Category Archives: Make a Difference

Projects that are making a difference, improving lives, and building communities.

Make Some Noise for Urban Planning! – by Deborah Levine

NOTE: Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
by Deborah Levine

The education I received getting my Master’s urban planning degree in the 1990s had less to do with the classroom and more to do with developing the Windy City. That’s the nickname given Chicago more than a century ago, not for its weather, but for its gusts of political hot air. The hot issue of my time was planning the city’s high rise developments and rapid growth into nearby neighborhoods. A major land parcels under debate was home to inner city housing projects. The projects were built with the intent to alleviate poverty but had become African American islands battered by desperation over the lack of good schools, public transportation, decent jobs, and grocery stores.

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Mandela’s Legacy – Personal, Pivotal, & Pioneering – by Deborah Levine

NOTE: This article was originally published on The Huffington Post.

On what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday the world will revisit his extraordinary leadership after his 1990 release from twenty-seven years in prison. Yet, Mandela’s influence was far-ranging long before the 1990s when he pulled together the South Africa that we know today, negotiated a rainbow nation, and became its first black president. I want to honor Mandela’s early impact and emphasize the global involvement in South Africa’s apartheid government and in its demise. The role of international financial institutions in the Mandela story is key for me both historical and personal. Lobbying the banks to divest in South Africa was the catalyst for my involvement not only in the anti-apartheid movement, but in the advocacy of civil rights over a life time.

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Global Goodwill Ambassadors – by Richard DiPilla

A civilized world, living in peace can only be attained through an understanding and acceptance of a diversified world. With this in mind, I founded an initiative using the LinkedIn social media forum called Global Goodwill Ambassadors.

The initiative has a simple mission. To recognize people from every nation, race, color, and socio-economic caste; who do goodwill toward others. The only thing Global Goodwill Ambassadors, looks at is the volunteering, charitable, or humanitarian works of any individual. We exercise no bias. We also have only one commodity, that of Goodwill. We are not commercialize in any way. We are apolitical and free of hatred.

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Un-Bias Guide for Educators

The Un-Bias Guide for Educators is based on Levine’s Matrix Model Management System which embeds the storytelling principles of cultural anthropology in diversity training. The Un-Bias Guide for Educators is a combination text / workbook customized for high school students, teachers, and administrators. The Un-Bias Guide is an innovative tools for maximizing awareness, boosting sensitivity, and developing competence at a time of intensified biases, both conscious and unconscious. The Un-Bias methodology is interactive on both an individual and group level.

CLICK on the video for details from award-winning author Deborah Levine…

WHAT IS THE UN-BIAS CHALLENGE?

“Today, high school students, more than ever before, seem to have their ‘cyber’ finger on the pulse of society. Unfortunately, the assumed superior foundation uses brick n’ mortar from all resources regardless to it’s accuracy, reliability and accountability. Ultimately, the onslaught will destroy credibility. Who does one trust? How can one vet the truth? Are we desensitized from feeling? How do we act and react when given a true or false? At such a formative and productive age to grow, can you determine and assess? Are you aware? What do you believe? Do you have the ability to communicate and ask what you want to know? Only by having factual knowledge can you process and move forward. The steps taken are a distinction from opinion. An opinion is not a fact. An implication is not an application. What you think at one phase in your life is not what you know in another. Your success depends on your skills.”
~ Honorable Samuel Verniero PhD: Appellate Board Member at Selective Service System

WHY THE UN-BIAS GUIDE IS THE ANSWER

The Un-Bias Guide for Educators is an eye-opening device for bringing students and staff together in these troubling times. Addressed in this edition is diversity among school populations and exercises are presented that will encourage team-building and acceptance. Deborah Levine is an expert at analyzing cultures and how organizations are affected by them. School administrators would benefit greatly by using this manual for professional development in order to develop cultural and organizational awareness among staff and students.
~ Beth Lynne, Ed.D: Technology & education researcher, retired educator

A STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE

“As a young person who has worked on a number of teams for political causes and academic projects, I felt that this Un-Bias Guide illuminated the prevalence of bias in interactions and the importance of recognizing it. The Guide begins with exercises to identify personal biases and then progresses to exercises to understand others’ biases through a powerful lens: storytelling. The ultimate effect of this guide is to develop empathy, a trait at the core of effective teams that is crucial to solving problems and addressing the impasses that teams face because of unrecognized biases.”
~ Allen Liu: Recent Chattanooga high school graduate

Greenpeace, Matriarchs, and Me — by Deborah Levine

As the editor of the American Diversity Report, I’ve insisted on including environmental articles, focusing on the economic impact of Going Green on our world, our workplace, and our lives. When I considered doing an article on the iconic Greenpeace movement which started so much of our environmental activism, I thought it would be an intellectual and historical project.  But,  my 92-year old Aunt Polly informed that my Green-ness runs in the family, that Greenpeace is just a cousin away and that includes one of the movement’s matriarchs.

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Dialing 911 on Black Folks – By Terry Howard

DATELINE: Police questioned a black graduate student who fell asleep while studying in a dormitory common room.

I picked up a local newspaper and was confronted by this headline: “Harassment for ‘being black’ gains attention.”

My blood started to boil.
I took in a deep breath, cussed to myself, and slowly exhaled.

There’s not a day that goes by without more evidence of how tough it is for many African Americans to go about their daily activities – any activity it seems. We’ve gone from DWB (Driving While Black), to SWB (Shopping While Black), to BWB (Barbequing While Black), to SISWB (Sitting in Starbucks While Black), to SIADWB (Sleeping In A Dorm While Black). Insanity is too mild a word to describe this racial mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

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Retailers Dishonor Military on Memorial Day – 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.

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The Cosby Teachable Moment – 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).

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The Benefits of a Hearty Laugh – by Terry Howard

Although she may disagree with the frequency (she’s entitled, eh, to be wrong), more often than not Deborah Levine, the founder of The American Diversity Report, and I laugh a lot during our conversations. Hey, given the nature of the kinds of issues we tackle – among them race, religion, harassment), the ability to step back and laugh is an essential survival tool.

Literally!

So there’s a grain of truth in that old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” Shucks, a side-splitting guffaw or two is a “day maker” for me.  I get amazing energy and creativity boosts right after.

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