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AMERICAN DIVERSITY REPORT

Before the Witnesses are Gone -- By Dr. Jill Gabrielle Klein

Fifteen years ago, when I set out to write a book about the Holocaust experiences of my father’s family, I knew I didn’t have forever. At that time, my father and his two sisters—all of whom endured Nazi concentration camps—were still alive. It was remarkable enough that three siblings from one family survived the camps; it was even more extraordinary that they would still be living, all with excellent memories and a willingness to talk, more than half a century later. Recognizing this ...

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April's Rogue Destructors -- by Deborah Levine

Every April, I write about domestic terrorism in the U.S. and the neo-Nazi, white supremacist movement. My articles began with the 168 people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing almost twenty years ago. I became the community and media liaison for Oklahoma's Tulsa Jewish Federation shortly after the bombing so that I could see what led to the deadliest bombing, prior to 9/11, on our native soil.  The violent hatred that I saw then has not only continued, but blossomed in recent years with spring surges. In April 2013, the result was the Boston Marathon bombings. April 2014 has been marked by shootings at a Jewish Community Center and Jewish Seniors Home in Kansas City by a former KKK Grand Dragon and White Supremacist. Here in Chattanooga, the most prominent neo-Nazi group in the US is planning its 40th anniversary rally on the steps of our Court House on April 26, the weekend of Holocaust Memorial Day. Where was their most recent rally just months ago? Kansas City. We cannot, and should not, overlook past lessons, current momentum, and future consequences.

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Creativity, Words, and Branding in a Diverse World -- by Deborah Levine

It’s not easy being catchy, creative and on-target when branding yourself. Projecting our uniqueness into the loud, busy, multicultural market place is a challenge. Many of us don’t see that every detail, like the words we choose, contribute to our brand, even when we think no one’s paying attention. The trick is to make our choices consciously, rather than randomly, as entrepreneurs are trained to do.  Ask me how I know that and I’ll share my story, as well as some tips I learned along the way. << MORE >>

Gay marriage, religious freedom and the need for civil dialogue - by Charles C. Haynes

In recent months, legislators in more than a dozen states — from Hawaii to Georgia — have attempted to enact laws they describe as necessary to protect religious freedom.  Some are broad “religious freedom restoration acts” very similar to laws already on the books in many states. Others are amendments to existing laws aimed at allowing businesses to deny wedding services to gay couples on religious grounds.

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Abandoned Music -- Poem by Jyothsna Phanija

Every evening that house sings in suffocation.

They welcome the night with worships.

Their memory is a big city to relocate hundreds of scales and intricate rhythm combinations.

They have a tempo meter.

The wind heavy with that chanting reaches the garden,

Hits his tumbler filled with water for the plants,

Compels him to pick up some lines,

Some difficult words, and some more notes.



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The Passover and Easter Cross-cultural Dilemma -- by Deborah Levine

Passover is the root story of Judaism. It is a story of religious freedom reliving the Exodus from Egypt, and the struggle to emerge from slavery to freedom. The quest for religious freedom, for the right to practice Judaism, is an ongoing struggle that the Jewish people re-live each year at Passover as Christians re-live the story of Easter.

Passover and Easter come at roughly the same time every spring. Some of the rituals and symbols of the two celebrations overlap: the Seder table, the egg, the wine and the wafer-like matzo. The Jewish heritage of Jesus is especially apparent at this time.

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Voyeur -- Poem by KB Ballentine

A haze hovers around the border of the valley,

smoke trees blazing into bloom, a line of cherry

blushing in between. Pollen lazes on bridges, cars.

 


A brown thrasher lingers on the gate outside my house

        Here I am       Here I am       haha   hahaha

and a nuthatch widens his wings and sways

his ruffled body, warning an uncertain squirrel

from flung crumbs.

 


Access denied, the squirrel nips across the porch,

acorn husks scattering under bony feet.

Nuthatch and goldfinch reclaim the feeder,

beaks wide, new song rising.

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What Broken Bones and Breaking Ground Have in Common -- by Deborah Levine

Yes, I shared my story at the Women Ground Breakers event holding my broken arm. I had a kerfuffle with a department store floor and the floor won. Lying on that floor, all that went through my mind was, “How am I get everything done for our Women’s History Storytelling celebration?”  Part of me muttered,“We’re doomed!”  But part of me said,  “Ah, the Broken Bone Factor! This isn't a disability - this is diversity at work! ”

 

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How Talking About Racism Can Close the Gap Between Ethnicities-- By John H. Davis

Human beings are generally fearful of the unknown, the strange and the unusual. We rightfully warn our children to be aware of and avoid strangers. We place things of an unfamiliar nature in boxes labeled beware, dangerous, harmful or not to be trusted.Thus, a stranger is to be feared. This sets the stage for hatred. To a large degree, people of all ethnic groups tend to be xenophobic, very often without really recognizing it. Xenophobia causes fear, and sometimes fear naturally generates hatred.

 

 

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Unconsciously Biasing Children -- by Susan Popoola

I recently found myself watching the “Doll test” An experiment where children, black and white are shown two different dolls at the same time and asked questions such as which one is pretty, nice, bad and ugly.  Most of the children, black and white alike point to white doll when it comes to the positive attributes and the black doll when it comes to the negative attributes.

Doll Test

I’ve watched experiments several times before – they’re probably just as old as me!  This time though, ...

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Waiting… Story Poem by Sheikha A.

The night outside has only just begun. It is youthful, jaunty with the stars perked up for an eve of dance and delight; much like the twelve princesses from childhood stories. The stars row down the alabaster stretch to a clandestine ball held at some obscured corner of the sky, conspicuous to only lovers – or believers.  


I roam the sky from my window wondering about their revelling and draw up conclusions of success or dejection from the way ...

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Faith, Race, & Leadership: Conversations with Morehouse College’s 11th President - by Deborah Levine

The recent inauguration of Morehouse College’s 11th president is a major milestone not only for HBCUs (Historic Black Colleges and Universities) and the African-American community, but for the country. Yes, I am biased as a former executive with the American Jewish Committee in Chicago, a member of Chicago’s Black-Jewish dialogue thirty years ago, and student on a picket line in the sixties. Hired by AJC to run the midwest interreligious programming, it was my good fortune to coordinate its Black-Jewish Seminarians Conferences and be in dialogue with African-American educators planning the National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations. The discussion of ...

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We Are Not Unique: The British Also Struggle with Diversity -- By Gay Morgan Moore

Riding happily on the London Underground’s crowded Piccadilly Line from St. Pancras to Knightsbridge station, I was headed for the famous Harrods’s Department Store. My fellow passengers were a diverse group. They included two young Asian women, several people from India or Pakistan, a Sikh man with the signature maroon turban, several black people whose accents indicated Caribbean or African origins, several white Brits with various British accents, a few white American tourists, and next to me were two young men, one black, one white talking about their families in South Africa. I ... << MORE >>

Just another Mumbai morning – by Poonam A. Chawla

A lethargic breeze rose and ebbed with the tide, not quite cooling my beaded neck. I lifted my hair and wrapped it in a tight knot, so it wouldn't cling like sticky fingers on my bare shoulders. It was low tide. Beyond the rocky terrain, the ocean muttered darkly, withholding its customary exuberance; I walked as close to the retaining wall as possible, making room for the "real "walkers until I came upon a lone man seated on the wall, an open carton of ... << MORE >>

Shadows Of Unsung Heroes: The Disabled-- by Pat Garcia

Distorted visions and views of perfection and beauty cause societies to exclude the disabled in the cultural diversification process. Sure, we are quick to point out the Para Olympics, or the special games, and education programs designed for people with disabilities. However, these smart and ingenious people are often overlooked in the global community, due to the restricted conception about the role of diversification in the workplace: in sports: and even in marriage. << MORE >>