On Monday the nation will pause to observe the annual holiday honoring the life and legacy of iconic civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet too many Millennials and members of their younger cohort, Generation Z, consider civil rights history as ancient history at the dawn of a new millennium.
However, there are profound and poignant lessons which today’s young people need to learn. The most important lesson is how to make major changes in society through the type of peaceful means championed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellow civil rights leaders of the time.
2020 turned into a momentous year for diversity training.The COVID-19 pandemic forced many diversity trainers, myself included, to re-invent themselves by adapting their workshops into an online format.The Memorial Day killing of George Floyd thrust anti-racism into the center of diversity training, challenging those presenters who had generally soft-pedaled the issue.President Donald Trump’s September 22 executive order, “Race and Sex Stereotyping,” caused government agencies and contractors, including some higher education institutions, to suspend or mute their diversity training.
Why, in many instances of social unrest, do we look the other way; that we do nothing? But before we offer some possible answers, last week’s rampage in Washington gives us some context, a starting point.
Like millions, I watched in disbelief thousands of “protesters” (or whatever you choose to call them) converge on the Capital building. The images of them scaling walls, overwhelming police and breaking windows while lawmakers cowered in hiding or were rushed out for their safety will be etched into my memory forever.
Chatting off-topic one day with one of my favorite editors, Deborah Levine,I talkedabout feeling like an outsider at age 7 in my own family. Perhaps she had not discussed her similar feelings before because she embraced the topic and told about similar feelings in her childhood. Deborah told her mom how she believed she belonged to gypsy parents who must have left her on the doorstep.Then without surprise or forethought she asked her mom, “Would you please return me to where I really belong?” Her mom was amused by her hyperactive daughter with the quick mind and tongue.
I then shared with Deborah that I felt I’d been left behind by aliens as part of an intergalactic experiment by my far-away family. This was not as far fetched as you might think when I explain how my father was a scientist working for the government in Radiation Biology. He had security clearances, and this was to explain why he was gone a lot to places he could not speak about upon return. was often on the road to places he could not tell us about.It was also the 1950s when the red-scare atmosphere filled the very air and our television programing the paranoia of the McCarthy era.
We don’t know yet what the future will bring. We never know what the future will bring. Analysts often say it’s a mistake to predict the future by extrapolating the trends of the past. The world is too complicated a place. With the current pandemic, it’s been “up jump the Devil.” But never in our lifetimes has a Devil occupied the White House. Will we forget an important lesson we should have learned—that Evil exists, and walks among us? I’ve said for years that many people believe in good, but deny that evil exists also. Yet there can be no good without evil.
DIVERSITY TRAILBLAZER DEBORAH LEVINE HONORED BY GLOBAL WOMEN’S PEACE NETWORK
FOR LIFETIME OF COUNTERING HATE
CHATTANOOGA, TN – The American Diversity Report announced today that founder and editor-in-chief, Deborah Levine, has received the distinguished ‘HerStory Award’ from the Women’s Federation for World Peace USA (WFWP), with chapters nationwide in all 50 states and locations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and the Middle East.
Levine is a leading international expert and top management consultant on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the private and public sectors. Her unique neuroscience cognitive-based approach to advancing DEI helps employers and disparate communities harmonize, rather than homogenize.
This is an invitation to the Jewish diaspora and the African diaspora to see and hear with their hearts, not their heads, and not even though the lens of religion or traumatic memory of the events that occurred over the past 500 years and beyond.
I have a desire to see us all whole again and embrace the undeniable and long hidden truth of our connectedness.The ancient bloodline between us is speaking and revealing itself.The Native Americans acknowledge this existence of “blood memory”.Native American Storyteller and Journalist, Mary Annette Pember shares the Ojibwe people’s definition of the blood memory in her article published in the Daily Yonder, 16 July 2010. “The Ojibwe understand that blood memory is their ancestral (genetic) connection to their language, songs, spirituality, and teachings.It is the good feeling they experience when they are near these things.”
A couple of mornings before Thanksgiving (or Indigenous Heritage Day, depending on how politically correct or “woke” you are) I got a call from a Native American friend who has run into a patch of bad luck. He initiated a conversation on the political situation in the United States, and how he was glad that he could go to sleep and not be afraid of waking up to more craziness by President Trump. My first thought was “It’s a new morning in America.” Only later did I remember that this was a slogan used by Ronald Reagan in his 1984 Presidential campaign.
Organizations gripped in COVID-related fear, uncertainty and job insecurity these days are ones that are most vulnerable for empowering bullies who thrive and exploit those realities.
Keep that thought in mind as you read this recent email.
“Terry, those in our office love your articles and want to know if you have written – or could write – something on bullying; not the overt type, but the subtle kind we’re seeing that’s hard to put your finger on. Got anything?”
When I got that email, two things entered my mind. First, given the havoc COVID is wreaking today, why on earth should we worry about bullying of all things?
The May, 2020, Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd launched thousands of anti-racism proclamations.Millions took part in that performative aftermath.Include me among those millions.
Like many people, I wear multiple hats.One is chairing the Mayor’s Multicultural Forum in Riverside, California.My half-century hometown is a sizable (330,000-person) city, whose steady but not explosive growth has enabled it to maintain a community feeling.My wife and I continually encounter people we know when we go to a restaurant or take our daily two-mile walks around a nearby lake loaded with noisy ducks, geese, and egrets.