Category Archives: Social Issues

Social causes, activism, and projects

Drug Maker Must Be Held Accountable for Putting Profits Ahead of People of Color – by Ben Crump

It’s bad enough that blacks are already more likely than whites to die from HIV/AIDS. But a drug company’s scheme to put profits ahead of lives only compounds the anguish of targeted communities and amplifies cries for justice.

It’s an absolute outrage. We believe pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences knew its popular and hugely profitable HIV/AIDS drugs were harmful but purposely delayed releasing safer versions. Company executives didn’t see patients as people — they saw them only as dollar signs. That is why I have joined with co-counsels at the Hilliard Martinez Gonzales and Morgan & Morgan law firms to file a federal lawsuit against Gilead.

Continue reading Drug Maker Must Be Held Accountable for Putting Profits Ahead of People of Color – by Ben Crump

Diversity vs. Free Speech Part 1: An Invented Conflict – by Carlos E. Cortés

“That’s against free speech.”  “That’s censorship.”  “That’s unconstitutional.”
Those are the kinds of responses diversity advocates are likely to receive when they challenge hate speech or other forms of demeaning and marginalizing expression.  Unfortunately, diversity supporters often take the bait and respond by arguing for the importance of limiting free speech.  But they shouldn’t go down that road.  They don’t have to challenge free speech because free speech doesn’t actually exist.  Let me explain.
_
One year ago I was selected to be a fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.   My research project focused on the intersection of diversity and speech.  In my fellowship application I proposed to address the following historical question: over the past fifty years, what factors have driven many higher education diversity advocates to oppose our nation’s tradition of free speech?  However, my research quickly convinced me that I had posed the wrong question.

Continue reading Diversity vs. Free Speech Part 1: An Invented Conflict – by Carlos E. Cortés

Beware of Cupid’s Arrow at Work – by David B. Grinberg

While office dating can send you to the honeymoon suite, it’s more likely to land you in the heartbreak hotel, outside on the company doorstep, or in a red hot legal mess.

Whether you’re shooting Cupid’s Arrow or being struck by it, workplace romance can have a detrimental impact on your career. Office dating can damage your prospects for advancement, negatively impact your health and wellness, while causing your productivity to plummet.

Continue reading Beware of Cupid’s Arrow at Work – by David B. Grinberg

When Nobody’s Looking: the Northam Moment! – by Terry Howard

Sigh, here we are again folks. Race…America…2019!

Like those meddlesome spring dandelions in the front yard, the specter of race keeps coming up as a slap upside the head reminder of how far we’ve come yet how far we need to go. One step forward, two, three, four, five steps back.

Here’s the latest “what the heck was he thinking” moment; one, I add with disgust, broke in the headlines on the first day of African American History Month in a state where 400 years ago the first slaves were hauled off in chains onto the shores in Virginia.

Continue reading When Nobody’s Looking: the Northam Moment! – by Terry Howard

The Case for Dialogue – by Terry Howard

Should I, or should I not?

At this moment I’m grappling with that question, staring numbly at still another request to accept someone’s request to be their “friend” on Facebook. And here I am again gritting my teeth, vacillating between two options, three actually – accept, decline or ignore – and the potential reactions to any one of them.

Now here’s what’s gnawing at me: Many of those who ask me to join them on Facebook are some great individuals, people I deeply respect and immensely enjoy one-on-one interactions with. Yet my fear stems from this question: “If I ‘accept,’ will it diminish our ability to dialogue?”

Look, maybe I’m part of a vanishing genre of generational dinosaurs who’s hoping against hope that good old-fashioned face-to-face dialogue doesn’t get lost in social media frenzy. Yes dialogue, the art of opening the mouth to a two-way flow of sounds, sentences and syllables through a mosaic of accents and cadences – ideally one person talking, the other listening, and vice versa.

Now to be clear, I’m not talking about yapping on the phone, talking “about,” “over,” “around,” “behind” or “down” to others. Nor am I talking about “trash” talking,” or just plain talking too much. What I am talking about is doing more of what mouths were designed to do (beyond the consumption of food, liquid or an occasional foot) ….. D-I-A-L-O-G-U-I-N-G!

So, what are some contemporary inhibitors to good old fashion dialogue? We’ll get back to that momentarily. But first this anecdote.
Years ago, a power loss occurred in my building as temperatures outside soared into the 100s. Suddenly, laptop screens went black and overhead lights flickered before going completely out. One by one, folks cautiously eased out of their offices and actually talked to each other. Only moments before these same people had been e-mailing each other in, get this, adjacent offices. I mean they’d spent an entire day – eight hours – without actually talking to each other.
Now, the few extroverts were loving every bit of this unscheduled opportunity to talk. The introverts, the majority, were unnerved by being thrust out into the open. Twenty minutes later the lights flickered back on. Like deer caught in headlights, the introverts froze temporarily then darted back into their offices while the extroverts continued to relish the opportunity for an afternoon chat.

This scenario is analogous to how we sometimes act when thrust into the “headlights” of opportunities for face-to-face dialogue. So what are the headlights, those inhibitors to dialogue? Well, two come immediately come to mind for me.

First, in our culture we just don’t have time for each other. Our plates are overrun with things to get done. We’re always seem to be “going somewhere,” on the cellphone, or on the way to a meeting. Restroom breaks, doctor appointments and sit down family dinners seem to inconvenience us. That’s headlight number one.
The second headlight? The fear of the “OMIF” (Open Mouth, Insert Foot) disease, AKA the fear of offending someone. Given the contemporary maze of ethnic, race, gender, religious, language, age differences, awkward moments and slips of tongue are virtually inevitable.

So what do we do? How about deciding between engaging in “proactive” versus “reactive” dialogue.”

Proactive dialogue is driven by genuine curiosity, respect, trust, and personal growth. Reactive dialogue occurs when we are forced by circumstances – unfortunate circumstances in many instances – or damage control to dialogue. If we invest in the first inexpensive choice, the need for the second expensive one becomes highly unlikely.

Wrote Robert Lewis Stevenson: Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money or profit, it completes our education, forges and fosters friendships and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any condition of health.”

So if I keep getting requests to be Facebook friends and decline or just ignore some of them – and, okay, maybe even yours – don’t take it personally. But I will accept any and all requests for face-to-face dialogue. That you can take to the bank. … And the check won’t bounce.

Civil Rights Lessons from MLK for Millennials and Gen Z- by David Grinberg

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.”

Continue reading Civil Rights Lessons from MLK for Millennials and Gen Z- by David Grinberg

Faith and Humanity – ADR TRENDS 2019

Our humanity requires renewal given the divisiveness of our culture, boosted by the anonymity of online social networks. Powerful inspiration for reminding us of our spiritual mission towards our fellow human beings, and our inner strength to commit to that mission, come from our religious leaders and traditions.

“As we welcome a New Year many people follow the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. Others ponder what they would like to see happen to make the world a better place. In the movie ‘Miss Congeniality’ each contestant in the beauty pageant (or scholarship program) when asked what they want, all answer ‘World Peace’. I would agree with them, but how to go about it?

All major religions have the injunction, expressed in one way or another, to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This sentiment can be agreed upon by all people of goodwill. I pray that as more people take seriously in their daily lives this simple injunction, we will begin to experience a more peaceful and sane world.”

~ Monsignor Al Humbrecht, Knoxville TN Catholic Diocese, Soddy Daisy Holy Spirit Catholic Church

Continue reading Faith and Humanity – ADR TRENDS 2019

Social Justice – ADR TRENDS 2019

Many of the contributors to the ADR 2019 TRENDS project are disappointed and fearful as the increasing divisions in society become the new normal.  The wide range of writers expressing their concerns includes philanthropists, poets, and diversity experts. Many are pessimistic, but there are rays of hope, too, in their predictions below.

Continue reading Social Justice – ADR TRENDS 2019

Turning to the New Year – by Paul Raushenbush

The turning of a new year is as good of a time as any to be thankful, to kick up and dig in your heels, to celebrate freedom, to remember the ongoing struggle, to laugh and dance and get high in whatever way feels right and joyful to you and to love, love, love.

It is a good time to mourn as we lost many beloved people this year, some close to us, many more who were close to those whom we know not, yet we grieve all those who died from hunger, war, or hate. We take time to recognize our loss, and recommit ourselves to life, and to live so that those who are gone might live on with us.

Continue reading Turning to the New Year – by Paul Raushenbush

Freedom and Feudalism in the U.S. – by Debasish Majumdar

I just love the U.S. I have no desire to visit there, but I am thrilled by their homeland history where feudalism was eclipsed by the  American struggle for independence, where from slavery there was an elevation, to a capitalist economy which paved the way to become an epitome of Justice, Liberty and Fraternity.

But, of late, the essence of feudal vices being emanated from their very core of social life is a grave concern for all who love freedom and liberty. I am worried that it may lose their pristine essence of the land of liberty, for which many aspire to embark upon.

Continue reading Freedom and Feudalism in the U.S. – by Debasish Majumdar