Category Archives: Make a Difference

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

Perils of discussing politics with family and friends – by Terry Howard

Silly me! 

I failed to heed this advice from a friend: “Don’t mess with political discussions in the family,” and learned the hard way what can happen when wise counsel collides with actual experience. Without doubt, you’ve probably read your share of articles telling you to stay away from talking politics in the workplace and around the dinner table. 

You see, what should have been an uneventful ride to the airport turned out to be anything but. The culprit? Politics or, more to the point, disagreement between the two of us on our firm political positions. 

Continue reading Perils of discussing politics with family and friends – by Terry Howard

Change is Inevitable. So is the Future – by Deborah Levine

Working from home became the  norm during the pandemic, but it isn’t a new concept. Computers have pointed us in that direction for almost 50 years. When my mother insisted that I take the first computer programming elective offered at my high school during the 1960s, I thought she was nuts. I was focused on learning Russian and preparing for a catastrophic moment in the Cold War. But Mom informed me in her soft sweet voice that computers were the change shaping the future and she was commanding, not suggesting. And if that weren’t weird enough, she insisted that I take a typing class to ramp up my keyboard speed.

Continue reading Change is Inevitable. So is the Future – by Deborah Levine

Black Trumpers beware! – by Terry Howard

Now this may come as a newsflash to some, but the mosaic of Black folks cuts across a wide swath of differences. Monolithic we’re not. 

And, like any other group, we’re capable of doing some “what the hell were you thinking?” idiocy. Look, no one – I repeat, no one – has a monopoly on stupid. Which takes me to the front page of a local newspaper and what I cannot believe I’m about to write about.

“Oh no, you gotta be kidding,” I thought. To verify what I hoped not to see, I leaned to get a closer look at photos of the 18 people in Georgia indicted for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential elections. Among them were faces of two Black somebodies: a Trevian Kutti and a Harrison Floyd.

Continue reading Black Trumpers beware! – by Terry Howard

End of Affirmative Action? A Tale of Two Stories – by Dr. Carlos Cortés

Keynote Address for Constitutional Law:
The End of Affirmative Action

Part of the Signature DIAlogue Webinar Series of the
Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources

Thank you for the opportunity of reflecting on Affirmative Action, particularly the two recent Supreme Court decisions that struck down the admissions policies of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. I’ll approach this topic as both an 89-year-old retired history professor and a half-century diversity consultant/public lecturer who actually witnessed the birth of affirmative action.    

The six-decade affirmative action journey involves two intersecting stories: a vision story and a systems story. Both are rooted in the civil rights movement and were launched officially by President John F. Kennedy’s March 6, 1961, Executive Order 10925.

Continue reading End of Affirmative Action? A Tale of Two Stories – by Dr. Carlos Cortés

Exceptional Students: A Journey of Challenges and Growth – by Zen Benefiel

The Corporate Odyssey:
A Journey of Challenges and Recognition

My life’s odyssey has been shaped by a commitment to empowering exceptional students and a pursuit of excellence. It all began with a brilliant mind and an engaging attitude, leading to a successful ‘corporate’ career as a production control coordinator for an aerospace company. Managing a significant commercial spares desk and overseeing millions in monthly deliverables, I excelled and gained recognition. However, my suggestion to introduce interpersonal skills classes was met with resistance, leading to my eventual outcast from the corporate circle.

Continue reading Exceptional Students: A Journey of Challenges and Growth – by Zen Benefiel

Israel Dialogue with Christians & Jews

The goal of this manual is to design new ways to discuss Israel, focusing on basic religious themes. The Middle East is often seen as a confusing array of political, economic, military strategy, and religion. Amidst this confusion, religious themes are an important element in shaping American attitudes toward Israel, and this volume helps prepare leadership to engage in an interreligious dialogue about Israel and the Middle East.

This manual attempts to move the process along with an “on-the-job-training“ approach to aid leadership in developing a personal approach to Israel dialogue that emphasizes religious themes.

A Young Writer’s Quest – by Marcus Slater

My name is Marcus Slater and I am a high school senior in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My writing journey began when I was in eighth grade. I started writing fiction stories about monsters and teenagers who rise up to defeat them. Writing helps me escape from reality because sometimes reality is boring. Writing also helps me realize that anything is possible if you use your mind. Activating my imagination and creating something that I can share with others inspires me. Currently, Rachel Symthe is my favorite author. I admire her beautiful and marvelous work on her webtoon Lore Olympus. Stephen King is also one of my favorite authors. His works, The Shinning and Carrie, are phenomenal. I have had a chance to watch them, and I recently started reading the novels.

Continue reading A Young Writer’s Quest – by Marcus Slater

Three Ways Technology Can Drive Inclusive Communication – by Kenya McPheeters

The ability to communicate is essential to inclusion in professional, learning, or social settings. A Deaf employee, for example, can’t fully contribute to a business unless they can participate in impromptu meetings or hallway chats with colleagues. If English is a second language for a medical student, they need detailed and accurate notes to retain critical information. For a senior aging into hearing loss, losing the ability to connect with family members by phone can be devastatingly isolating. I know of this situation all too well – In my work as a sign language interpreter I’ve seen how connections can be lost when communication isn’t available or readily accessible

In all of these instances, inclusive communication enhances diversity by facilitating involvement, acceptance, and belonging. Today, innovative technology is creating new opportunities for people of different backgrounds, experiences, and linguistic modes to seamlessly share information, collaborate, and engage. Three examples are outlined below.

Continue reading Three Ways Technology Can Drive Inclusive Communication – by Kenya McPheeters

The Scared States of America – by Terry Howard

Being judged?…..Loneliness?

What’s your innermost fear readers? I posed that question (with the options above and others) to some folks whose views I value. Those are the fears that bubbled up. Their answers follow. But to make this personal, ponder your answer to that question.

Now before we get to the responses from those I “surveyed,” I’ll start with a conversation with an African American friend who, like me, is the father of sons. We were talking about the recent spate of gun deaths sweeping the nation and the disproportionate impact on African Americans. Here it is:

Continue reading The Scared States of America – by Terry Howard

“I see nothing!” ….. really Clarence, really? – by Terry Howard

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been in the news recently, for all the wrong reasons. 

You see he was outed for having received millions of dollars’ worth of gifts over the last 20 years from billionaire Harlan Crow. With wife Ginny, globetrotting Thomas has been living the high life aboard a million-dollar yacht and on a private jet while puffing away on cigars, munching on caviar and sipping expensive wines. 

Now what’s interesting is that once he got caught with his pants down and forced into the limelight, like a deer caught in the headlights Thomas pulled out his Sergeant Schultz defense, “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!” 

Continue reading “I see nothing!” ….. really Clarence, really? – by Terry Howard