All posts by Editor-in-Chief

Deborah Levine is Editor in-Chief of the American Diversity Report. She is an award-winning author of 14 books, received the Champion of Diversity Award from diversitybusiness.com, the Excellence Award from the Tennessee Economic Council on Women and is featured on C-Span/ BookTV. Her published articles span decades in journals & magazines: The American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Public Management & Social Policy, The Bermudian 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.

It’s the Environment, Stupid – by Deborah Levine

Originally published as an opinion column in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

The GOP is determined not to be upended by Sharpie Gate.  Presidential primaries in several states have disappeared and the party wants us to know “…The contrast between Mr. Trump and the Democratic field is a demonstration of just how much Mr. Trump understands the American psyche and just how much most Democrats do not.” They know that in this week’s contest for weird news, “Sharpie Gate” might outdo the Taliban-Camp David story, the firing/resignation of John Bolton, the U.S. military’s spending related to Trump’s Ireland golf course, and maybe all the other 12,019 false or misleading presidential statements documented by Fact Checker.

How did this mess escalate so quickly? We began with a silly photo-op when Trump, trying to prove his earlier claim that Dorian put Alabama at risk, produced a map showing the hurricane moving in a sharpie-drawn curve towards Alabama. We progressed to goofy when Twitter erupted with sharpie memes: Trump with 6-pack abs, bone spur feet, and, my favorite, a check from Mexico for ten trillion dollars for the wall.

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Trends and Challenges: Systemic Diversity Panel

What’s Next for Inclusion?

Systemic Diversity Panels share ideas, articles, research and resources that reinforce our quest for diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice. The Systemic Diversity and Inclusion Linked group allow participants to share their work and encourage them to do so in a manner that is consistent with the group’s vision for peace, equity and social justice for all.

This group is committed to sharing ideas on effective policies and practices to eradicate misconceptions and biases in diverse workplaces, and thus promote positive work environments for all people. We also profile members and their work that aligns with our  vision. See interviews at Systemic Diversity and inclusion Group.

Deborah LevineDeborah Levine (Moderator)

Award-winning Author (14 books), including Un-Bias Guide for Leaders and Religious Diversity at Work | Speaker/Trainer & Coach | Founder/Editor: American Diversity Report |
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA (See her Bio)

Joseph NwoyeJoseph Nwoye, Ed.D (Partner)

Diversity & Inclusion Consultant with Unique Ability to Address Unconscious Bias, Inclusive Leadership @ Work & Beyond | Author of three books, including the most recent, Cultivating a Belief System for All (See his latest interview)
Montgomery Village, Maryland, USA

Colonel ReginaldColonel Reginald Hairston

Proven Senior Level Leader | Multiple Years Experience Setting Strategic Direction and Managing Change | Innovator | Author of Simple Man’s Leadership Guide
Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

AtenaAtena Hensch

Inclusive Diversity and belonging Specialist | Unconscious Bias | Gender | Cultural Intelligence | Certified Trainer
Geneva Area, Switzerland

 

LouiseLouise Duffield

VP @GatedTalent | SEO | Executive Search | Social Media | Branding | LinkedIn Optimization | LinkedIn Profile Writer
United Kingdom

Aid in Peril and So are We – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

When President Trump threatened to cut off $4 billion in foreign aid, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition emailed how cuts could limit the response to outbreaks of the deadly ebola virus. Concerned, I immediately thought of John Germ, past president of Rotary International, who spoke at Glynn Hodges’ recent Mastermind meeting. Yes, we were inspired by his story of being the first in his family to graduate college. And we were speechless at his stories of navigating outdated military planes on the verge of crashing. We empathized with his struggles to finish college while marrying and having his first child. But it was his dedication to eradicating polio world-wide, his ability to see the challenge as an invitation, that held us in awe.   

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Gun debacle and debate, again – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

We all know that after the back-to-back mass shootings this weekend, there will be renewed discussion over gun control and safety. We also know that the debate will probably go nowhere, as usual. Even though many of these massacres are committed using military style weapons, many anti-gun control folks maintain that owning these semi-automatic rifles is a  constitutional right.  Why should law abiding persons be limited because of a few crazies out there.  But given that CBS news reports more mass killings in 2019 than days so far this year. It’s time to re-examine our cultural norms regarding military-style weapons.   

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Poetry Submissions – Guidelines

Poetry submissions have been part of the American Diversity Report since it’s inception in 2006.  And dozens of poems from around the world provide windows into different cultures. Illuminating cultural diversity is the ADR mission and poetry is a big part of that mission.

Beginning in the fall 2019, John C. Mannone will be the ADR Poetry Editor. He will choose 2 poems each month to be published and included in that month’s e-newsletter. If you would like to join us, here are guidelines for poetry submissions:

  • TIMING:  Deadline for submissions is noon on the 15th of each month.
  • STYLE: Minimum of 12 lines. Do not repeat title as first line.
  • BIO: Include a  bio of 50-75 words.
  • SECURITY: To avoid receiving spam, do not include  live links in the bio, phone numbers, or email addresses in your bio.
  • LOGISTICS: Submissions must be in word.doc or word.docx format using Times New Roman size 12 font with 1.2 line spacing.
  • LOGISTICS: Submission should be an attachment in an e-mail to info@diversityreport.com
  • ITEMS NOT PUBLISHED

    • Profanity or hate speech
    • Political endorsements
    • Anonymous submissions

Planet Shakers Short Story Contest

Writing Project for Schools & Students

Short Story = A brief exploration of a subject in prose expressing a personal view or interpretation of a subject or topic.

RotarySchools may submit students’ short stories online to the foundation before or by March 1, 2020. Students should be 12-18 yrs. old.

Student Requirements:

  1. Only one short story written per contestant should be submitted on or before March 1, 2020.
  2. Submissions must be made to the school’s designated judge.  
  3. The top of each page must include the contestant’s name, page number, and story title.
  4. The Short Story should have a single storyline, no subplots, no more than three or four characters and a short time scale.
  5. The story must be double spaced and between 1000 and 1500 words.

School Requirements:

Schools serving students ages 12-18 may register to participate using the form below during the Fall 2019 semester.

  1. Each school must provide a contact person and their e-mail.
  2. The 1st place winner’s short story must be written in English or be translated into English in order to be published in the American Diversity Report
  3. The 1st place winner’s story must be submitted online by May 1, 2020. Directions will be provided to the contact person.
  4. The names of the 2nd and 3rd place winners and the titles of their stories will also be mentioned in the American Diversity Report.
  5. A minimum of one judge per school is required. The judge may be a teacher, administrator, or published author in the community.
  6. We suggest that our Short Story Writing Guide be used to assist students in their writing.

Scroll down for  Short Story Writing Guide
Download

Judges Criteria

Judges will use the following criteria and report the  students with the highest totals of points (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) by May 1, 2020.

General Merit (25 pts)

  1. Ideas (single storyline, no subplots, 3-4 characters, short time scale)
  2. Organization (consistent writing style, consistent mood, tone and space)
  3. Wording (appropriate language, brief descriptions)
  4. Flavor/Engaging

Mechanics (25 pts)

  1. Word usage
  2. Punctuation/Capitalization
  3. Spelling

Overall Effect (50 pts)

  1. Minimum background
  2. concise dialogue
  3. no lengthy preamble
  4. no contrived ending

WINNERS:

Judges report 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners
Awards courtesy of English with Mary Moore LLC

1ST PLACE- TROPHY AWARD
Story published in the American Diversity Report

2nd and 3rd PLACE = Certificate Awards
Names & story titles mentioned in the American Diversity Report

___________________

**SHORT STORY WRITING GUIDE – SPECIAL DISCOUNT – ONLY $3.50 usd – get DOWNLOAD


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What Makes Someone Latinx? – by Susana Rinderle and Addy Chulef

It’s More Than Just DNA

Camila, a successful professional, grew up in Buenos Aires with an Argentinian mom and a Guatemalan dad. Her native language is Spanish, and she dances tango and sips yerba mate.

But when asked about her cultural identity, “Latina” is not her first answer. “Because my grandparents are European Jews who migrated to South America and I grew up celebrating Jewish traditions and learning Hebrew, I feel more connected to Israel than Argentina,” she says. “I am a Latina, but I’m other identities too that mean as much to me.”

In an era when diversity goals categorize people into simple identity boxes, Camila’s story is not unique, and raises questions: What makes someone Latina? Is it DNA? Parents from Latin America? Who has the right to claim a Latinx identity?

Susana, one of Camila’s colleagues, has a similar experience but a different story. A fluent Spanish speaker with dark brown hair, she studied, worked, and lived in Mexico for many years – including dancing and singing backup in a grupo versátil band. Most of her closest friends, romantic partners and godchildren are Mexican.

For decades, many people have assumed Susana is Latina — but she is racially White. While Latinx multiracial heritage includes White Europeans, Susana has no Latin American DNA. Can she declare she is culturally Latina? 

The Impact of Latinx Multi-dimensional Identities

Identity – one’s sense of self – is a core and ancient human need. For millennia, identity has been synonymous with belonging, and belonging synonymous with safety and sustenance. This belonging was granted through the happenstance of one’s birth – random genetics and geography.

What forms our identity today is far more complex, nuanced and dynamic. Navigating a world where name and appearance don’t always indicate affiliation can be disorienting. However, as growing trends in migration, interracial mixing and cross-cultural contact continue, learning to navigate this world is a must-have. Latinxs are the vanguard of a trend in multi-identity that will affect more people over time.

This trend presents three major challenges:

  • Multi-identity people face challenging cognitive and social complexities. As genetic and geographical borders blur, more people have more identities to manage. Managing them through “code switching” can require greater awareness and brain power as well as skill, which can be stressful or confusing. While there is freedom in identity fluidity, there is also limitation in the loss of a singular personal point of reference.
  • Multi-identity people disrupt traditional identity categories. While many argue that the U.S. penchant for racial categorization is divisive and outdated, brain science indicates that we do notice physical traits in others we categorize as racial, then assign qualities based on those traits. Connecting identities to outcomes helps institutions track whether or not their policies and practices are equitable. But when identities become increasingly blurry and fluid, such data lose their usefulness. Eventually institutions will have to redefine what “diversity” means, and re-examine how to track equity and progress.
  • Greater disorientation and disconnect for everyone. Not always knowing “what” another person “is,” nor having clear norms for how to identify someone, presents a new challenge for our species. People may be less likely to engage deeply with one another for fear of making a wrong assumption. Those with multidimensional identities can experience exclusion or bigotry towards their non-visible identities. They also bear the burden of managing others’ confusion and questioning when those identities are revealed.

Creating inclusive environments for multi-identity individuals

The following six practices can create more inclusive environments for multi-identity people:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be unsure, or to guess. Noticing that you’re not sure about someone’s identity, and maintaining curiosity, will keep your brain from solidifying around the initial assumptions we all make when meeting someone new. Have fun inside your mind trying to guess, but be careful about guessing out loud until you know someone better.
  2. Be curious and listen for cues. This isn’t stereotyping, it’s discovery. Learning about another person’s identities and seeing all their selves respects their full humanity and creates connection. Listen to how they talk and what they say. If they trust you, multi-identity individuals will give you clues about who they are.
  3. Consider asking. If rapport and trust have been built, most multi-identity people appreciate the question. It shows that you understand identity is important to them, and that you want to know all of their selves. Steer away from clichéd questions like “Where are you from?” and try “May I ask, how do you identify culturally?” Avoid direct or continued probing if the person’s body language indicates discomfort.
  4. Catch and check your assumptions. Camila recalls her first Mexican restaurant experience in grad school where her friends asked her what she’d recommend from the menu. She answered: “You probably don’t want my advice. Tacos are shoe heels, burritos are donkeys, and fajitas…means ‘girdles!’” Another approach might be, “Camila, I’m not sure of your background, do you have any insight into this menu?” Pay close attention to nonverbal feedback to gauge how your good intentions are received.
  5. Focus on what a person’s identity means to them, not what it means to you. An identity label is an entry point, not the entire story. Once you discover someone is Brazilian, you risk damaging connection if you immediately start talking about your trip to Rio. Balance curiosity with respect – the other person may not be interested in satisfying your curiosity. Avoid treating them as your personal tour guide or cultural interpreter (“Your dad was Mexican? How did he treat your mom, was he ‘macho’?”). Such conversations aren’t taboo, but they will emerge organically as trust is built.
  6. Reflect the person’s identity back to them. Spell and pronounce the person’s name accurately and avoid shortening it or creating a nickname. Not everyone named Pamela likes to be called Pam; some who pronounce their name as “George” spell it “Jorge.” When in doubt, ask. Never contradict or tell someone how they should name or identify themselves.

Multi-identity people like Latinxs play a critical role in bringing the “should” reality of identity closer by disrupting what “is.” Camila, Susana and others like them embody a new approach where identity is defined by both embracing and transcending the simple facts of a DNA test.

Note: Names and some details have been changed to protect anonymity.

The Art of Perseverance & Endurance

Deborah LevineHear Deborah Levine’s interview with Rabbi Tzvi and learn about the art of perseverance and endurance. She shares her personal stories that are captured in her memoir, The Magic Marble Tree.  In this interview Deborah talks about her journey through pain and incapacitation and why she decided to  write the book.

Click below to hear true stories that will inspire you to Never Give Up!

Talk Show Field Day – by Deborah Levine

(originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Talk Show Field DayThe latest thing in political discourse is a doozie. The liberal “Squad” has become the hate target of the week, revving up the President’s campaign rally in Florida. Charges of racism are flying all over the place after the “Send her back” chant. Thirteen seconds went by as the President sat back and took it all in. While push back was furious with much “racist” name calling applied to Trump. He disavowed those chants the next day and claimed he’d immediately started to talk fast to silence the unruly crowd. Talk show hosts had a field day with that one. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah inserted a video of Olympic track star Usain Bolt winning a medal in the same time it took before Trump spoke.

Trump basked in the congratulations of a right-wing British commentator known for hateful anti-Muslims and anti-Semitic remarks. But I doubt anyone in the UK or the US was surprised when Trump immediately turned around and ranted about the Squad’s anti-Semitism and racism. Our political warming is producing unprecedented heat waves, stoked by increasingly divisive leadership.

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Nurturing and Humility in Leadership – by Deborah Levine

I have been puzzled by colleagues congratulating me on my humility. What are these folks talking about? People who knew me years ago would definitely be amused by that. At best, I was described as “Sweet but Stern.” At my boldest, I was told that I could terrorize entire cities. Community leaders had a white-knuckled grasp on their chairs when I tersely announce my intention to speak off-the-record. Not even a voice from the back of the room calling out, “Oh ho, this should be good!” slowed me down.

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