom fought the doctors, therapists and insurance companies to make sure her daughter received the best treatments and support.

Continue reading My Salute to Women Overcoming Challenges – by Soumaya Khalifa