Category Archives: USA Culture

Living and Working in the U.S.

History, Monuments and Culture Clash – by Deborah Levine

Any discussion of monuments and cultural symbols tends to be highly emotional, regardless of which side of the controversy you’re on. Here in Chattanooga, the controversy features the statue of General A.P. Stewart at the county court house. For some, Stewart represents post-Civil War bridge building and the creation of the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park. For others, his Confederate uniform and the monument’s funding by the Daughters of the Confederacy symbolizes slavery followed by Jim Crow laws.
My experience with historical monuments began thirty years ago when I was hired as the junior of three assistant directors in the American Jewish Committee’s Chicago office. It was August and when a reporter from The Chicago Tribune called, I was the only staff person not on vacation.

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The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN). 

The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.

Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.

Continue reading The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

Flashback: On the Brink of War 1940 – by US Secretary of State, Cordell Hull

Editor’s Note: Among my father’s papers was the full 1940 commencement address at Harvard University by then Secretary of State, Tennessean Cordell Hull. His words and passion for the American heart and soul on the brink of war still resonate today. (Excerpts)

There are at work in the world today powerful forces the significance of which no individual an don nation can ignore without jeopardy. They rose on many occasions in the past and, for varying periods and with varying intensity, held sway over human affairs. They spring today from the source from which they have always sprung in the past – from godless and souls lust for power which seeks to hold men in physical slavery and spirit degradation and to display a system of peaceful and orderly relations among nations by the anarchy of wanton violence and brute force.

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Hey, speak English! (part two) – by Terry Howard

Empathy can go a long way towards understanding how sensitive language diversity can be. For me it was years ago when I spoke to an audience of 190 German executives in Dusseldorf – in English, of course, but had nothing to say during dinner when everyone spoke German except me – or when I sat around the table in Amsterdam with 25 folks who adroitly moved from one language to another. Woefully deficient – not excluded – the proverbial “bump on the log,” is how I felt in those uncomfortable situations.

Hold my experience (and think through yours) as we turn now to today’s column.

Continue reading Hey, speak English! (part two) – by Terry Howard

Can Immigrants and Minorities Work Together? – by Deborah Levine

Dr. Fiona Citkin urges minorities and immigrants to work together to bring meaningful, positive change in the U.S. in her Huffington Post article, “Immigrants and Minorities of America, Unite!” Yes, there are many benefits to bringing minorities and immigrants together, but there are also numerous pushes & pulls involved in uniting them, in establishing their local-global connection. I have long maintained that “Harmonize NOT Homogenize” is key to our working together, but today’s highly emotional environment makes even this approach difficult.

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ABA’s First Hispanic President on Changing Demographics – by Deborah Levine

Stephen Zack is determined that the American Bar Association (ABA) does not give in to ‘diversity fatigue.’ Zack is the first Hispanic president of the American Bar Association in its 150 years. Not surprisingly, Zack has an ongoing passion for both the law and for the issue of diversity. Recent census numbers underscores Zack’s insistence that the U.S. legal profession to become more diverse. One in six Americans is now of Hispanic heritage; the Asian-American population has more than doubled in the last 10 years. But the increasingly multiracial American population is not yet accurately reflected in the U.S. legal system even though lawyers and judges should represent the community they serve. The ABA formed the first-ever Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities to address the disparity.

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By All Means, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country — by Yvor Stoakley

A high school classmate of mine recently posted a notice on a Facebook webpage to which we both subscribe about the passing of her younger brother, Peter. Peter, as it turned out was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. After serving for four years he attended college as a radio broadcast major. He graduated as valedictorian of his class and became involved in the administration of his college alma mater for thirty years, many of those years spent in financial services as the bursar. His sister and his colleagues noted that he always had a special concern for those who had given service to their country in the armed forces. “Peter really felt that it was not just his job or the college’s job,” remarked one of his colleagues in her reflections on his life, “but the job of all of us really, to make sure that veterans are taken care of when they come back.”

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Spirit Wolf in a Native American Setting — by Donald Ford

This tale takes you into the heart of the Native American so you can feel as he does about the natural world. The Native American has followed closely the lives of the forest animals, especially the wolves who travel in packs, live in community with other wolves, and have great respect toward the older wolves. It is said that wolves are the eyes and the ears of the forest and in this story, the wolf is the hero and man is the intruder. My storytelling shares the Native American respect for our environment and appreciation for these woodland creatures who are unable to speak for themselves.

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Each Camino is Unique — La Paz

Roberto Rios was the first in his Latino family to “set foot on American soil,” as he described it. Roberto was embarking on a college career at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. The son of a Church of Christ minister, Roberto spent the majority of his 23 years involved in the church in his hometown of Lima, Peru. A move to America away from all his family was not going to change his Hispanic heritage. When Roberto graduated two years later with a degree in computer information systems, he quickly secured a job in computer networking in Arizona. After marrying his bride Jeana, he moved his family back to Lima where their first child was born. “We really wanted our child to be born in Peru,” said Roberto who anticipated returning to the States.

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Real-life Cultural Clashes are Diversity Lessons — La Paz

When 25-year-old Lucia Montas moved to the City of Chattanooga, it was the first time in her life to live in a multicultural place where the Hispanic people and the Latino culture were not the majority in the population. As she described, it was the first time that she experienced the diversity, the culture clash and felt that she was living in the United States.

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