Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States following the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in 1865. Since that day, each year Black communities have commemorated that fateful day by uniting in celebration. Over the last year, however, following the murders of George Floyd and many others, Juneteenth has taken on a new meaning.
As a person of color who has worked in Corporate America and gone on to start my own company, Juneteenth is a time for me to reflect not only on the progress that has been made, but also focus on the steps we need to take to give Black and other minority founders the same opportunities as our non-minority counterparts.
Reports are that there are over 23 million Asian Americans living in the United States. Other reports are that over the past year, there are at least 4000 reports of various forms of harassment, including assaults, directed against Asian Americans in the United States. And tragically, during recent shootings in Georgia, eight lives were snuffed out, among them six Asian women. These are the facts.
So I begin this by introducing you to incredible Asian American women – Wei Wei Jeang and Lisa Ong – long-time friends of mine during the years I lived in Texas. Not only did I want to check in on the well-being of Wei Wei and Lisa, both outspoken and strong advocates of equality and fairness, I wanted to get their thoughts on what’s been happening to Asian Americans over recent years. I’ll begin with a little bit about their backgrounds. Continue reading Voices of Asian American Women – by Terry Howard→
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.
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.
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.
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.
218 years of enslavement and 137 years of segregation have left Bermudians struggling with the legacies of intergenerational trauma and economic inequities across our society. A culture of silence and fear arose ensuring that past was suppressed and not talked about. People speak of the need to work together and the need for unity, however, the racial divide is widening, economic disparity between the races continues to grow, and social media is both educating and inflaming passions.
With direct descendants of enslaved people and slaveowners still living on the island, and sharing in many cases the same last name, we needed to find a way to speak to the divide and bring light and truth to our understanding of that past.
Forest T. Harper Jr. is the President and CEO of INROADS, the nation’s largest non-profit model of salaried corporate DEI internships and corporate and community leadership development for outstanding ethnically diverse talent at the pipeline and mid-career level.
This year marks 50 years for INROADS. Hear how the organization is important to corporate America’s landscape today and is proving effective in closing America’s Racial Wealth Gap. Understand how to execute diversity & inclusion strategies to accelerate organizations in today’s multicultural market. Harper shares how vital it is to establish talent pipeline development for attracting, recruiting and sustaining diverse talent as well as securing C-Suite alignment.
My hunch is that the majority of those well-meaning folks who say, “When I see you, I don’t color,” or a variation, have no idea how exhaustive it can be to many Black folks. And to Black folks who hear this constantly, the typical response is usually a deep inhale and a …. “well, here we go again!”
Case in point is Oprah Winfrey’s latest magazine “O” with an advice column headlined, “How to Deal with Your White Friends”– advice for Black women feeling worn down by the neediness of others to help them deal with racial issues.”
So why this recent surge in interest in racial issues, Black ones in particular?
“The Black Lives Movement wants to see the destruction of the nuclear family.” “BLM is a hate group that’s planning to destroy the police.” “Let us not be confused. BLM is nothing but a Marxist group.”
These are actual quotes – from politicians running for office (surprise, surprise, surprise) – that typifies how Black Lives Matter has become a convenient boogey man – a political wedge issue – these days. However, the words have moved from baseball caps and posters. They’re now painted in large letters on streets in New York, Washington, DC and other cities. You’ll even find the words on tattoos, and even engraved on protective masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.