Category Archives: Social Issues

Social causes, activism, and projects

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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#MeToo, Three, Four, and Five: A Leadership Challenge – by Deborah Levine

Why have women waited so long to tell their stories of sexual harassment, discrimination, pedophilia, abuse, and discrimination? How do we as individuals and as a nation process this tidal wave of #MeToo information as people come forward? I’ve hesitated to tell my stories of sexual harassment because I’ve never been able to comprehend and digest them. The first time I experienced my feminine vulnerability, I was only four years old. I was playing outside in the garden of our home in Bermuda, when a teen-age neighbor squatted down next to me as I was playing with my favorite marbles in the garden. Smiling at me, he reached under my skirt and stroked my privates through my underpants. Before he walked away, he made me promise not to tell my father, silencing me.

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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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Cheer Not Sneer: Black Gen Z Success – by Elwood Watson

Anyone familiar with the rituals of college life knows that we are in the midst of college acceptance and rejection season. Recently, Lamar High School student Micheal Brown of Houston, Texas made national headlines when he gained acceptance to all 20 colleges and universities he applied to, including four Ivy League institutions: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. Stanford, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins and 13 other top-notch colleges and universities said “welcome,” as well.

The story doesn’t stop there. Each institution awarded him a full scholarship – a remarkable accomplishment, indeed! Videos of the young Brown yelling ecstatically as he was surrounded by equally ecstatic friends upon learning the wonderful news made headlines across the globe.

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Allen Liu: Student Activist and Problem Solver

Allen LiuA senior at Chattanooga’s McCallie School, Allen is an articulate representative for student activism.  He is an avid violinist, has been recognized nationally for his scientific research, and will attend Princeton University (fall 2018).

Allen establishes an impressive image for student activist with his  resume: State Math Team, MathCounts Team Founder & Coach, Science Olympiad Captain, Violin (All-State Orchestra Concertmaster), and String Theory Youth Initiative Chair/President (Arts Leadership), as well as leadership in Chattanooga Students Leading Change (CSLC) and Young Democrats.

CLICK below for the Allen Liu interview podcast…

Silence and the Sergeant Schultz Syndrome – by Terry Howard

Ever watch the old sitcom Hogan’s Heroes? If so, no doubt you’ll remember Sergeant Schultz’s famous line, “I know nothing … nnnoooTTTTHHHING!” when he witnesses Hogan’s shenanigans.

During these times of mind boggling incivility, blatant disrespect, school shootings and outright bullying, I find it disheartening to watch those who sit quietly on the sidelines (or behind them on the stage) while someone verbally demeans others with vicious bullying rhetoric. It’s unbelievable how calling someone a “SOB” and other unprintable words have become an acceptable norm these days.
And even worse are the spineless ones not wanting to offend their political base who choose to stand silently in the background and utter tepid responses, but only when called out on their silence.
Let me to peel back the onion as to why the Sergeant Shultzs, the silent bystanders, in the contemporary world appear to be so prevalent during these turbulent times.

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Civil Rights Lessons for Millennials & 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.”

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Pandora’s Box of Hate – by Deborah Levine

Editor’s note: this article on anti-Semitism was originally published as an op-ed in The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Russian President Putin got my attention when he suggested that Jews with Russian citizenship might have interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. “Maybe they’re not even Russians,” said Putin. “Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship – even that needs to be checked.” Putin reminded me why my great grandparents made the harrowing journey from Russia and the Ukraine to the United States. My ancestors weren’t the only ones. Between 1881 and 1924, over 2.5 million East European Jews sought to escape the relentless persecution and ghettoization. The slice of history was captured in the movie Fiddler on the Roof, but while Hollywood entertained, it didn’t fully show the history of anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe, or its ongoing ripple effect.

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Making a Difference: Goodwill in Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East

Let us celebrate people making a difference in their own way. These stories from Global Goodwill Ambassadors will motivate you to pursue your efforts to change the world for the better. Their words of wisdom will inspire you to be a model for others to follow in your footsteps. Here are interviews with Dr. Nadia Cheaib and Abdul Asill Azizi.

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