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, 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.

Religious Diversity on the Road – by Deborah Levine


I was excited to return to Cincinnati where my father had been the CFO of the American Jewish Archives. I was on the road, speaking on Religious Diversity in our Schools and at Work at the invitation of a Women of Faith event sponsored by American Jewish Committee, Xavier University & the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Now that so much of our work is done online and out teams communicate through cyberspace, it’s vital that cultural awareness, sensitivity, and competence in the area of religious diversity be part of the leadership tool box. Lessons learned from in-person presentations like this one should be reviewed and updated for  a new world of long-distance work.

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ADR Advisors Share Their Pandemic Thoughts


All of us at the American Diversity Report express our hopes for our readers’ safety and well being.  See their diverse thoughts of the ADR Advisors on the pandemic situation.

Carlos Cortez
Carlos Cortez

Dr. Carlos Cortés, ADR Advisor

Dear champions of diversity,  I hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and weathering the economic storm.  When this siege is over — as long as it may take — we’ll all have lots of work to do in the pursuit of a future of greater justice, equity, and inclusivity.


Elwood WatsonDr. Elwood Watson: ADR Peer Review Team

Dear ADR readers, The nation is undoubtedly experiencing a significantly challenging moment. While it is important that all of us aggressively acknowledge the gravity of the current crisis directly facing us and astutely adhere to the crucial, if not possibly, life saving advice being dispensed to us by medical expert from across the globe, it is also  imperative that we not allow our feelings and emotions to be overtaken and paralyzed by fear and despair. This nation has always, sporadically endured dramatically transformative crises and each time, we have emerged out of the temporary period of darkness stronger and in some cases, wiser after the fact.  We as Americans are a resilient people and there is no doubt that we will survive this current setback. In the meantime, use common sense, stay safe and remain psychologically strong. 

Beth LynneDr. Beth Lynne: ADR Peer Review Team

I would like to express that we are all in this as a society. We need to keep our sense of humanity and watch out for each other. Although we may not always agree with the lawmakers, we need to heed their recommendations and requirements to stay put and not put those who are disabled, compromised by health, or elderly at risk. If you are bored or just wish to help others, assist those with children at home virtually by helping educate with engaging activities, simply to aid parents with some variety.  Those of you with children, keep them home so they are not putting themselves and others in harm’s way. Ask older people who are alone and housebound if they need help ordering groceries and essentials. Consider how lucky we are, to have so much technology at our disposal—try to spread the word that everything will be okay once again, that we are strong and will come out of this stronger and more aware.

Mauricio Velásquez

Mauricio Velásquez: ADR Advisor

What I know about Stress Management – you should only stress about what you can control. I know these are trying and extraordinary times but we need to be vigilant about taking care of ourselves first. I am eating better, sleeping more, exercising more (all help with stress and anxiety). Trying to finish a book I had started and I am definitely catching up with all of my past or pending reading. Wishing all calm nerves, quality time with family and friends (virtual). I am also praying a lot. I also try to see the bright side – less pollution, more quality time with my family (my son is home from college) and dog Max. Had a fire in my fire pit last night. Do the things you have always neglected not to do because you did not have the time. Oh yes – don’t watch a lot of news (you will go crazy).
Best to all!!!!

Howie Comen
Howard Comen

 Howie Comen: Coordinator ADR New Beginnings

I am a 32 year veteran of recognizing the need to defeat hate and bring all segments of society onto the same team to work for the common good.  I see the evil virus as a personification of what is wrong with humanity. This evil attacks humanity regardless of age, sex, faith, economic level, or any identifier of differences. This evil attacks at the very heart of nations, and stops the flow of economics,  It attacks this lifeblood of nations without regard to the economic, political, or faith system prevalent.
          This hate has infected the hearts and minds of humanity since the time of Adam and Eve. In this age it appears to me that God dwells locked away within the dark recesses of most of humanity’s hearts. This evil will unleash a team that crosses borders, and every geopolitical division on the face of the globe to defeat it. If it is to be defeated.
          God created man and woman to procreate. I feel this applies to everything on earth. If we want to defeat this evil virus it will take enough of humanity to agree to let God out and create a New Beginning with teams led by men and women equally on this defense as well as to develop humanity’s next steps.

Dr. Cynthia Jackson
Dr. Cynthia Jackson

Dr. Cynthia Jackson:  ADR Peer Review Team

To our American Diversity Report Readers: I’m thankful and grateful for your continuous support, especially during these uncertain times of inevitable change that COVID-19 pandemic has presented to us all. As uncertain as the nation appears to be at the moment, we will preserve and as an organization, we’re committed to safeguarding business continuity to best serve our community partners and readers. We’re confident that the impact of COVID-19 will not affect our obligations to you. It’s imperative that we continue to support and encourage one another, while following the latest advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the local Department of Public Health to protect ourselves and prevent the spread of the virus – together we will overcome this.  Again, we thank you for your trust in us and support.

David Grinberg
David Grinberg

David Grinberg, ADR Advisor

As we meticulously wash our hands to prevent contracting the novel coronavirus, we must also be mindful to cleanse our hearts of hatred during this period of pandemic. Unfortunately, as history has shown, discrimination, blame, hate speech and stereotypes are too easily cast by some sinister elements of society at groups from diverse backgrounds and/or vulnerable populations. But fear mongering and blame shifting cannot be tolerated, especially during a national and global crisis in which civility and kindness should extend to everyone — regardless of race, color, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or other factors.

Advisory Board - Marc Brenman
Marc Brenman

Marc Brenman: ADR Advisor

If this pandemic is as threatening as some “experts” say, we probably want to take some steps that have worked in the past. There’s now an overemphasis on testing. Does anyone remember mass “testing” for any other viral disease?
There should be more emphasis on treatment and amelioration of symptoms. This means building up hospital capacity, many more ventilators, calling back retired medical personnel (A newly retired MD friend tried to volunteer to rejoin her hospital, but never heard back), using the US military’s capacity for chemical and biological warfare response. Don’t believe the Department of Defense claims of not having this capacity. They’ve had it since the Cold War: mobile hospitals (hospitals in containers), hyperbaric units, clean rooms where electronic chips are manufactured (they have negative air pressure similar to hospital isolation units), and radiological facilities as well as moon suits and personal protective equipment (PPE).
           There’s no excuse for not vastly ramping up production of PPE including N95 masks. There are also some old-fashioned responses, like killing the virus in situ. Soldiers, prisoners of war, and displaced people in and after World War II were sprayed with DDT to kill lice and other vermin, vectors of disease. I lived in the Middle East in the 1950’s and 1960’s when men would walk down the street spraying DDT or whatever they used to kill mosquitos. Airplanes sprayed chemicals on agricultural fields to kill plant diseases.
                Today, it’s the coronavirus that we must kill. Instead of leaping to steps that restrain human interaction, we need more imagination and marshaling of resources to do so.

John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone, ADR Poetry Editor

I am thankful for venues like ADR who appreciate their readers and continue to connect with them, especially in times like these. What kind of times are these ? Adrienne Rich tells us in a deeply moving poem by that name. It is in times like these when we are self-isolated that we need all the more to connect. And though it can’t be done with hugs (and kisses), we can still touch each other’s minds with words on a page. This will connect us. It was C. S. Lewis who said, We read to know we are not alone.” “So read, my friends, read and know that you are appreciated and cherished.

Terry Howard
Terry Howard

Terry Howard, ADR Advisor

As much as I enjoy writing, that joy pales by comparison to our readers who inspire us to both rant and rave, cajole and console, to stretch comfort zone, to take them to the edge before reeling them back in. My words of wisdom? Just keep on reading the ADR and the great work that Deborah Levine continues to do for our community.

Soumaya Khalifa

Soumaya Khalifa, ADR Advisor

The last couple of weeks have been unprecedented in just about everyone’s lives. We are seeing shutdowns, lockdowns, grocery stores with empty shelves, no toilet paper or sanitizers in stores, keeping a physical distance, kids are staying home from schools and joining their classmates via Zoom while parents and sometimes grandparents in the same household are also doing their work through the same platform, most non-essential stores and services are closed until further notice and the list goes on. It is not an easy adjustment since there are a lot of unknowns. One silver lining for me to rediscover what is important in life. For me, I am very grateful to so many people – many I don’t even know. I want to start off by thanking the readers of the American Diversity Report and the organizers as without you we would not be here. There are many many unsung heroes that I also want to thank and that including our healthcare providers, first responders, scientists, grocery store workers, delivery folks, and so many many more. The silver lining for me is increased gratitude for all the amazing people around us. Thank you!

ADR Management Consulting Award

Deborah Levine and the American Diversity Report Receives 2020 Chattanooga Award

CHATTANOOGA March 11, 2020 — Deborah Levine has been selected for the 2020 Chattanooga Award in the Management Consulting Services category by the Chattanooga Award Program.

Each year, the Chattanooga Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Chattanooga area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2020 Chattanooga Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Chattanooga Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Chattanooga Award Program

The Chattanooga Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Chattanooga area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Chattanooga Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

‘Tis the Season of Love, but the Era of Hate – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

DEBORAH LEVINEThis time of year should be all about kindness, generosity, and, of course, love. But there’s precious little love in the air these days. Whether watching the news, looking at Face Book, or checking out Twitter, what we see is the glorification of snark. Insults, meanness, threats, and derogatory language permeate every thread of our society’s fabric. We are at war with each other and love is hard to come by. So I resorted to love expressed in a different era, in a different war.   

I opened the box of love letters that my parents wrote each other during and towards the end of World War II. Dad was a US military officer assigned to interrogate Nazi prisoners of war in Germany. Mom had gone back to her parents in Bermuda to have her baby. Dad didn’t get to see my older brother Joe until he was about one year old. In his seventies, Dad called his letters “just so much love-sick whining”.  But I take heart that in one of the ugliest times in history, love prevailed as did faith in a better future.

Continue reading ‘Tis the Season of Love, but the Era of Hate – by Deborah Levine

Hate: Everything old is new again – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

DEBORAH LEVINEThe United Nations designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated this week, to remember the six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of the Holocaust. This Day marks the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a set of work-death camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. The hope is to confront hatred and make sure that we do not forget, ignore, or stay silent on the lessons of this history.

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Ladies Night’s New Decade – by Deborah Levine

DEBORAH LEVINEIt’s 2020 and there’s a lot of buzz about stand-out stories of the last decade. One of my favorites is the proposed replacement of the statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest with one of Country Music’s Dolly Parton. The suggestion is a piece of genius! Let’s go from the sombre debate over Forrest’s dark background as a KKK founding member to Dolly, Tennessee’s music icon who makes you want to break out into a chorus of “Rocky Top”.   Who better to represent our state capital than the creator of Dollywood, beloved by the entire country?

Despite her fame, I wonder if Dolly’s name would have come up if it weren’t for the #MeToo movement. Not everyone was charmed by the movement, but it was definitely a cultural shift that changed our culture as well quite a few prominent lives. As it ripped through the internet like wild fire, women came forward with “Enough is Enough” stories of sexual harassment, assault, and misbehavior. Yes, there’s been push back and countersuits, but there are also major strides in women’s roles that go far beyond removing powerful men like Harvey Weinstein from their positions.

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Dr. Elwood Watson: African American History

African American History
Dr. Elwood Watson

Dr. Elwood Watson is Professor of History and African American Studies at East Tennessee State University. His areas of specialty are in 20th Century Post World War II U.S. History, African American History, African American Studies, Gender Studies, Popular Culture, and ethnographic studies. He is one of the editors of Mentoring Faculty of Color: Essays on Professional Development and Advancement in Colleges and Universities. In addition, he is the recipient of the Faculty Teaching Award and Faculty Distinguished Research Award from the College of Arts & Science. See the review of his latest book, Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America.

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Advisors Perspectives on 2020 Trends -Part 2

Sheila Boyington

As we can see trends in 2020 around Diversity and Politics seem less than positive as things in the US seemingly can not evolve past party over politics.  While that appears in the political arena, the fact that economy is full stream ahead, that helps people feel hopeful.   

 Diversity is still of concern, as it  gets caught up in politics.   Our national motto is E Pluribus Unum which means Out of Many….One.   This speaks to our two greatest strengths – unity and diversity.   When our unity is weakened our diversity is weakened because when we aren’t fully appreciative of each other’s heritage, ethnicity or beliefs, we are not at our best.

When we are fully pluralistic and totally appreciate of  every single individual as equal under our constitution, we are strongest However, we have actually been through more difficult times than these as history reveals. 

The critical question is…..will leadership once again  pull us together and face the future as One Nation- One People?   Leadership has always been essential to progress in the United States.   Hope springs eternal so it is important to keep the hope that we will bounce back once again unified and strong.  Therefore continuing to highlight the bright spots as ADR and other outlets do, will help to spring that eternal hope
~ Sheila Boyington

Howard Comen

2020 will be a New Beginning as we approach the 400th anniversary of the landing at Plymouth Rock. It will be a world turning a corner, We will look backward 400 years and correct the inequalities. Men and women will become equal in developing this New Beginning. All faiths, races, cultures, and nations must respect their differences and celebrate their similarities and work together to identify and solve local community problems and share this information globally. The Red, Black, Yellow and White Nations must stand up and realize we are really one race, just different shades.

We need to build on the 400-year assessment of the past and look forward to the next 400 years where God is released from being locked away in the hearts of the selfish, greedy, power-hungry citizens. ADR is developing a platform using local Mayors of cities and towns to do this from the grassroots upwards. Our five-year plan is being developed in cooperation with the U.N. World Interfaith Harmony Week Project, the World Conference of Mayors, and the Historic Black Townships and Settlements Alliance. We will be expanding the ADR City of Chattanooga Council Against Hate globally.
~ Howard Comen

Keith Weedman
Keith Weedman

We each have a responsibility to give back to our communities. I choose to give back by addressing socio-economic diversity through building relationships across socio-economic boundaries. Giving back in this way provides you as a leader the opportunity to elevate key leadership skills. When there is no paycheck between you and someone you want to help, then you can elevate your skill building mutual trust and respect. They may first question your motives when you take a personal interest in them and in their situation.

Through establishing mutual trust and respect, you will discover an abundance of untapped potential. You can also discover leadership potential hidden within you. When you help them see and unleash their potential, you will elevate your skill to change the lives of the people you lead by unleashing their hidden potential. What you learn as a mentor or tutor to help someone from a different socio-economic status will make you a more effective leader. If you mentor or tutor a child or youth from across socio-economic boundaries, then do this without critically judging their parents. When you critically judge their parents, you undermine how the children and youth see themselves because of the bond between parents and their children.
~Keith Weedman

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Coronavirus Goes Global – by Deborah Levine

In the early days of the coronavirus, during the Lunar New Year Celebration, I asked my cousin who had worked in Asia years ago if Americans would pay attention to what was happening. The coronavirus family include the common cold, but this virus had never been seen before. Despite reports that 41 people died and 1,400 were infected, my cousin was not optimistic that Americans were paying attention, at least not yet. Early information reported that only a quarter of cases were severe and the dead were mostly elderly people with pre-existing conditions.  But the muted reaction in the USA is changing, as it did in China. 

Despite the downplay of the severity,  pharmacies in Wuhan began to run out of supplies and officials urged people to avoid crowds. Soon the city was on lockdown with no public transportation in or out of the city. McDonald’s and Starbucks closed and the US, France and Russia tried to evacuate their nationals. Disney closed its resort in Shanghai and tourism began to shut down. A friend reported that all of her consulting work in China had been cancelled through May.

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Swastikas and nooses: campus hate speech or free speech? – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

DEBORAH LEVINENever heard of UHBIOC? Think again. The initials stand for Uncivil, Hate and Bias Incidents on Campus (UHBIOC) and rarely a week goes by without an incident on campuses. CNN reported 5 incidents in just one week with swastikas and nooses on campuses in Georgia, Wisconsin, Alabama, New York, and Iowa. Now the big question for colleges is whether swastikas and nooses legally represents hate speech or free speech.

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