Category Archives: Make a Difference

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

Asian Americans Must Vote for Inclusion- by Celeste Chen

When they first came to America, my parents, now Asian Americans, lived in a cramped apartment, first in New York, and then in Boston. My father likes to recount stories of how he would have to make multiple treks in the middle of New England snowstorms to buy diapers because they didn’t have enough money for bus fare.

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Muslim Niqab in America – By Claire Sydenham

Last semester I went through an experience I’d never gone through before in my teaching career: I taught a student whose face I couldn’t see. The reason? She was from Saudi Arabia, and she was wearing a niqab, that part of her all-black outfit that covered her face from the bridge of the nose down.

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Assembling our Time Capsule for Aliens – by Martin Kimeldorf

What would it mean to unlock the mysteries of both the visible and invisible dark night skies? In Matthew Bothwell’s article Monsters in the Dark, the Cambridge astronomer eloquently and patiently explains the invisible monster galaxies uncovered by the Hubble Space Craft’s long-exposure images. Relying on infrared light exposures, the new imagery penetrates the cosmic dust barriers to reveal in his words: a “vibrant cosmic powerhouses in the distant Universe” engaged in active star-making.

Bothwell admits that we don’t know why these massive galaxies even exist. The spiritual-cosmological questions that follow could sound like these: “What forces bring them into existence?” “Why do they die?” and most profoundly, “Why, or what purpose do they serve?” This busy star-nursery also fosters questions about our own existence back here on Earth and to what degree are we alone in the universe.

Continue reading Assembling our Time Capsule for Aliens – by Martin Kimeldorf

Healing the Trails of Tears – by Andréana Lefton

JOURNEY OF TEARS

That whole morning and night before were one long prayer for assistance. I woke at four, and sat in the living room of my friends’ river-side house, speaking aloud to the darkness, undamming the river, flooding inside.

Then I got ready, and drove to Red Clay State Park.

For years, my feet have taken me to Red Clay State Park, near Cleveland, Tennessee. This land was once the last seat of Cherokee government, and also the place where, in 1838, the Cherokee people learned that the Treaty had again been broken, their remaining land would be taken, and they would be forcibly “removed” to Oklahoma and parts unknown. Thousands and thousands of people died.

Continue reading Healing the Trails of Tears – by Andréana Lefton

Retaliation Still Commonplace in Workplace – by David Grinberg

America is fast becoming a retaliation nation. Look no further than the workplace, a microcosm of society.

Malicious managers are increasingly lashing out at aggrieved employees who have the courage to protest real or perceived discrimination. Retaliation against workers is an unlawful violation of their federally protected rights under anti-discrimination laws.

Nevertheless, retaliation is rampant from corporate America to small and mid-sized companies. This insidious form of discrimination is ruining company culture and hurting bottom-line productivity, among other negative repercussions for employers and employees alike.

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Climate Change and Global Cities – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

I recently participated in a session hosted by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs during this conference on climate change. The conference has brought some 51 mayors and their staffs to Chicago at the invitation of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago to develop a flexible mayoral covenant on climate change within North America. The session in which I was a participant was led by the mayors of Chicago, Vancouver,Montreal, Washington and a modest size city of 150,000 in Mexico. NY TIMES writer Thomas Friedman chaired this session.
Allow me now to share some of the important points that arose from the discussion.

Continue reading Climate Change and Global Cities – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

Stopping the Stigma of Mental Illness – by David B. Grinberg

May is Mental Health Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness and help end the stigma for people with mental health conditions.

Let’s remember that as public discourse about mental health increases, the associated stigma decreases. That’s why it’s critically important to shine a spotlight on a range of mental health issues affecting people of all ages, from depression to dementia.

Fostering open communication, education, transparency, advocacy and outreach — both online and off line— are solid strategies to eradicate prevalent myths, fears and stereotypes.
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Navigating the “touch, no touch” quagmire: Part 2 – by Terry Howard

“Reach out and touch someone and make this a better world if you can.”  ~ Diana Ross

Wow, before the ink was dry on my, “Hug me not Joe Biden,” fundamentally a “don’t touch” (or touch selectively) advisory, in the American Diversity Report, along comes Tiffany Field who has spent decades trying to get people to do just the opposite…. touch one another more.

Okay, I say don’t touch, she says do touch!

So what gives?

Continue reading Navigating the “touch, no touch” quagmire: Part 2 – by Terry Howard

Stopping Sex Bias on Wikipedia – By David B. Grinberg

International Women’s Day was March 8. 
Women’s History Month ended March 31. 
Equal Pay Day was April 2.

Yet Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, continues to marginalize women on its English language pages and among its staff. This conclusion is not theoretical but unequivocal. It’s based on academic studies, public statistics and anecdotal evidence.

Wikipedia’s data is daunting, according to the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator.
To wit:

• Less than 18% of 1.6 million English Wikipedia bios are about women, up from 15% in 2014.

• Put another way: of about 1,615,000 bio pages, fewer than 300,000 are about women.

• Meanwhile, men account for about 90% of all English Wikipedia’s volunteer editors.

Wikipedia’s brand image is more reflective of 1920s paternalism than 21st century modernism. The San Francisco-based nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, has a noble mission: Democratize the free flow of information and knowledge to diverse populations worldwide.

But is English Wikipedia practicing what it preaches?

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Hug me not Joe: Part 1 – by Terry Howard

Joe hugged!

Joe’s hugging ignited a media firestorm!

Joe as in Joe Biden, former VP who’s tottering on a decision to make a run for president.

Now this narrative less about Biden and more about hugging and the need to both establish and/or reset social norms relative to personal boundaries. More than anything this is a wake-up call on hugging and the issues and questions the behavior raises.

So let’s get started.

Continue reading Hug me not Joe: Part 1 – by Terry Howard