Category Archives: Social Issues

Social causes, activism, and projects

MLK Day: Civil Rights Lessons for Millennials and Gen Z – by David Grinberg

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

The exam paper that stumped all – by Mona Bopanna

How will India respond in 2022 to this regressive stance towards women?

In December, 2021, millions of secondary school students in India appeared for their Class X (Grade 10) exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

Since its inception in the 1920s, the Board has gone through several changes and emerged as one of the largest such organisations in the world, with more than 25,000 school — based in India and other countries — affiliated to it. Each year, about 2 million students take the secondary board exams.

Continue reading The exam paper that stumped all – by Mona Bopanna

Algorithmic Biases & Economic Inequality – by Pearl Kasirye

America has a long history of racial segregation and systemic racism that made it difficult for ethnic minorities to achieve financial and economic stability. Well-researched academic studies have found that “even after decades of growing diversity…most Americans still live in racially segregated neighborhoods.”

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that 64% of the urban city population are people of color while only 34% are white. Take a look at the graph below:

Equity

 

 

This data shows that in the 1950s, the suburbs were populated by a majority of white people (94%), and in 2018, they are still the majority (59%). While the cities have become even more populated by people of color in 2018 than in 1950.
Continue reading Algorithmic Biases & Economic Inequality – by Pearl Kasirye

Environmental Justice: Apocalypse Now? – by Marc Brenman

The topic of environmental justice (EJ) has become popular. We find it expressed in President Biden’s equity program, for example. I’ve been working with a group of advocates on the topic for about twelve years. Before that I helped write one of the first EJ programs for a federal agency while at the US Department of Transportation in the late 1980’s. At the time I knew nothing about the issue. I mentioned my ignorance to Bob Bullard, one of the fathers of the concept. He told me to read his books. Now I’ve become an expert, with books and essays, including one on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

EJ has been overtaken by events, and today is sometimes called “environmental racism.” We now recognize the climate as a problem, and not as benign Mother Nature. EJ is the confluence of environmental issues with civil rights, resulting in health disparities for many people of color and low income people. They tend to live in lower marshy areas that are more subject to ocean level rise, flooding, and extreme storms. Even today, many lack air conditioning and are therefore more endangered by extreme heat. Many farmworkers live in rural towns in the West under extreme drought conditions. African-Americans own cars at the lowest level of any demographic group in the United States, and hence can’t escape in an evacuation order. Many African-Americans in Southern and Border states live near hog and chicken waste ponds and power stations and dumps that spew noxious fumes.

Continue reading Environmental Justice: Apocalypse Now? – by Marc Brenman

Ending the park equity divide – By Diane Regas

Years of research has shown that spending time in nature reduces cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma and mental illness. The last 18 months have underscored the immense benefits that our parks and public greenspaces provide. As the nation struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, parks were outdoor oases that allowed millions of Americans a safe place to escape the confines of their homes. And parks in 98 of the nation’s 100 most populous cities doubled as venues for meal distribution, COVID testing and outdoor classrooms.

But parks and the benefits they provide are not evenly distributed in those cities. New research is demonstrating that the absence of these green spaces is disproportionately and negatively affecting our nation’s communities of color.

Continue reading Ending the park equity divide – By Diane Regas

Arts in Health Inspire Women – by Nicole Brown and Chyela Rowe

Arts in Health Program

Why create an Arts in Health program for Mother’s Day? According to the CDC, women caregivers have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety. Mothers have held such heavy weights this last year: from grieving losses to taking on more responsibilities such as managing work from home, additional hours for childcare, homeschooling, at-home nursing, coaching, offering tech support and much more. The presence of art and music in healthcare enhances the overall experience. It allows us to remove ourselves from whatever we’re battling to be motivated and inspired. 

Diverse partners joined together in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to inspire and support women and female artists for Mother’s Day and, most importantly, promote health and well-being through the Arts. The program included artwork by Alex Paul Loza, music by Shane Morrow and a presentation of new work from poet Erika Roberts in partnership with multiple organizations that will resonate with communities across the country.

Continue reading Arts in Health Inspire Women – by Nicole Brown and Chyela Rowe

The Impact of Images – by Kenyada Posey

Cultural expressions, icons, and the arts have played a major role in how we’ve seen ourselves and others in the past, and can play a major part in bringing us together in the future. Before social media, newspapers and black and white television exposed us to the lives of others, arts, and society. Whether it be negatively or positively, music, TV, and movies and the imagery they evoke will continue to impact our society and the way we view community.

As a Black woman, the images shown in movies, TV, and mentioned in music has had a major impact on me and my self image.  Cultural expressions have seemingly been more negative than positive and date back to the runaway slave flyers posted around America a century or two ago. The image of the Black woman and Black man were usually exaggerated with a huge nose and a goofy-like look to depict ignorance. We have also seen the image of the angry Black woman plastered everywhere.
Continue reading The Impact of Images – by Kenyada Posey

Diversity and Speech Part 21: Predicting the Future of Cultural Expression – by Carlos E. Cortés

Historians devote their lives to predicting the past.  So when called upon to predict the future of cultural expression, as the editor did for this issue, I had to distance myself from my disciplinary comfort zone.

Not for the first time.  Two decades ago I had to do this when completing  my book, The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversity (Teachers College Press, 2000).  In that book I focused on the traditional mass media: magazines; newspapers; film; television; and radio.  It was the first book (and maybe still only) to examine how the media have treated the theme of diversity, not the depiction of specific diverse groups.  In other words, how have media provided an informal public multicultural education, for better and for worse?

Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 21: Predicting the Future of Cultural Expression – by Carlos E. Cortés

Try Heart Based Solutions – by Keith Thornton

As we acknowledge our oftentimes dismissal of our societal commonalities, the human lineage possess generations of historical struggle in attempts to stem conflict born out of various differences and disputes.  The earliest inhabitants of our planet have always found clan like strength to endure as a species in spite of never ceasing conflict.  Fast forward to present day and on cue, we perpetuate all that has been done before us with seemingly the same results, unaware we have options to greatly change our human narrative.  As an alternative approach, to today’s hesitance to engage each other in a candid manner for solutions, we should consider to the merits of creative heart-based solution making as way to overcome social barriers.

Continue reading Try Heart Based Solutions – by Keith Thornton

The Wound that Will Not Heal – by Dianne Irvine Fleet

I am a 72-year-old well-educated, sad, tired and angry Black woman.  Let me tell you why I am so sad, tired and angry.

I am writing this in April, 2021, at the end of the prosecution’s case in the Chauvin trial.  For most Black Americans, the killing of George Floyd was like opening an old wound and picking at a scab again and again so that the wound never quite has a chance to heal.  The Chauvin trial has caused us to relive that terrible day and to realize that the wound has not yet healed.  You may not read this until the trial is over and the verdict is in, but, no matter the outcome, the wound will still be there.

Continue reading The Wound that Will Not Heal – by Dianne Irvine Fleet