I attended 12 public schools in Chattanooga during times when almost everything was racially separated: schools, churches, restaurants, tours, organization memberships. After my high school graduation and an early marriage, I relocated with family to New England and eventually graduated from Southern Connecticut University. In the mid-seventies when I became an educator in a large suburban high school in Hamden, Connecticut, only about 10% of the school’s staff and student body was African American.
Race & Economic Disparity
By the end of 2020, federal student loan debt in the United States surpassed $1.7 trillion, increasing by over 100% in the last decade. While this has become a national crisis impacting nearly 45 million borrowers, Black women are the most heavily burdened. A 2020 report by the AAUW indicates that Black women, on average, hold over $37,000 in loans each, compared to $31,346 held by white women, and $29,862 held by white men. As a whole, Black women, despite being the most institutionally educated demographic in the U.S., have a total of $35 billion in student loan debt. Furthermore, 57% of Black female college graduates indicate that they struggle to repay their student loans. While white borrowers are able to pay back an average of 10% of their total student loan debt each year, Black borrowers are only able to pay an average of 4% back, largely due to racial pay disparity.
Complexity of Diversity
As I rode the elevator, I overheard a conversation between two African American adults. They were talking about one of their bosses and one said, “People who are not Black do not understand the prejudices and oppression we have gone through.”
As I left the elevator and walked into the doctor’s office, I was handed a clipboard with some required forms I needed to fill out. One section caught my attention: Race. It asked me to check a box. I immediately thought about the conversation I just heard, and looked over my choices, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander. I then thought about prejudices and oppression for each choice.
When I considered doing an article on the iconic Greenpeace movement which started much of our environmental activism, I thought it would be an intellectual and historical project. But, my 92-year old Aunt Polly informed that Green-ness runs in the family,. Greenpeace is just a cousin away, including one of the movement’s matriarchs.
On Monday the nation will pause to observe the annual holiday honoring the life and legacy of iconic civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet 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 MLK Day: Civil Rights Lessons for Millennials and Gen Z – by David Grinberg
2020 turned into a momentous year for diversity training. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many diversity trainers, myself included, to re-invent themselves by adapting their workshops into an online format. The Memorial Day killing of George Floyd thrust anti-racism into the center of diversity training, challenging those presenters who had generally soft-pedaled the issue. President Donald Trump’s September 22 executive order, “Race and Sex Stereotyping,” caused government agencies and contractors, including some higher education institutions, to suspend or mute their diversity training.
The words “diversity” and “inclusion” are big buzz words in today’s society, and they should be as they are very relevant and important in today’s times. But although these words are often thrown around, it is important for us to think critically about what they mean. And to assess their impact on business and society as a whole.
Many large companies are hiring for diversity in race and gender, amongst several other categories. But why, so often, is culture left out of the equation? Should it be? Definitely not. And here’s why.
3 Women Share & Inspire
Many of you are changing your lives and work to care for others and yourselves in new ways. The ADR honors all of your efforts and shares these COVID stories to inspire and motivate.
With COVID-19 changing the economy, more people are becoming entrepreneurs. Let us be aware that creating your own business requires a connection between spirituality and entrepreneurship. How does that work? The first element is the business side of the endeavor and its bottom line, otherwise known as ‘show me the money.’ The second motivation is self-fulfillment. Some refer to this element of entrepreneurship as ‘personal satisfaction.’ But the core of the vague term ‘personal satisfaction’ is what is best described as a spiritual sense of purpose. This spirituality is sometimes linked to one’s particular faith tradition, but is not necessarily so. Rather, there is a commonality in this spiritual sense of something greater than ourselves that translates across the boundaries of specific religions. Most importantly, there is tremendous power where this spirituality and business overlap.
The May, 2020, Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd launched thousands of anti-racism proclamations. Millions took part in that performative aftermath. Include me among those millions.
Like many people, I wear multiple hats. One is chairing the Mayor’s Multicultural Forum in Riverside, California. My half-century hometown is a sizable (330,000-person) city, whose steady but not explosive growth has enabled it to maintain a community feeling. My wife and I continually encounter people we know when we go to a restaurant or take our daily two-mile walks around a nearby lake loaded with noisy ducks, geese, and egrets.