Category Archives: Authors R-Z

ADR authors listed by last name R-Z

Special Valentine’s Day – by Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher

There are many different beliefs regarding “Valentine’s Day,” and the most popular one is the celebration of love. When it became commercial; buying boxes of heart shaped chocolates and red roses, is irrelevant. I want to share with my readers why this day is so important to me.

When I was young, every year my father would come home with a box of chocolate for my mother and a beautiful card that she’d tear over. (A bit dramatic for my taste, even as a child, but I wasn’t the one reading the card and at the young age of seven, I didn’t care to.) My father would also buy me a little gift. One year he bought a little heart nick knack and I loved it. I kept it on my dresser and the red clashed with my pink bedroom walls. When my brother got older, he’d buy my mother and me a card and gift. The year he gave us both a porcelain nick knack of a little girl wearing a white dress with long braided blond hair holding a red heart against her chest, I hugged him and had been so thankful. I still have that porcelain girl today. Even at that age, those gifts had more feeling than chocolate or flowers and that’s when the day became special, until it became more so when I met my husband…

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Education and Moral Values – by Sridhar Rangaswamy

Education helps in enlightening our minds and intellect and makes us think differently. Education together with sound moral values and righteous behavior can lead the muse of an excellent superstructure. Education may be a steppingstone to success. It helps us connect and form a bond with individuals from different walks of life.

I come from a rustic that places emphasis and prominence on education and helping others to grow and develop to their full potential. I try and be unique and distinctive and step into the domain and realm of unknown, a path few embark upon. The Tech field, where I work every now and then, can be very dry, dull, and boring. So I dabble in fun things and comedy to boost and invigorate the environment, making the concept of learning and teaching more enjoyable and pleasurable.

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Hate Stories Entering 2020 – by Dr. Elwood Watson

Advisor Dr. Elwood WatsonThe names Grafton E. Thomas , Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, and Keith Thomas Kinnunens are among a few of the many that should, hopefully and highly likely, will live on in infamy. During this past holiday season, these three obviously deeply disturbed individuals engaged in shocking behavior committing , vile, horrific, sadistic, abominable crimes. In the case of Thomas and Kinnunens, murder was the end result.

For the few (probably very few) of you who are unaware of went down, Thomas wielded a machete and stabbed five people at a Hanukkah party in a New York City suburb critically wounding three of the victims. The following day, December 28th, Kinnunens donning a fake beard, wig and long coat, opened fire at the Church of Christ in White Settlement , Texas killing two worshipers before being shot and killed himself. Several days earlier, in Polk County, Iowa , Poole was charged with attempted murder for hate crimes – specifically attempting to murder two young children in two separate instances. Her first victim was a 12 year old Black youth in a Des Moines apartment complex. Franklin hit him with her vehicle and sped off. The young man suffered minor injuries to his leg.

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Epiphany – by Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher

A close friend of mine asked what Little Christmas is. I answered that it’s called the “Epiphany,” and celebrated on the sixth of January when the three wisemen followed the star to Bethlehem in search of baby Jesus to worship and present him with gifts. She then asked why the wisemen followed the star and presented offerings to Jesus. I had no answer. I need an answer for my friend, or I’ll seem dense. I wouldn’t expect her to know being of Hindi religion, just like I don’t know anything about her religion, which makes me want to research it now. Getting back to the point–

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At the El Paso/Juarez Border – by Dr. Barbara Weitz

I got back late Saturday night and, I have to say,  I’m even more frustrated, disheartened and angry than I was before I went.   As I learned instantly from organizations working at the border that first day:  with the restrictive government policies in place right now, there’s not much we can do legally (or illegally).

the borderI was under the impression that I’d be working at the shelters and detention centers, doing anything that needed to be done—working with these people who are desperately trying to claim Political Asylum ; doing anything to help them wile away the hours and days they spend there,  possibly, teaching them some English or geography or anything else that interests them.  I was even ready to help with folding towels or serving meals.  However  the organization I was working with had the volunteers (there were 6 of us that week) spending all day interviewing as many immigrants who walked into CAIM (Mexico’s Center for Comprehensive Migrant Services).  Ironically, CAIM was situated in view of the International Bridge where they had been pushed back across into Juarez by Border Patrol due to the administration’s new MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) more properly dubbed the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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What Makes Someone Latinx? Part 2 – by Susana Rinderle, Addy Chulef

Intersectionality in 2020

Camila and Susana are two Latinx professional women.  Also, they are not Latinx – there is more to them than meets the eye or ear.  Camila grew up in Buenos Aires with an Argentinian mom and a Guatemalan dad, but as the Jewish granddaughter of European immigrants, she feels most connected to Israel.  Susana is biologically White, but as a fluent Spanish speaker with decades of close ties to Mexico, and cultural comfort with Latinos, she often passes as Latinx.

Since most organizations strive to categorize people into simple identity boxes, intersectional multi-identity people like Camila and Susana present challenges we’ve already discussed. “Intersectionality” was coined by scholar and civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how interlocking systems of power affect marginalized people through the combination of our various identities – for example a woman of color’s experience is different from that of a man of color because of her gender. And while there are concrete practices others can adopt that create more inclusive environments for multi-identity people, those like us who live intersectionality every day often struggle with existential questions: What makes someone Latinx?  And who has the right to claim a Latinx identity?

Is identity a choice?

While others can adapt to be more inclusive of multi-identity people and reap the rewards, intersectional individuals have to adapt by engaging the questions our multi-identity raises. When the world constantly asks us to choose between our multiple selves, or regularly dismisses one of them, how do we identify in a way that makes sense and feels right? What do we have the right to identify with?

The individualistic answer would be: you have the right to identify however you wish. This approach is tempting because it’s simple and empowering. However, identity has always been co-created with one’s group because it functions to identify a person as a member of that group and bestow the corresponding benefits and responsibilities. The individualistic answer can be dangerous precisely because of those benefits and responsibilities.

Is it ok to claim a Latinx identity without biological Latinx heritage?

While “passing” as White or male is an historic strategy that women and people of color have long employed to enjoy greater physical safety, work opportunities and social access, proclaiming membership in a community of color without the corresponding genes presents an entirely different dynamic because it represents a “power-down” rather than “power-up” move in the social hierarchy. Doing so at one’s own discretion can confer unearned benefits without taking on the responsibilities. Responsibilities include assuming the duties and disadvantages of the identity. Individuals who claim membership in a community of color only when it’s convenient, and do so without “permission,” are rightly accused of exercising white privilege or cultural appropriation. One need only look to Rachel Dolezal’s infamous “passing” as an African American for an example of the destruction such identity appropriation can cause.

However, if a community confers their identity on an individual, that is another matter. Susana has only identified herself as Latina twice – both in superficial social situations just to see if she could get away with it. On official documents she identifies as White, “other” or “it’s complicated.” However, many Mexicans, Latin@s and Chicano@s have identified her as Mexican, Latina or Chicana for three decades. It’s through an interplay between others’ perceptions and Susana’s own sense of belonging in Latinx culture that her multi-identity was forged.

Is it ok to not identify primarily as Latina if one was born in Latin America?

For intersectional, multi-identity people like Camila, the invitation is also to explore an interplay between self-perception and others’ views. Camila has every right to identify as Jewish instead of Latin American or Argentinian because she is a member of all three identities –in fact, her recent 23&Me genetic test revealed her to be 99% Ashkenazi Jewish. Conversely, she doesn’t have the right to deny the community that raised her their right to view her as Latina since Argentinian and Guatemalan heritage also defined her foundation.

Resolving the dilemmas of identity

Today’s complex identity milieu may require new terms, such as “transcultural.” In a research paper Susana presented at an academic conference in 2003, transculturals are “individuals that find themselves to be more culturally similar to members of groups that are not of their same race or ethnicity but with whom these individuals resonate, and perhaps identify, and by whom they are accepted.”

But being transcultural requires great conscientiousness. “I’ve had to ‘come out’ as White several times to friends, colleagues and clients – a few of whom still don’t believe I’m not biologically Latina,” says Susana. “It would have been easier to just assume a Latina identity. I’ve been selected over Latinos for jobs because I was more fluent in Spanish. I’ve had Chicanos and mexicanos tell me they consider me Latina or a person of color…It’s confusing and I don’t always know what’s right.”

For those like Susana, the invitation is to explore multi-identity with integrity, and to engage in ongoing internal dialogue with their motivations, choices and consequences. For Camila, being an intersectional person means she can choose to identify as both Jewish and Latina without apology – reveling both in Bat Mitzvahs and dancing salsa even if one of her identities prevails as her most defining.

Susana’s and Camila’s stories illustrate how identity is a combination of what we feel or claim as well as how others perceive us. This is what it means to be part of a human community. Taking on whatever identity we think is trendy – or an a-la-carte approach where we take a little of this-and-that without also owning the downsides and duties – is disrespectful and harmful. Identity then becomes like clothing instead of skin, with all the corresponding creative license but superficiality and capriciousness.

A Latinx answer to the question of “right to identity” might be “both-and” instead of “either-or.” The answer lies in the space between personal choice and absolute deference to what the tribe dictates – in an ongoing, active dialogue between self and other, self and society. Perhaps it also lies in the space between “should” and “is.” Many believe identity “should” not matter in how people are perceived and treated, but science as well as our human experience show that what “is” is that we inhabit bodies that others interpret and categorize – and that we interpret and categorize others all day, every day.

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

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How to End the Generation War – by Simma Lieberman

I’ve been facilitating cross-generational dialogues for over ten years. I started them because I was tired of one-dimensional conversations filled with bias and wrong assumptions about people who were older or younger. After the first three sessions, it was clear to me that we have a lot to learn from each other. Cross-generational mentoring became an integral part of my inclusive leadership coaching process

People who participate in my cross-generation dialogues are always surprised at the connections they make with people a lot younger or a lot older. They find new ways to collaborate as whole people with multiple identities.

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Traditional New Year – by Lisa Scuderi-Burkimsher

New Year’s Eve had been a big event in my family. Every year we’d pack up and travel to Long Island spending the holiday at my aunt and uncle’s home with a house full of loved ones. Although I lived in Staten Island, New York at the time, and my cousin Christy lived in Long Island, New York, we were nonetheless close. We looked forward to New Year’s and when it was over, we’d count down the days until the next New Year.

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Diversity Mission: Minority Legal Firm Incubator – By Mauricio Velásquez

Advisor
Mauricio Velásquez

When people talk about “Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices in the legal profession” we hear a lot of the same things over and over again.  Well, I have come across a first, a truly innovative Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leading best practice.  You heard it from me first, right here, right now.

Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To firm for the Patent 300. Harrity recently launched its first Minority Firm Incubator program to help train, develop, and launch minority-owned patent law firms. This paid program is an integral part of the firm’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the increasing diversity of the patent field.

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