I didn’t know Bill Nordmark. And I’m probably not alone. That is until his name appeared on the obituary page of a local newspaper. “Bill Nordmark fought polio as a child and racism as an adult, all the while believing that one person can make a difference,” the opening paragraph read. Two years ago he embarked on a mission to forge better race relations – two people at a time – through what became known as a “Friendship Initiative.”
You see, that line and the rest of the story about Bill Nordmark (I’ll get to some of it further down), conjured up for me a line from one of my favorite authors, William Faulkner. “You move a mountain one stone at a time!”
Continue reading “Two people at a time” – Remembering Bill! – by Terry Howard
NOTE: In part one of this series, My Neighborhood, the author traced his experiences growing up in a small town in segregated America. Part two, The Powerful Voices of Momma Nem, replayed the voices of the black women who raised and held families together during those times. Those two narratives culminated in an idea for a block party. Here is part three of the story.
For us, the block party trek started on one corner and was interrupted along the way to a corner on the far end by surprised looks on faces, hugs, frequent pecks on cheeks and a bite to eat.
On July 4th this year nearly 100 of us participated in the first Baptist Street block party in historic Staunton, Virginia, where folks roamed the bristling street snapping pictures, looking over arts and crafts, chowing down on chicken wings and fried fish, playing games and reconnecting with family and friends they’d not seen in years, decades even. Tears meshed indistinguishably with perspiration as temperatures soared into the low nineties.
Continue reading The 2018 Baptist Street Block Party – by Terry Howard
All savvy employers should know by now that providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities simply makes good business sense in the 21st century global economy. This is especially true in a competitive U.S. labor market.
Unfortunately, not every company has gotten the message.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. This sweeping statute has opened the doors of inclusion and gainful employment to millions of citizens with disabilities nationwide, which has helped to boost business productivity.
Continue reading Why Disability Employment is Good Business: USA Observes ADA Anniversary – By David B. Grinberg
In case you missed it, June 10 marked the 55th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This begs the question: is gender-based wage discrimination still a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace?
Many men might say no. However, it’s a different story for most women. The Equal Pay Act was passed by Congress and signed by President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in the White House Oval Office surrounded by working women.
The Equal Pay Act “affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force, they will find equality in their pay envelope,” said JFK in signing the landmark law.
But if you think pay inequity is a relic, just take a look at the gaping disparity of salaries for men and women in the same or similar jobs inside and outside the C-suite.
Continue reading Gender Pay Gap Persists as Equal Pay Act Turns 55 – By David B. Grinberg
As America pauses to reflect on Memorial Day, the retail and e-commerce industries are once again too busy reflecting on how to lure consumers into holiday shopping sprees.
Yet shouldn’t retailers be more mindful of the countless sacrifices of the U.S. Armed Forces and the many lives lost over the decades in service to our nation?
The retail sector continues to send the wrong message by using revered military holidays simply to boost sales and profits. The true message of Memorial Day is about showing remembrance and gratitude, not greed and profit-mongering.
Continue reading Retailers Dishonor Military on Memorial Day – By David B. Grinberg
For perhaps the first time in the post-industrial organization we have four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace. The increasing diversity resulting from this mix of generations, coupled with an increased mix of cultures, is forcing a seminal shift in both personal and organizational world views. As Millennial expert Lindsey Pollack recently put it: “Stereotypes are silly for lots of reasons, the key one being how quickly they can change given history and context. Years ago it was those hippie Baby Boomers stirring up trouble, and now it’s the “entitled” Millennials overtaking the workplace. Of course, no generation is one monolithic group of people who all behave exactly the same way. So why are we so hung up on generations in the first place? It’s actually important to consider what makes them tick…. In my opinion, learning about people’s different potential identity markers can be a helpful way to better interact with each other. And members of each generation do have traits that differentiate them — a combination of characteristics largely based on the circumstances in which each cohort came of age.”
Continue reading Understanding Generations in the Workplace – by Izzy Gesell
“Diversity defines the health and wealth of nations in a new century. Mighty is the mongrel. The hybrid is hip. The impure, the mélange, the adulterated, the blemished, the rough, the black-and-blue, and the mix-and-match – these people are inheriting the earth. Mixing is the new norm. Mixing trumps isolation. It spawns creativity, nourishes the human spirit, spurs economic growth and empowers nations.”
As much as I’d like to, I can’t claim that the above quote belongs to yours truly. No. Its actual source is G. Pascal Zachary’s, The Global Me: New Cosmopolitans and the Competitive Edge.
Initial reactions aside, you have to admit that this one’s a classic thought-provoker. Once I ceased quibbling over Zachary’s intriguing choice of words and began really processing this on a much deeper level, it started to hit home.
And here’s why.
Continue reading Mighty is the Mongrel: Diversity – by Terry Howard
Hey predators, Bubba awaits!
“Rubbernecking,” is the act of staring at something of interest; a trait that’s associated with morbid curiosity.
It can be the cause of traffic (and cyber) jams as drivers (and readers) slow down to catch a glimpse of what happened in a crash. It seems that the more grisly the scene the more we stare. Now I naively thought I could do a smooth pirouette around the recent “crash” – the guilty verdict in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial that is – but nah, I had to do a U-turn and pivot back to it for two compelling reasons – the truth and the teachable opportunities it provides
(Now Cosby fans, you may want to skip the next paragraph).
Continue reading The Cosby Teachable Moment – by Terry Howard
Ever watch the old sitcom Hogan’s Heroes? If so, no doubt you’ll remember Sergeant Schultz’s famous line, “I know nothing … nnnoooTTTTHHHING!” when he witnesses Hogan’s shenanigans.
During these times of mind boggling incivility, blatant disrespect, school shootings and outright bullying, I find it disheartening to watch those who sit quietly on the sidelines (or behind them on the stage) while someone verbally demeans others with vicious bullying rhetoric. It’s unbelievable how calling someone a “SOB” and other unprintable words have become an acceptable norm these days.
And even worse are the spineless ones not wanting to offend their political base who choose to stand silently in the background and utter tepid responses, but only when called out on their silence.
Let me to peel back the onion as to why the Sergeant Shultzs, the silent bystanders, in the contemporary world appear to be so prevalent during these turbulent times.
Continue reading Silence and the Sergeant Schultz Syndrome – by Terry Howard
Too many Millennials and members of their younger cohort, Generation Z, consider civil rights history as ancient history at the dawn of a new millennium. However, there are profound and poignant lessons which today’s young people need to learn. The most important lesson is how to make major changes in society through the type of peaceful means championed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellow civil rights leaders of the time.
A term of significance for young people to comprehend is: “civil disobedience.”