All posts by Terry Howard

© Terry Howard is an award-winning writer and storyteller. He is also a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Shenandoah Valley Hit, BlackMarket.com, The Echo World, the Appreciate You Magazine, The Valley Trail and co-founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers’ guild, and recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award.

When anti-Semitism raises its ugly head – by Terry Howard

Terry Howard
Terry Howard

In one of the most memorable forewarnings in social history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!”

Hold that premonition in the front of your mind now and in the days, weeks and months ahead. If you remember nothing else about this narrative, I urge you to remember that line.

“Donna” is a writer. She’s also Jewish, does podcasts and publishes a newspaper column. She takes risks with the topics she takes on which has, on an occasion, drawn the ire of hate groups in the US and from abroad. Yet “Donna” just keeps on writing.

“Donna” is also a friend and, as one can certainly understand, finds the recent spate of violence against Jews more unnerving than maybe for those of us who aren’t Jewish. (For her safety, I’ve chosen not to publish her actual name or location.).

You see, I reached out to her recently after the horrific anti-Semitic attacks on Jews and Jewish establishments which culminated with stabbings of multiple people at a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home in New York. I wanted assurance, first and foremost, that she and her husband were safe. I also needed advice on what those of us who aren’t Jewish could do beside uttering the usual “thoughts and prayers” before moving on the other things.

“Thank you, Terry. My husband has my back as do many friends and colleagues like yourself. Yes, what is happening is horrifying. These are scary times to put it mildly.”

Vintage “Donna,” she then turned adamant.

“I have no intention of going underground like many Jews do nowadays, and folks who know me know that about me. If my dad was still alive, he’d be proud but would have a bloody fit. “

“Yeah, ‘thoughts & prayers’ don’t really fit what’s happening. I’d say try visiting your local synagogue and ask if you can attend a Sabbath service. Stay after for the “oneg” (fancy word for snacks) and get the flavor of the congregation. Bring some folks with you if they permit. And get to know the people. Maybe you could write an article on what this anti-Semitism craziness looks like from an African-American perspective.”

Now like so many, we’re often left with what else can we do personally before moving on before the next assault grabs our attention. So in addition to the aforementioned advice from “Donna,” I reached out to several colleagues, including long-time friend, “Lisa,” an Asian-American. We shared our collective disgust with what’s been going on and exchanged ideas about what we in the non-Jewish community could do.

“Terry, I do believe strongly in prayer, so I would not discount the power of prayer. However, one addition may be to include more prayers out loud specifically on those facing religious persecution for their beliefs as I hear similar concerns from my Muslim friends and colleagues as well.”

“One thing we can do is to continue to support great venues that promotes shared values of kindness and how to be an upstander for human rights for all by remembering the past but also recognizing the work is still needed around the world today,” shared another colleague who asked to remain anonymous.

Said another, “A unified effort to focus on shared values of peace, harmony, love, respect, and creating a sense of belonging and inclusion for all would be my wish. If we can amplify the light of the world more to drown out the hate speech and those doing evil in the shadows, we can reach more people who are desperately in need of that hope.”

“Stemming the tide of hatred should start in the school where kids at an early age can learn the basics about tolerance, respect for differences, compassion and sharing,” shared author and playwright “Sheila,” who added that we all can speak up forcefully in the face of injustices.

Added “Lisa,” we can support organizations that promote religious understanding with donations or promoting them on social media and following and liking their posts too.” 

There’s no doubt that Jews have taken anti-Semitism very seriously. We who aren’t Jewish must do the same.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere! – oops, did I say that already?

A New Year’s Legacy Check for Men – by Terry Howard

Hey fellas, years from now with your legacy in mind, how do you think you’d respond to your granddaughter or niece who asks, “Grandpa, what did you do personally to make the world and workplace better for me and women in general?” Jot down your answer to this question along with a few New Year’s resolutions, ones that you can do, and put them aside for now. 

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Let’s look at the challenges that lie ahead when it comes to fostering a more gender inclusive world. But in somewhat a departure from the norm, I’ve decided to talk to those on the seldom mentioned other side of the word gender…men!

So guys, here’s a list of questions for a deeper analysis and reflection. If you are a white male, man of color (Asian, Latino, African American) or gay male, answer these from your worldview or personal experiences:

Continue reading A New Year’s Legacy Check for Men – by Terry Howard

SAFETY ALERT Part 2 – by Terry Howard

A personal action plan for the holidays!

Picture this: There’s a beautifully manicured house a few blocks from yours. The hedges are lit up with Christmas lights. A new BMW is parked in the driveway. Just outside the door, there’s a nice 11’/24’ picture of your neighbor’s son on a poster donning his black and yellow basketball uniform. All is well right? Well, yesterday you learned that the house, which was empty at the time, was burglarized. 

Question: Based on this actual description, what were the clues for potential burglars that the house was there for the taking? (The answer is at the end of this article).
Continue reading SAFETY ALERT Part 2 – by Terry Howard

SAFETY ALERT Part 1 – by Terry Howard

Sometime between a Sunday afternoon nap, raking leaves from my yard and watching NFL games in my “man cave” yesterday, I received the following message from my friend Troy from Houston, an emerging author. I read it several times and immediately determined that it must be shared broadly:

Yesterday my wife and I stopped at a local 7-Eleven to gas up her car. The card reader on the pump didn’t work, so I headed inside to pay for the gas. While I was inside, a white male in his mid-50’s drove up in front of the car and got my wife’s attention. She rolled her window down and this man told her that she had a dent in the back of her car. She opened the car door and was about to get out as I walked up. She told me what the guy had said about the dent. I looked at the car and said, “What dent?” He got out of his truck, came and looked at the back and said, “My eyes must have been playing tricks on me.” Got back in his truck and drove off.

Continue reading SAFETY ALERT Part 1 – by Terry Howard

Our Gift of Harriet – by Terry Howard

His name is Stan Maclin. He lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, having moved there 20 years ago. He is the founder and curator of the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center in that city.

It should come as no surprise then that Maclin’s Center has garnered national attention and many phone calls ignited by the recently released movie “Harriett,” the story of Harriett Tubman who single handedly made many forays deep into the south to free slaves.

When asked why he started the Center, in words that undoubtedly flowed from his mouth hundreds of times over the years, Maclin said that he wanted to open a place where African Americans can learn about their history, identity, and culture. He wanted to be able the educate future generations so that history does not repeat itself.

Continue reading Our Gift of Harriet – by Terry Howard

Hurdling Heavy Accents – by Terry Howard

Terry Howard
Terry Howard

Perhaps it’s attributable in part to shifting demographics, which has attracted people from across the globe, but there’s no denying the growth in cultures that have permeated Douglas and surrounding Georgia counties, their schools, businesses and neighborhoods. And that growth has been accompanied by an increase in the number of accents and the challenges that come with communicating through accent differences.

No matter how hard I work at it, I often struggle attempting to communicate with someone with a “heavy” accent. Am I alone? A situation a few years ago, one that left me feeling woefully incompetent, made this poignantly clear. Here’s what happened. Tell me if it resonates.

Continue reading Hurdling Heavy Accents – by Terry Howard

“Whitening” me? – by Terry Howard

In one of his legendary “folks, let’s not air our dirty laundry” features, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts began a recent column, “Blacks, too, judge each other by the color of their skin. How sick is that?” with this loaded old folk saying: 

“If you’re white, you’re all right. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re black, get back.”

Now the funny – well, no, maybe not always so funny – thing is that every now and then someone will put something out that makes you reflect on your own experience relative to that issue. And that old saying from my past is one.

Continue reading “Whitening” me? – by Terry Howard

The Courage of the Mystery Man – by Terry Howard

      “… You can call it fate or call it destiny. Sometimes it seems like a mystery. Timing is everything!” ~ Garrett Hedlund

Terry Howard
Terry Howard

Fate? …Destiny? … I cannot explain it.

You see, someone recently sent me a quick read on courageous acts by courageous people. “So, are you trying to tell me something?” I thought to myself while putting the piece aside. Now by coincidence – or destiny? – I remembered that Deborah Levine and Marc Brennan are about to release their long-awaited book, “When Hate Groups March Down Main Street.”

All that said, days later I received the following story from “Mariah,” that provided an opportunity for me to pull all these pieces together:

Continue reading The Courage of the Mystery Man – by Terry Howard

The “N-Word Still Stings! – by Terry Howard

Terry Howard
Terry Howard

BREAKING NEWS: Using slurs to make a point sparks debate on academic freedom. Emory University law professor Robert Saunooke said he tells his students before the start of his first class that there are words and phrases he’ll use that might be uncomfortable (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 9/19/19). And he delivered on that promise by uttering the “N-Word” a couple of times.

“Hey N_ger!”

Boom! Out of nowhere verbal lightning struck me directly. Continue reading The “N-Word Still Stings! – by Terry Howard