Category Archives: The Arts

Multicultural Art and Poetry

Diversity and Speech Part 45: Writing about Someone Else’s Culture – by  Carlos E. Cortés and Ellen Estilai

Co-Authored Interview

Carlos:  Ellen, we’ve taken creative writing classes together for a number of years, so it’s nice to discuss your fascinating new book, Exit Prohibited (Inlandia Institute, 2023), about your family’s escape from revolutionary Iran.

Ellen: Yes, Carlos.  I love talking about memoir with another memoir writer.

Carlos: So, let’s start from the beginning.  How did you become part of Iran?

Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 45: Writing about Someone Else’s Culture – by  Carlos E. Cortés and Ellen Estilai

Black college athletes: Listen to the NAACP – by Terry Howard

That’s the headline of a column in a recent issue of USA Today. It was written in the form of an open letter to Black athletes and extensively quoted NAACP Board director and Chairman Leon Russell and President and CEO Derrick Johnson in their letter to Charlie Baker, head of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Now since it appeared just a few days after I’d started developing the piece you’re now reading, of course it got my immediate attention and, like a mosquito in a nudist colony, it provided me with lots and lots of stuff to cherry pick from. 

Continue reading Black college athletes: Listen to the NAACP – by Terry Howard

Women GroundBreakers Storytelling: Serving Diverse Communities

On March 7, 2024 we celebrated Women’s History Month with a panel of Women Groundbreakers whose work locally and globally serving diverse communities will Inspire & Instruct. Facilitated by Deborah Levine and sponsored by the American Diversity Report and G100 Women Leaders, the panel shared their expertise and experience. CLICK to hear their WUTC interviews.


Deborah levineDeborah Levine is Founder/Editor-in-Chief of the American Diversity Report,  award-winning author of 18 books, TN Chair of G100 Women Leaders, opinion writer with The Chattanooga Times Free Press, and a Forbes Magazine top Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer. She is the Founder of Women GroundBreakers Storytelling and the Women’s Council on Diversity. 

LuLu CopelandLuLu Copeland is a Consultant at Regional Economic & Workforce Development, Director of Economic & Workforce Development Administration at Chattanooga State Community College and Executive Director at TN-China Network. Lulu is the TN state lead for Million Women Mentors (international movement promoting STEM careers for women). 

Gail DawsonGail Dawson is an Associate Prof. of Management and Director of Diversity & Inclusion at the Rollins College of Business /U. of TN/ Chattanooga. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration (U. of S. Florida) and teaches graduate and undergraduate classes including human resource management, diversity, and organizational behavior.

Vanessa JacksonVanessa Jackson is a Program Specialist with the City of Chattanooga’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and was one of Chattanooga’s first Neighborhood Relations Specialists, amplifying the voices and mitigating the barriers of diverse communities. She holds a BA in Political Science and Cultural Studies (U. of TN/Knoxville) and a MA in Public Administration (U. of TN/Chattanooga).

Teletha Teletha McJunkin has roots in social work where she first learned how to listen deeply and communicate with diverse stakeholders. For the past 8 years, she has been leading and coordinating international, multicultural, multi-lingual teams as they navigate change and develop strategies in the areas of human and environmental rights.

CLICK to hear their WUTC radio  interviews.


Note: Event Planner Cathrine Bays: Certified as a government meeting planner by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, she served as Chattanooga’s chapter president, fundraiser, and educational program leader for 15 years. She recently worked as an Event Strategist for Maritz Global Events and Conference Director for the National Harm Reduction Coalition.


American Diversity Report


 “Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race
in Contemporary America”

James Baldwin, the famous 20th century American intellectual, once observed:

“History is the present. We carry our history with us.
To think otherwise is criminal.”

This is an important point to ponder during the annual Black History Month observance during February in the United States. Baldwin was an iconic and outspoken figure of his time who was internationally recognized as a leading voice of the African American experience.

Thus, as Baldwin reminds us posthumously, we should not only focus on trailblazers of centuries past, but also consider more recent history when assessing the state of racial progress.

Continue reading BLACK HISTORY MONTH BOOK REVIEW – by David Grinberg

New Trends in Social Awareness: Audiobooks – by Rose Joneson

Listening Impact: How Audiobooks Drive Social Awareness 

Technology has become an integral part of society, driving innovation and empowerment in many ways, including social awareness. Information and resources on social issues from various perspectives and cultures are now easily accessible to many, and one way such knowledge is spreading is through audiobooks. Audiobooks, once perceived as mere entertainment, are increasingly recognized for their unique potential to cultivate social awareness. This medium has great potential, as audiobooks have been increasing in popularity; Statista reports that audiobook publishing and consumption have increased tenfold in recent years, meaning more people are willing to listen and learn something new through these books. This immersive format offers distinct advantages in fostering empathy, understanding, and engagement with diverse perspectives and challenging issues. Here’s how audiobooks can drive social awareness:

Empathy and emotional connection

Audiobooks excel at conveying the emotional depth and complexity of characters and situations. The narrator’s voice can breathe life into diverse characters, allowing listeners to step into their shoes and experience the world through their eyes. This fosters empathy and understanding towards marginalized groups or individuals facing different challenges. For example, listening to a first-hand account of racial discrimination through an audiobook narrated by the author can be far more impactful than reading the same account on paper.

A writer’s account of listening to Michelle Zauner’s Crying In H Mart allowed her to more deeply appreciate the retelling of the author’s experiences with culture, identity, and relationship with her immigrant mother by listening to the sadness, humor, and longing in her voice. This prompted her to share the audiobook with her immigrant mother, fostering a deeper connection and awareness of each other’s social realities. Audiobooks allow for a more immersive listening experience and a greater emotional connection, making social awareness feel like a more real and tangible concept and practice rather than mere theory.

Diverse topics and perspectives

Audiobooks offer a platform for amplifying marginalized voices and perspectives that might otherwise be unheard. Listening to diverse authors narrate their own stories or experienced narrators portraying characters from different backgrounds can challenge listeners’ biases and expose them to new viewpoints.

Digital libraries also allow easy access to these diverse topics and perspectives, with millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more available on one platform. The audiobook selection on Everand showcases a vast array of social awareness resources for various contexts, such as Rohit Bhargava and Jennifer Brown’s Beyond Diversity: 12 Non-Obvious Ways To Build A More Inclusive World or the platform-original Writing into the Wound: Understanding trauma, truth, and language by Roxanne Gay. This exposure can be instrumental in breaking down stereotypes and fostering a more inclusive and understanding society.

Accessibility and convenience

Other than conveying messages and topics on social awareness, audiobooks play an essential role in making literacy more equitable and accessible. Audiobooks break down barriers to knowledge and understanding. Unlike traditional reading, they can be easily enjoyed during commutes, chores, or even exercise.

feature on audiobooks on NBC News notes that this convenience makes books more accessible to those with visual impairments, people with processing issues or learning disabilities, or readers who are on a busy schedule. Audiobooks can overcome challenges to literacy and make learning about social awareness less daunting or challenging, encouraging more curiosity and connection. This broader reach allows social awareness messages to reach a wider audience, potentially sparking conversations and action beyond the pages of a book.

Audiobooks are a prime example of how tech is instrumental in innovation and empowerment. By making topics on diversity, inclusion, culture, and more widely accessible and immersive, audiobooks prompt the growth of social awareness and how it can be set into motion in reality. The “Embracing Diversity in The Workplace” post highlights how diversity is crucial for innovation in the modern world, bringing together many experiences, thoughts, and ideas that can offer more solutions and approaches to problems. In turn, innovations from this diversity can create more avenues to accessibility and social awareness, such as audiobooks.

Diversity and Speech Part 40: Latinos in College Sports – by Carlos Cortés and Guillermo Ortega

Carlos:  Guillermo, I still remember the first time we met.  You were about to start your senior year at the University of California, Riverside.    

Guillermo:  Yes, it was the summer of 2012.  

Carlos: Our friendship began when you became my research assistant.  Now you’re on your own fascinating research journey, examining the experiences of Latino college athletes.  How did you get into this topic?

Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 40: Latinos in College Sports – by Carlos Cortés and Guillermo Ortega

Bunny Bear Adventures: Video Stories and Resources- by Deborah Levine

Bunny Bear Adventure in Diversity Land is a Winner in 8 international film festivals for its use of the science of storytelling to make you laugh and make you sigh!
Bun Kids watch
Hear storyteller, speaker and award-winning author Deborah Levine share true stories about trying to fit in and  being the different one. The stories are a big hit with ages 6-11. Parents and teachers use Adventures in Diversity Land to build social and emotional awareness, learn empathy, appreciate differences and show respect. (Scroll down to see the AI video stories)

Bunny BearSCROLL DOWN for links to VIDEO STORIES andBunny Bear

“These entertaining and instructive stories help facilitate dialogue about difficult subjects like bullying, race, identity, and discrimination.”
~ Kim Wayans: In Living Color Hollywood actress & writer

Sharing Deborah Levine’s ‘Bunny Bear’ story with my daughters brought about a heartwarming experience that bridged generations. As my daughters, aged 9 and 7, listened with wide-eyed wonder, I found myself just as captivated by the tale. Deborah’s storytelling masterfully intertwines empathy, openness, and inclusion, creating a platform for us to explore these concepts together.”
~ Dr.  Anjam Chaudhary: DEI Program Coordinator, Michigan State U.

“I would highly recommend these stories to any child who is the new child on the block.  Deborah makes one feel that anything is possible in a new situation.  And her voice would make any child feel as if you are talking to just her/him.”
~ Mary Jane McKinsey: grandmother & teacher

“I grew up with Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood — your voice and storytelling cadence took me back to being a child and hanging on his every word. Adults talking to children in a way that shows them they are respected, valued, encourages them to use their imagination, think for and love themselves AND to value and respect others ❤️ we need more of that!”
~ Katie Hall: community activist

Bunny Bear Bunny BearCLICK below for INTRO VIDEO

CLICK on each BUNNY BEAR STORY to see Videos

candle lighting
Click STORY #1
Moving and Making My Peace:
How the Bermuda Girl Found Sabbath Peace and Decided to Stay

Statue of Liberty
Click STORY #2
Finding My Name in America:
How the New Kid Earned Her Name and Found her Place

Click STORY #3
Who is Really Disabled?
How an Older Sister Got the Gift of Courage

be fair

Click STORY #4
Never Too Young to be Fair:

How a Little Girl Learned to Have Respect and Pass the Lesson Along

pink tulip dancer

  Click STORY #5
The Dancer Got More than She Bargained for: How the Dancing Pink Tulip Learned that it’s Better to Give than Be a Star

Bunny RESOURCES! Bunny Bear
(scroll down for Special Offer)

#1 BUNNY BEAR Teaching Guide

Teaching Guide cover imageThis guide uses the science of storytelling to teach social and emotional awareness. Given the growing need to teach respect and inclusion in our communities and schools, the Bunny Bear Teaching Guide provides a creative and personal approach to laying the groundwork for positive and productive human interaction.

USA Postage $3.50

#2 BUNNY BEAR Adventures:

Bun Coloring book coverThis coloring book for ages 6-11 is not only engaging and fun, but includes discussion questions that help build critical thinking skills, enhance social and emotional awareness, increase empathy, appreciate differences and show respect.
(Note: older kids and adults will also enjoy Bunny Bear)

USA Postage $3.50

Adventures in Diversity LandSPECIAL OFFER!

20% DISCOUNT: $19.95  USA Postage only $3.50 


NOTE:  Media/graphics created by AI Art Generator NightCafe using artist “anime”, Anime Key Visual, Japanese Manga, Pixiv, Zerochan, Anime art, Fantia

You can hear Bunny Bear discussed on the Downtown radio show (owned by Stephen King). And on Channel 3 Chattanooga 

Bunny Bear Adventures – Teaching Guide

This guide for teachers and parents helps children connect to their own feelings and develop empathy for others. The Teaching Guide uses the science of storytelling to design engaging stories as a tool for social and personal competencies. Given the growing need to teach young students respect  and empathy, the video stories of  Bunny Bear Adventures in Diversity Land provide a creative approach for teaching social and emotional awareness and laying the groundwork for positive and productive human interaction.

The stories can be read out loud to students and  be accompanied by the Bunny Bear Adventures Coloring Book. Topics in the stories include: welcoming newcomers, understanding differences, dealing with bullying, awareness of language and valuing compassion and kindness.

Continue reading Bunny Bear Adventures – Teaching Guide

Bunny Bear Adventures – Coloring Book

Inclusive Coloring Book

These coloring pages for ages 6-11 are not only engaging and fun, but also include discussion questions that prompt deep thinking. They’re designed to help young people build critical thinking skills, enhance social and emotional awareness, and increase emotional intelligence.

Bunny Bear and Statue of Liberty
Bunny Bear and Statue of Liberty

Why call it Bunny Bear? My father called all the women in the family “Bunny”: my mom, me, and, when she was born, my daughter who gave me a teddy bear called “Bunny Bear”. The love that Bunny Bear represents keeps me company always and I’m happy to share that love.

The images on the coloring book pages are based on the video stories that you can see when you click on: Bunny Bear Adventures in Diversity Land.


20% DISCOUNT: $19.95 & Postage only $3.50 


Diversity and Speech No. 38: Conversations at The Cheech – by Carlos Cortés

I’m no artist.  Never have been.  I’ve always enjoyed viewing art, but I can’t draw or paint a lick.  I even finished at the bottom of last December’s family cookie decorating contest.

Thankfully, the Riverside (California) Art Museum didn’t know about my failings when it asked me to become the consulting humanist for its new venture, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, better known as The Cheech.   I stepped into a brand new world.   Here’s what happened.

Continue reading Diversity and Speech No. 38: Conversations at The Cheech – by Carlos Cortés