The holidays can be a wonderful and cozy time of year. We reconnect with those long forgotten warm sweaters that have waited patiently for us in the back of our closets. Everything we eat and drink is pumpkin flavored. We start to look longingly at our fireplaces, and even anticipate the first snowfall. But for many people, the shift out of daylight savings and other harbingers of fall and winter create feelings of anxiety, loneliness, anger, and depression. Many therapists report an upswing in referrals this time of year, and the focus is often on the difficult feelings that colder weather, less sunshine, and the approaching holiday season evokes.
8:47 am: I stole a glance at the clock on the wall and suddenly it dawned on me that I had less than 15 minutes to get to my next meeting in another part of the building. Barring interruptions, I figured that I could get there on time. I gulped down the remainder of my coffee, politely excused myself and left. On the way, I thought that I’d better stop off at the nearest men’s room given that I’d consumed two cups of coffee during the meeting I just left.
The vague feminism of our grandmothers was about their desire to be counted with – not only as wives and mothers but also as equal partners in life outside home and society salons. If we think of feminism as influence-seeking, it’s as old as humanity, transitioning from individual to mass feminism. Thus, strong women always strived to achieve individual influence—and some succeeded. Think La Malinche, lover/advisor of Juan Cortez, or Esther – wife/advisor of Persian King Anasuerus, or feminist-minded Eleanor Roosevelt who shaped the role of the First Lady, or countless others who became influencers because of their men. Women rulers, like Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher, – impacted the world through their strategic thinking. History provides ample individual illustrations of what’s feasible for a “weaker sex.”
Young people in the inner city public school system face peer pressure daily, pressure just for speaking proper English, asking questions in class, turning in homework, carrying books to and from school, and studying for tests. When I heard African American students talk about these challenges, I knew right then and there that something had to change in our schools. That’s why I created the Be Brilliant project. A change in our children’s mindset was in order.
I often get requests to address particular topics in columns and workshops, some clearly diversity-related, others not. Here are examples: “What’s it like being black in corporate America?” “Why women don’t brag – and why they should,” “Dreadlocks, long braids, weaves and wigs in corporate America,” “How to talk to a transgender person,” “How to recover from rejection at work,” and “Strategies for promoting your professional brand.” And there are others.
The Policy Advocacy Project Partnership on Climate Change (PAPPCC), a network of Civil Society Organization and Professionals concerned about the threat of Climate Change to Lagos, recently organized a 2-Day Sensitization workshop for Media Professionals with two cardinal objectives: a.) Demystifying the concept of Climate Change and b.) Advocating for a robust policy framework addressing Climate Change in the State.
A black-and-white photograph curled at the edges pressed between the pages of Anna Karenina falls into my hands as I fumble about the bookshelf. Anna Karenina. It appears I was using the photograph as a bookmark and apparently gave up after page 662. Do not judge me, dear Reader – I was only fifteen at the time. No doubt, I found the drama of my own life infinitely more interesting.
The three panelists were “women of color”; a Mexico-born Latina, a U.S. –born African-American and one reared in Africa, all highly regarded electrical engineers. In skin color, they ranged from “very light” (the Latina) to “light/medium brown” (one black woman) to “very, very dark” (the other black woman), the former two with shoulder length flowing black hair.
The audience consisted of thirty managers and I was the facilitator.
There is nothing dignified about death. I am not sure why I went, that first time, to the place of implosion. I guess I had some idea of standing there amidst the debris, my hat in my hands, saying a silent prayer for those who had left us. In its stead, a quarter mile away from the actual site, a rank odor announced itself like a foreboding. As I got closer, the mélange of rotting potatoes, overheated engines reeking oil, charred eggplants the color of ash settled like a second skin making me heave. I grabbed a tissue, forcing down the bitter taste of vomit in my mouth and went back home.
There has been a great deal of media attention regarding the looting of antiquities and other cultural property. The sacking of Iraq’s National Museum and the heritage of the country soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003 drew international headlines. The issue of looting came to the fore again in 2005 with the Italian Government’s indictment of Marion True, then chief Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, for trafficking in looted Greek and Roman artifacts. True was put on trial for what was cultural theft.