Category Archives: Authors

Perspective on Being Black – Gail Dawson

I woke up this morning with recent events and names like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Christian Cooper swimming through my mind and decided to take a walk to clear my head. As I stepped outside, I took a quick pause to consider my safety. Since the tornado on Easter, I have been staying with friends in a different neighborhood and I wasn’t sure of how I would be received.

As I started my walk, another friend’s Facebook post also crossed my mind. She posted her comments and a tweet from Quinta Brunson which says, “Being black is having a good day and then seeing another black person was killed for no reason. Then you have to think about/talk about that all day or don’t and numb yourself. It’s a constant emotional war. . . Meanwhile you still need to work and worry about everything else.”

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Opening for Business – by Shelton Goode and Cathy Light

Finding New Ways to Serve
Employees, Customers and Communities

Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring the effects of the coronavirus on organizations and ways to mitigate the cultural and economic damage they face. To assess the current landscape, we conducted an informal survey of roughly 80 organizations from across metro Atlanta in partnership with HR Executive Roundtable and the HR Leadership Forum. The sample includes organizations from a variety of industry groups. While it is not representative of the U.S., Georgia, or metro Atlanta economy as a whole, it does capture the intense distress being experienced by mid-size, tech, and retail-oriented companies — a snapshot of the crisis, collected recently. We wanted to understand how organizations were dealing with the disruption and what they planned to do once their companies decided to re-open. We were particularly interested in their human resource and leadership resilience and the challenges of bringing employees back to work.

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Masking or unmasking America – by Terry Howard

I ask you this before we get to the story below: Which side are you more sympathetic – those who argue for protection of their freedom not to wear protective masks or those who insist that others wear mask to ensure the safety of them and others?

Let’s go to the story.

“I will not trade my freedom for your safety” – those are the actual words printed in large red letters on a poster carried by a mustachioed, pistol carrying protester with the American flag hovering in the background on Facebook.

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DO NOT RESUSCITATE – by Howard Gerald Comen

The Hippocratic Oath
Has an expiration date
My Mom and John both
Suffered the same fate

Do Not Resuscitate
They will just let you die
At 95 she’s expendable
They won’t even try

She birthed two kids
She broke two ribs
Had a cancer scare
But Nobody Cares

My friend’s brother died
He was only 59
The hospital refused to operate
Saying he didn’t cooperate

They accused him of stopping chemo
In reality he just ran out of dough
Another hospital agreed
To take him after 3 weeks
But he died on the two-hour ride

Image credit: The Scientific Student

Corporal Hitler’s Show Dog – by Michael Gaspeny

During the Great War, Hitler rescued a terrier
sniffing oil in a crater. The dog lapped water
from Adolf’s palm, slid under his coat, snout
poking through the holes. Adolf named the boy
Fuchsl (The Fox) and taught him to entertain.

Climbing ladders and springing backwards,
Fuchsl brought the Big Top to the trenches.
A smitten lieutenant asked to buy him;
Adolf declined. But when Fuchsl was barred
from a troop train, the officer grabbed the dog.

Why couldn’t machine-gun fire
have aerated the future Fuehrer
as it soon riddled the lieutenant?
Why couldn’t Adolf, instead of Fuchsl,
have inspected a stick grenade?

I have faith the answers await me
at the Will Call window,
when I’m dragged away.

Image credit: Hitler Portrait 4 (a Nazi Third Reich Wallpaper Image from the Historical collection of ayay.co.uk) has been colorized and sumperimposed with silhouettes of a terrier pursuing a rat.

Editor’s Note: The story about Hitler’s first dog as depicted in the poem:

Hitler’s first dog came to him when he was in the trenches during World War I. A small white Jack Russell terrier, apparently the property of an English soldier, was chasing a rat and inadvertently jumped in the trenches where Hitler was stationed. Hitler caught the terrier and made the dog his own. He called him Fuchsl, meaning Little Fox. Over twenty years later, Hitler would remember, “How many times at Fromelles, during the First World War, I studied my dog Fuchsl… I used to watch him as if he’d been a man. It was crazy how fond I was of the beast.”

In August of 1917, while Hitler’s regiment was on the way to Alsace for rest, a railroad official offered Hitler 200 marks for Fuchsl. Hitler refused, saying, “You could give me two hundred thousand and you wouldn’t get him!” But after Hitler had left the station with the troops, Hitler couldn’t find Fuchsl and realized that his cherished dog had been taken. “I was desperate,” he said, “the swine who stole my dog doesn’t know what he did to me.” [Ref. https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/heel-hitler]

I am Sienna – by Gail Hayes

“You’re the prettiest, smartest girl in the world and nothing can change that,” my grandmother said as she hugged me. There was no other song I longed to hear or no melody that sounded so sweet. 

In 1961, I turned six years old and my family moved from North Carolina to Okinawa, Japan. The Civil Rights movement was in full swing as we moved to a foreign country. I was oblivious to all the noises of race that surrounded me. What I did not know was that ethnicity touches you wherever you go and you cannot hide from it.

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Mastering the Unwritten Rules of the Game: Political IQ – by Nancy Halpern

Many of us begin new jobs with hope, enthusiasm, commitment and drive. And then something happens. We come up across obstacles we struggle to navigate. Bosses we thought were champions go silent and become unavailable. Colleagues who should be supportive thought partners seem to be hoarding information and have no time for us.

It’s easy to blame ourselves, and even easier to blame someone else. But the truth is, it’s bigger than that. When people are brought together, they inevitably compete for limited resources. The problem is that resources are always limited whether it’s additional headcount, a promotion, a manager’s attention, or a runway for your new idea. And that competition is the definition of office politics.

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Jogging in America with my Black son – by Terry Howard

My son’s an avid jogger. For him, circling the track in a nearby park enough times to reach his 4-5-mile daily goal is no big deal. Shucks, his jogging regimen was enough motivation for me to join him on that track; not as a jogger but, okay, as a 2 mile “fast walker.” Thus, I’d not given more than a passing thought on the inherent dangers of “jogging while Black” until the Ahmaud Arbery story went viral.

“That could have been my son,” was the disconcerting thought – and rage – that unsettled my mind as I watched that sickening video and heard those gunshots that snuffed out that young man’s life.

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Run Shay, Run – by Terry Howard

Your phone rang late that evening:
You: Hello my friend. What’s up?
Caller: Wanted to let you know of some bad news.
“So-so” passed away unexpectedly.
You: Oh my! I meant to call him months ago but never got around to it!

With the spread of COVID -19, I suspect that many of you dread getting that phone call that someone you knew came down with the disease. Or worse. And little did we know. In fact, little does anyone always know “why” when tragedy unfold in our lives. But in many ways, we do have control over what can we do now before that inevitable bad news heads our way.
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What to do about those elbows -by Terry Howard

BREAKING NEWS: Airlines banish the dreaded middle seat (USA Today, 4/23/20)

To further the goal of social distancing driven by COVID-19, the hugely unpopular middle seat has been ushered into retirement leaving millions of dangling elbows, including mine, breathing a sigh of relief.

Years ago, I pushed my way through first class out of breath having barely made the flight. I eased my way down the aisle and — as is the practice with Southwest Airlines — tried to find the first available seat. Not surprising, the only remaining ones were those in the middle.

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