Category Archives: Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

Faces of the Future: Generation Z

 What does the future of the US look like? The next generation is the focus of an NBC News special which features stories of their lives and expectations. The American Diversity Report is eager to share excerpts from that special on TODAY.COM
 
TO COME OF AGE IN 2017 in America is to enter adulthood in a time of often overwhelming turbulence. The country is deeply divided, technology is reshaping the world at a breakneck pace, and the future seems filled with uncertainty. As each day appears to bring with it another crisis, from unprecedented natural disasters to horrific mass killings to violent and vehement ideological clashes, questions lurk in the background: Who will inherit this world? And what will they do with it?

Enter Generation Z

 
Loosely defined as those born after 1995, this new wave of soon-to-be grown-ups—also dubbed the iGeneration, Centennials, Post-Millennials, Founders, Plurals and the Homeland Generation, depending on whom you ask—picks up where millennials left off. True digital and social media natives, they’re ever-connected, multitasking on many screens and more comfortable sharing on Snapchat than IRL. “They are the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones,” says Jean Twenge, author of “iGen,” who has studied the group extensively. “That really rapid adoption of smartphones has had ripple effects across many areas of their lives.”

Generation Z and the 2016 Election

The 2016 election marked the first time many Gen Zers were able to vote, in an event that has served to spotlight and magnify the fractures and fissures in the nation. Decisions made by this administration will have ramifications for years to come, and many of the top issues that drove voters to the polls can be interpreted as de facto battle lines along which the country is dividing itself: Health care. Guns. Immigration. Abortion. The treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people. Climate change.
 
So how do young people growing up in today’s chaotic environment feel about their country, their cities and their lives? We’ve spent the last few months following a handful of teenagers on the frontlines of Generation Z: five students who graduated from high school in 2017 and are full of big dreams. For these individuals, the issues facing the country aren’t just hypotheticals to see on the news or be debated by politicians onstage, but their daily realities.

A Generation Z story: Destiny Robertson

Destiny grew up in one of the poorest communities in the country, McDowell County, West Virginia. “We have some of the best people in the whole world,” says the 18-year-old, who grew up in the county in the town of Northfork. “I wouldn’t be who I am without where I am.”

West Virginia got a lot of attention on the presidential campaign trail from candidate Trump, who promised to bring mining jobs back to a state struggling with unemployment. People have been leaving McDowell County, once the top coal producer in the state, ever since coal production started to decline decades ago. Since its peak in 1950, the region’s population has dropped by over 80 percent. The unemployment rate is now more than double the national average, and more than 1 in 3 people live in poverty.

Destiny, whose grandfather was a coal miner, believes in her community, but doesn’t think the future lies in trying to chase the past. “A lot of my friends—my male friends—that’s their dream, to become a coal miner. That’s where you can make the most money here, when you can get a job,” she says. “I’m definitely in the minority. My views are that we have to move on from coal.”

Meanwhile, the county, like the rest of West Virginia, is in the throes of the opioid crisis. The overdose rate here is nearly five times the national average. “You have a big problem in West Virginia and we are going to solve that problem,” President Trump said on a visit to the state in August. In October, he declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

The president is popular in McDowell County. Seventy-five percent of the votes here went to him in the 2016 election, but Destiny’s wasn’t among them – at 17, she was still too young to vote at the time. She doesn’t like to get too public with her political beliefs, but she’s passionate about voter registration and encouraging people to make their voices heard. “Being a black woman in this town, it’s important to me to exercise my right to vote,” she says.

And she hopes President Trump will come through for the people of her county, who desperately need help. “This place has an epidemic going on…I’d hope that this new administration will bring awareness to that and help us figure out a way to get rid of the addiction.”

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For more stories of Generation Z, click on
  Faces of the Future

Addressing Social Isolation among Men – by Elwood Watson

Despite his material and enviable career success, Don, like many of his mid-20th-century contemporaries and many men today, more than a half a century later, was hampered by a common theme that is prevalent in the lives of many men — a lack of genuine friendships. The old saying that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” rings true in regards to this particular issue.

Men have chosen to become totally consumed with one’s career to the detriment of having any healthy relationships. There have been a number of theories and reasons from experts as to why so many  men have difficulty establishing and maintaining valuable, close relationships with other men. The social awkwardness and a rejection of intimacy with other men are present in fear of being viewed or labeled as gay. Societal mores have historically frowned upon it. Instead, men have chosen to become totally consumed with one’s career to the detriment of having any healthy relationships. Reasons aside, many individuals with the X/Y chromosome have a real deficit in their level of camaraderie with other men.

The undeniable conclusion from many psychologists, psychotherapists, mental health experts as well as testimony from a number of men themselves is that too many men have too few, if any, real male friends.
There has been a plethora of studies providing evidence that men who are largely friendless are living in an unhealthy situation, often resort to alcohol, engage in drug use, suffer from depression, and should reexamine their current predicament. Some things to consider:
Continue reading Addressing Social Isolation among Men – by Elwood Watson

Nurturing and Humility in Leadership – by Deborah levine

I have been puzzled in recent weeks by colleagues congratulating me on my humility. What are these folks talking about? People who knew me years ago would definitely be amused by that. At best, I was described as “Sweet but Stern.” At my boldest, I was told that I could terrorize entire cities. Community leaders had a white-knuckled grasp on their chairs when I tersely announce my intention to speak off-the-record. Not even a voice from the back of the room calling out, “Oh ho, this should be good!” slowed me down.

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Leadership in Our Challenging Times – by Deborah Levine

I often hear that leadership is greatly needed in these challenging times. But what does leadership mean? Is it a matter of personality? Is leadership defined by mission and goals? Are leaders inspirational figures who leave the nuts and bolts to others? The more we try to define leadership, the more the concept undefinable. “There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept,” said Ralph Stogdill, a Professor of Management Science and Psychology known for his research and publications on the Personal Factors Associated with Leadership.

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You Are a Woman: Exploring the Mandate – by Lydia Taylor

Think like a woman, talk like a woman, walk like a woman because the mandate is ‘You Are a Woman’.  But how do I accomplish this?
In my previous article, I shared how I heard the words ‘You are a Woman’ during a time of prayer and meditation. In my pursuit of their relevance, I concluded that these words are not simply to confirm gender, but are a mandate urging women to make a difference in their communities and in the world. In that article, the reader is encouraged to discover how they may make an impact that will advance society and elevate those in their individual sphere of influence, whether great or small.

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Harrity Pledge and D&I Challenge – by Mauricio Velásquez

An Interview with John Harrity, Managing Partner, Harrity & Harrity, LLP

At a recent Association of Legal Administrators, Washington, DC Chapter meeting – John Harrity, Managing Partner and Diversity Partner of Harrity & Harrity was on a panel and presenting his firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Journey.  Harrity and Harrity, LLP is an Intellectual Property Firm boutique based in Fairfax, VA, experiencing high growth.  He explained their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and said, “We believe that the ‘practice of law’ is advanced by a more diverse legal team – with diversity of background, upbringing, education, and perspective comes quality legal innovation.  At Harrity & Harrity, we are committed to The Harrity Rule, a supercharged version of the Rooney Rule that shows our firm’s commitment to D&I is not window dressing or smoke and mirrors.”

Continue reading Harrity Pledge and D&I Challenge – by Mauricio Velásquez

Homage to The Slants – by Carlos E. Cortés    

The Slants won.  I’m glad.  And with that victory, the field of Diversity & Inclusion enters a new era, whether or not it wants to.

On June 18, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a rare nearly unanimous decision (8-0 with one abstention) in the case of Lee v. Tam (also known as Matal v. Tam).  The substance of the case was this.

Continue reading Homage to The Slants – by Carlos E. Cortés    

Mother’s & Father’s Day When They’re Gone – by Deborah Levine

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are great American traditions, but I’m not sure I like them. Unhappily, I have a really big problem with these days because I don’t have the goods. My mother and grandmother who were such loving figures in my life are gone. My father, who I take after in so many ways, is gone, too. I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself.  My children live far away but will no doubt call or send a card. I’m grateful for their love but I would really like to call my own parents. Just knowing they were around made life balanced and feel more secure.

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Bill Maher and the N-Word Debate – Elwood Watson

Bill Maher, host of the quasi political/entertainment program HBO Real Time with Bill Maher, recently had renowned Black intellectual and ordained Baptist minister Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and rapper Ice Cube as guests. They discussed the n-word controversy that erupted on the May 31 edition of the program when Maher flippantly referred to himself as a “house nigger” in an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). The senator had been invited to the program to discuss his book on what he sees as the increasing problem on prolonged adolescence occurring in American society. Sasse and Maher agreed on the issue and provided examples and suggestions on how to rectify the problem. Things seemed to be going well up until this exchange transpired between both men:

Maher: Adults dress up for Halloween. They don’t do that in Nebraska?

Sasse: It’s frowned upon. We don’t do that quite as much.

Maher: I gotta get to Nebraska more.

Sasse: You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.

Maher: Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger.

Continue reading Bill Maher and the N-Word Debate – Elwood Watson

Talking About Race, Sometimes Awkward But Always Necessary – by Simma Lieberman

Talking about race with people who are different from you can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary and doable. Racism exists, racial conflict exists, and inequality still exists.

Even some people who work in the diversity and inclusion field stay in their comfort zone, and still almost only interact with people who are like them.

After facilitating conversations about race and other differences for over 25 years using our 3D Process, (Diversity, Difference and Dialogue.) we’ve found what works and what doesn’t. At the end of this newsletter, you’ll find a few of our best practices.

Continue reading Talking About Race, Sometimes Awkward But Always Necessary – by Simma Lieberman