Tag Archives: Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

Future of Diversity Amid Pandemic – ADR TOWN HALL

ADRThe American Diversity Report (ADR), an award-winning digital multimedia platform, offered a virtual Town Hall featuring a distinguished panel of experts to discuss the future of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in education and employment amid COVID-19. We thank the many donors who made this event and ADR’s next year possible. CLICK to see List of ADR DONORS 

“For 15 years, ADR’s dozens of writers from around the U.S. and the world have provided Inspiration, Instruction, and Innovation expertise.  We recognize that COVID-19 requires an innovative approach to Diversity, Equity  Inclusion,” said Deborah Levine, ADR’s Editor-in-Chief and award-winning author of 15 books.

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Continue reading Future of Diversity Amid Pandemic – ADR TOWN HALL

July 4th Prayer – by Deborah Levine

Originally written for Generation 42 Global Reformers July 4th Prayer Service 

As we gather together virtually for the July 4th celebration, my first thought is to ask for the blessing of our Creator who has placed us all on this precious planet. Our faith leads us to a shared hope for a future where we can harmonize, not homogenize, at the intersection of race, ethnicity, religion, generation, and gender represented in this country. That hope was not a conscious one growing up in British Bermuda as the only Jewish little girl on the island. But I’m honored to now be recognized as a Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer by Forbes Magazine. And I’m both honored and astounded to be an Award-winning author of 15 books on cultural diversity and the founder of the American Diversity Report where I’ve served as editor for 15 years.

I’m astounded because my early dream was to be a ballerina, forever in pink ballet slippers. But God had other plans for me. Perhaps that’s why, even as a youngster, I was surrounded by diverse cultures and appreciated their artistic expressions.
Continue reading July 4th Prayer – by Deborah Levine

My Lifelong Journey as a Trailblazer for Diversity & Inclusion – by Deborah Levine

Why I created the ADR and
Why we need your support

When asked why I created the American Diversity Report (ADR), I’m tempted to answer that diversity is in my DNA. I was brought up as the only Jewish little girl on the 24 square miles of British Bermuda in a family that immigrated from Russian territories. When we moved to New York, I was bullied for my colonial British accent and found comfort in the music, dance, and folktales of diverse cultures. I played the violin, performed ballet, and wrote stories and poems to express my sense of exclusion. When illness prevented all other expression, reading became my world and writing became my voice.

Two decades ago, I had to resign my job as an executive director of a Jewish Federation because I’d almost died on a mission to Uzbekistan, diversity again surfaced as my passion. But this time, I wanted to leave a legacy that would change the world. I created the Women’s Council on Diversity along with a community Global Leadership Course and a Youth Multicultural video contest. But of all my creations, the American Diversity Report is closest to my heart.

I persevere in this endeavor despite ongoing health challenges. I’m now in my golden years and have endured major surgery resulting in my being unable to speak for years. Unfortunately, I’ve also suffered through mourning the deaths of every member of my nuclear family. May they Rest In Peace.

I’m grateful for my life and the ability to continue my father’s legacy as a U.S. military intelligence officer who liberated a Nazi death camp during World War II. In addition to being the founder and editor-in-chief of ADR, I have served as the executive director of Jewish Federations, created the DuPage/Chicago Interfaith Resource Network and the Southeast Women’s Council on Diversity.

While working in Tulsa, I was trained by the FBI in addressing and responding to hate groups after the tragic Oklahoma City bombing and destruction of the Murrah federal building by white supremacist domestic terrorists. I currently serve on the Tennessee Holocaust Commission and the Chattanooga Council Against Hate. My latest book is titled “When Hate Groups March Down Main Street: Engaging A Community Response”.

Deborah Levine at her book signing

In addition to being an award-winning author of 15 books — and being named by Forbes Magazine as a top “Diversity and Inclusion Trailblazer” — I am still humbled by the honor of giving people a voice through the ADR. It’s a privilege to engage every day with people of goodwill in tikkun olam (which in Hebrew means “repair of the world“).

The ADR has benefitted the workplace and communities locally, nationally and globally for the past 15 years. The ADR has always been free of charge as part of my lifetime efforts to help foster humanity’s understanding and acceptance of diversity, inclusion and related issues in our increasingly multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic nation — and, indeed, the world.

I’ve had no greater calling in my quest to shape a better future than the ADR. Not only does it deliver a vital message about the importance of diversity and inclusion, but it helps make our world a better place for all people. The ADR is needed now more than ever, as current events attest.

My goal is to ensure that the American Diversity Report will continue to provide a valuable public service as an educational and informational online media platform and training resource for a new generation of leaders — and for every generation.

CLICK to join the Boost the American Diversity Report Campaign.

The funds will be leveraged to expand the award-winning ADR platform, which hosts a diverse writers community of more than 800 articles, podcasts and community projects like ADR New Beginnings. The funds will also boost the ADR’s reach and readership of expert articles covering timely issues of race, color, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, generational differences, and thought leadership on diversity and inclusion.

The Fall edition if the ADR begins in September. Therefore, I hope to reach our funding goal by August 31 with your generous help and kind support. Please join me in my mission to Promote Diversity, Foster Inclusion and Counteract Hate. Together, we can make a real and lasting impact for the betterment of society during these troubling times and for all times.

I will thank all the ADR contributors in the September newsletter, but I can’t thank you enough for your kind consideration to make a lasting real-world difference by supporting diversity and inclusion efforts which are needed now more than ever.

Thank you and God bless you.

White Allyship and Racism – by Joseph Nwoye, Sabah Holmes, Margie Crowe

 Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Racism is real; it has always been on display even if some continue to deny its existence. Our society has accepted, allowed, sanctioned, and even encouraged discrimination and violence against Black people for over four hundred years. When we see or hear people chant Black Lives Matter, they are essentially saying that sanctioned or unsanctioned, covert or overt racism, continued discrimination, conscious or unconscious and violence against Black people must come to an end. These people who have seen and experienced racial inequality in all aspects of their lives in a society where the discriminatory practice is embedded within federal, state, and local communities recognize how profoundly their lives have been affected on a daily basis and in some cases, lives that have been lost.  Continue reading White Allyship and Racism – by Joseph Nwoye, Sabah Holmes, Margie Crowe

Trends and Challenges: Systemic Diversity Panel

What’s Next for Inclusion?

Systemic Diversity Panels share ideas, articles, research and resources that reinforce our quest for diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice. The Systemic Diversity and Inclusion Linked group allow participants to share their work and encourage them to do so in a manner that is consistent with the group’s vision for peace, equity and social justice for all.

CLICK for Systemic Diversity Panel Podcast

This group is committed to sharing ideas on effective policies and practices to eradicate misconceptions and biases in diverse workplaces, and thus promote positive work environments for all people. We also profile members and their work that aligns with our  vision. See interviews at Systemic Diversity and inclusion Group.

Deborah LevineDeborah Levine (Moderator)

Award-winning Author (14 books), including Un-Bias Guide for Leaders and Religious Diversity at Work | Speaker/Trainer & Coach | Founder/Editor: American Diversity Report |
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA (See her Bio)

Joseph NwoyeJoseph Nwoye, Ed.D (Partner)

Diversity & Inclusion Consultant with Unique Ability to Address Unconscious Bias, Inclusive Leadership @ Work & Beyond | Author of three books, including the most recent, Cultivating a Belief System for All (See his latest interview)
Montgomery Village, Maryland, USA

Colonel ReginaldColonel Reginald Hairston

Proven Senior Level Leader | Multiple Years Experience Setting Strategic Direction and Managing Change | Innovator | Author of Simple Man’s Leadership Guide
Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

AtenaAtena Hensch

Inclusive Diversity and belonging Specialist | Unconscious Bias | Gender | Cultural Intelligence | Certified Trainer
Geneva Area, Switzerland

 

LouiseLouise Duffield

VP @GatedTalent | SEO | Executive Search | Social Media | Branding | LinkedIn Optimization | LinkedIn Profile Writer
United Kingdom

What Makes Someone Latinx? – by Susana Rinderle and Addy Chulef

It’s More Than Just DNA

Camila, a successful professional, grew up in Buenos Aires with an Argentinian mom and a Guatemalan dad. Her native language is Spanish, and she dances tango and sips yerba mate.

But when asked about her cultural identity, “Latina” is not her first answer. “Because my grandparents are European Jews who migrated to South America and I grew up celebrating Jewish traditions and learning Hebrew, I feel more connected to Israel than Argentina,” she says. “I am a Latina, but I’m other identities too that mean as much to me.”

In an era when diversity goals categorize people into simple identity boxes, Camila’s story is not unique, and raises questions: What makes someone Latina? Is it DNA? Parents from Latin America? Who has the right to claim a Latinx identity?

Susana, one of Camila’s colleagues, has a similar experience but a different story. A fluent Spanish speaker with dark brown hair, she studied, worked, and lived in Mexico for many years – including dancing and singing backup in a grupo versátil band. Most of her closest friends, romantic partners and godchildren are Mexican.

For decades, many people have assumed Susana is Latina — but she is racially White. While Latinx multiracial heritage includes White Europeans, Susana has no Latin American DNA. Can she declare she is culturally Latina? 

The Impact of Latinx Multi-dimensional Identities

Identity – one’s sense of self – is a core and ancient human need. For millennia, identity has been synonymous with belonging, and belonging synonymous with safety and sustenance. This belonging was granted through the happenstance of one’s birth – random genetics and geography.

What forms our identity today is far more complex, nuanced and dynamic. Navigating a world where name and appearance don’t always indicate affiliation can be disorienting. However, as growing trends in migration, interracial mixing and cross-cultural contact continue, learning to navigate this world is a must-have. Latinxs are the vanguard of a trend in multi-identity that will affect more people over time.

This trend presents three major challenges:

  • Multi-identity people face challenging cognitive and social complexities. As genetic and geographical borders blur, more people have more identities to manage. Managing them through “code switching” can require greater awareness and brain power as well as skill, which can be stressful or confusing. While there is freedom in identity fluidity, there is also limitation in the loss of a singular personal point of reference.
  • Multi-identity people disrupt traditional identity categories. While many argue that the U.S. penchant for racial categorization is divisive and outdated, brain science indicates that we do notice physical traits in others we categorize as racial, then assign qualities based on those traits. Connecting identities to outcomes helps institutions track whether or not their policies and practices are equitable. But when identities become increasingly blurry and fluid, such data lose their usefulness. Eventually institutions will have to redefine what “diversity” means, and re-examine how to track equity and progress.
  • Greater disorientation and disconnect for everyone. Not always knowing “what” another person “is,” nor having clear norms for how to identify someone, presents a new challenge for our species. People may be less likely to engage deeply with one another for fear of making a wrong assumption. Those with multidimensional identities can experience exclusion or bigotry towards their non-visible identities. They also bear the burden of managing others’ confusion and questioning when those identities are revealed.

Creating inclusive environments for multi-identity individuals

The following six practices can create more inclusive environments for multi-identity people:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be unsure, or to guess. Noticing that you’re not sure about someone’s identity, and maintaining curiosity, will keep your brain from solidifying around the initial assumptions we all make when meeting someone new. Have fun inside your mind trying to guess, but be careful about guessing out loud until you know someone better.
  2. Be curious and listen for cues. This isn’t stereotyping, it’s discovery. Learning about another person’s identities and seeing all their selves respects their full humanity and creates connection. Listen to how they talk and what they say. If they trust you, multi-identity individuals will give you clues about who they are.
  3. Consider asking. If rapport and trust have been built, most multi-identity people appreciate the question. It shows that you understand identity is important to them, and that you want to know all of their selves. Steer away from clichéd questions like “Where are you from?” and try “May I ask, how do you identify culturally?” Avoid direct or continued probing if the person’s body language indicates discomfort.
  4. Catch and check your assumptions. Camila recalls her first Mexican restaurant experience in grad school where her friends asked her what she’d recommend from the menu. She answered: “You probably don’t want my advice. Tacos are shoe heels, burritos are donkeys, and fajitas…means ‘girdles!’” Another approach might be, “Camila, I’m not sure of your background, do you have any insight into this menu?” Pay close attention to nonverbal feedback to gauge how your good intentions are received.
  5. Focus on what a person’s identity means to them, not what it means to you. An identity label is an entry point, not the entire story. Once you discover someone is Brazilian, you risk damaging connection if you immediately start talking about your trip to Rio. Balance curiosity with respect – the other person may not be interested in satisfying your curiosity. Avoid treating them as your personal tour guide or cultural interpreter (“Your dad was Mexican? How did he treat your mom, was he ‘macho’?”). Such conversations aren’t taboo, but they will emerge organically as trust is built.
  6. Reflect the person’s identity back to them. Spell and pronounce the person’s name accurately and avoid shortening it or creating a nickname. Not everyone named Pamela likes to be called Pam; some who pronounce their name as “George” spell it “Jorge.” When in doubt, ask. Never contradict or tell someone how they should name or identify themselves.

Multi-identity people like Latinxs play a critical role in bringing the “should” reality of identity closer by disrupting what “is.” Camila, Susana and others like them embody a new approach where identity is defined by both embracing and transcending the simple facts of a DNA test.

Note: Names and some details have been changed to protect anonymity.

Two Letters – taking a stand! – by Terry Howard

As sheer coincidence would have it, I’d just finished rereading Dr. King’s famous “Letter from A Birmingham Jail” when the following excerpts of a letter from my good friend “Shirley” popped up in my email:
Dear Pastor, I first want to say that I have benefitted from your sermons since I have been a part of your congregation. I, however, have some concerns that prompted me to write to you. I know that my political beliefs aren’t necessarily in line with a large portion of the congregation. I knew that when I first started worshipping here but I didn’t perceive it to be a concern. I believed this to be true because I try to look at people and issues and determine the best course of action based upon all that I hear, read, observe and analyze. Based on that process, I pray that I know what is the most prudent to address and decisions to make.  

Continue reading Two Letters – taking a stand! – by Terry Howard

Asian Americans Must Vote for Inclusion- by Celeste Chen

When they first came to America, my parents, now Asian Americans, lived in a cramped apartment, first in New York, and then in Boston. My father likes to recount stories of how he would have to make multiple treks in the middle of New England snowstorms to buy diapers because they didn’t have enough money for bus fare.

Continue reading Asian Americans Must Vote for Inclusion- by Celeste Chen

Diversify into the Future – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

DEBORAH LEVINE“As we gather together at this exploration & celebration of our cultural diversity, let us ask for the blessing of our Creator who has placed us all on this precious planet. Let us give thanks for our shared hope for a future where we can harmonize, not homogenize, the intersection of race, ethnicity, religion, generation, and genders represented in this room.” That’s how I began my invocation prayer for Chattanooga’s Chamber of Commerce Diversify Summit. The luncheon at the Convention Center was packed with every generation, from grey-haired sages to newborn infants with their moms. Attendees represented corporations, small businesses, universities and colleges, nonprofits, networking groups, media, and municipal agencies.

Continue reading Diversify into the Future – by Deborah Levine

Pamela Teagarden: Systems Models to Sustain Inclusive Diversity

As a former banker, with grad studies in behavioral psychology, Pam Teagarden works from the intersection of business and behaviors. She developed AI models of ‘Inclusive Diversity’ using cutting-edge systems information to provide performance-based measures of effective inclusion, linking diverse workforces directly to increasing competitive advantage and to sustainable high levels of employee engagement.

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