Posts tagged with "equity"

Black Girl Duo Debate Team Harvard illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Black Girl Duo Wins International Debate Competition at Harvard

For the first time in the history of the Harvard Debate Council, two Black girls from Atlanta have made history as the first Black female duo to win the annual summer debate competition at Harvard University.

Each summer, the Harvard Debate Council, one of the oldest campus organizations at Harvard University, hosts a summer residential program for hundreds of gifted youths from over 15 countries around the world who converge on campus for two weeks of intensive study, which culminates in a program-wide debate tournament. This year’s residency and competition were held virtually due to COVID-19 protocols.

Jayla Jackson, 16, is a rising junior at Holy Innocence Episcopal School. Emani Stanton, 17, is a rising senior at North Atlanta High School. Both girls are current members of the Atlanta-based Harvard Diversity Project, an initiative founded by Harvard’s award-winning debate coach and author Brandon P. Fleming. In 2017, Harvard accepted Fleming’s proposal to establish the Diversity Project as a means to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.

Fleming recruits underserved Black youth in Atlanta with little to no prior debate experience. He trains them every weekend for one year in Atlanta leading up to the Harvard summer program, exposing them to higher-level academic disciplines. In four years, Fleming has raised over one million dollars to enroll over 100 African-American students into the Harvard debate residency on full scholarship. All four cohorts trained by Fleming’s unique curriculum have gone on to win the international debate competition at Harvard.

This year, Jackson and Stanton secured the 4th consecutive championship for the Atlanta-based team with an undefeated 10-0 record. The topic of debate was, “Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially increase its defense commitments in the Baltic States.”

Fleming emphasizes to his students that the program is “bigger than debate.” He states, “The achievements of this program and our scholars reveals to the world the power of educational equity.” Jackson remarks about the historic win, “We want to use our platform to show people what’s possible when the playing field is leveled for those who need it most.”

The Harvard Diversity Project has already accepted a new cohort who will begin training in preparation for the Harvard debate residency of 2022.

You can read more about the story of the program and its founder in Brandon P. Fleming’s bestselling book, MISEDUCATED: A Memoir.

Check Out This Behind the Scenes Footage of Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton.

Keep Up With The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project:

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ABOUT BRANDON P. FLEMING:

Brandon P. Fleming is an award-winning, Harvard educator and author of MISDUCATED: A Memoir. His story of struggle, success, and service has inspired millions around the world. An at-risk youth and college dropout turned award-winning educator, Fleming is Assistant Debate Coach at Harvard University and Founder/CEO of the Harvard Diversity Project. Fleming was recruited to join the Harvard debate faculty at the age of 27. Harvard later approved Fleming’s proposal to establish a new department within the university system called the Harvard Diversity Project – an unprecedented pipeline program of the Harvard Debate Council. For four years, Fleming has led an executive staff and board that has raised over a million dollars to enroll over 100 students of color into Harvard’s international summer debate residency on full scholarship. Fleming recruits underserved youth with no prior debate experience whom he then trains to compete against hundreds of elite debaters from over 25 different countries around the world. Since the program’s inception in 2017, every cohort trained by Fleming has won the international competition. In 2020, Fleming was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and The Root magazine recognized Fleming as one of the top 100 most influential African Americans in the United States. In 2021, Fleming received an honorary doctorate from North Carolina Wesleyan College designating him, Dr. Fleming, Doctor of Humanities.

ABOUT THE HARVARD DEBATE COUNCIL DIVERSITY PROJECT:

A subsidiary of the Harvard Debate Council, Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project (HDP) is an Atlanta-based pipeline program that recruits, trains, and matriculates highly motivated black youth into a summer debate residency at Harvard College. HDP cultivates scholars seeking to further their education at elite colleges & universities.

The goal of the Harvard Diversity Project is to promote educational equity by creating opportunities for underserved youth to gain exposure and access to academic training that will distinguish them as top candidates in the college admissions process. Beyond the classroom, the HDP builds integrity-filled leaders who contribute to the community and value service.

Joel Peterson photo via Deseret News for use by 360 Magazine

Joel Peterson x My Road to Cancellation

Joel Peterson, Stanford Professor and former JetBlue Chairman, writes about his experience navigating the minefield of woke hostility in his piece My Road to Cancellation:

“Wokeism,” America’s new civil religion, draws on elements of neo-Marxism, critical race theory, social justice and identity politics. Its adherents believe it will lead to a more just society. Its detractors, on the other hand, believe its “cancel culture” will push civil society to the brink. And, for the “woke,” either will do.

The roots of my own unlikely cancelation go as far back as 1987, when Jesse Jackson marched Stanford students up Palm Drive to a rhythmic chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western Civ has got to go!” The next year, I joined the advisory council of its Graduate School of Business where I was soon invited to fill a one-year faculty vacancy. To everyone’s surprise (including my own), I returned every fall for the next three decades to teach four courses to a generation of exceptional MBA candidates.

Then, last year, before a student-politician boldly posted that “White people need to be eradicated,” I was summoned to respond to an equally disturbing complaint over having “triggered” woke students. Because I didn’t think I’d done anything worthy of the summons and because I had received the distinguished teaching award from students, a “Silver Apple Award” from alumni and been appointed to a faculty chair, I wasn’t worried. Alas, I’d misjudged my peril.

Years after Jackson’s campaign to eliminate Stanford’s requirement to study Western civilization, an Iowa-born, New York Times reporter, Nikole Hannah-Jones, developed what she titled “The 1619 Project.” In it, she presented America as founded on slavery and stained by perpetual bigotry.

With boosts from the Pulitzer Foundation and from George Floyd’s tragic death, her social justice message struck a nerve. However, when a number of historians debunked the pseudo-history, Hannah-Jones repositioned her essay as “a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative.” She followed up with a New York Times Magazine article headlined “What is Owed” making a case for reparations, consistent with her 1995 letter to the editor in Notre Dame’s “The Observer,” in which she likened Christopher Columbus to Hitler.

With police departments defunded, monuments vandalized and cities torched, Dr. Seuss was soon condemned as racist, Mr. Potato Head scheduled for gender reassignment, and free speech restricted by social media oligarchs. So, it wasn’t a surprise to see social justice warriors on the previously welcoming Graduate School of Business campus.

Content of character vs. color of skin

In a class I teach, students objected when guest CEOs claimed to have been “color blind.” When I volunteered that I, too, had resisted hiring based on skin color, gender or quotas, and had relied, instead, on character, competence and commitment, some students were offended. To understand why those “triggered” would object to standards of character and competence being added to the emergent holy grail of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), I turned to one of my own daughters.

Sensing my bafflement at the outrage, she immediately wrote back:

“I have known you my entire life, and I know by your words and deeds that you value all people of all races, ethnicities, and genders. I know you are constantly impressed and inspired by immigrants and their amazing stories of courage and perseverance. I’m proud of the work you’ve done. If this younger, ‘triggered’ generation pushes out of their lives all who seek to improve their understanding, teach them, and open their minds to broader ways of thinking, it will be to their detriment.”

I’d taught my kids – and, until now, my students — that talent, character, and competence are evenly distributed across every demographic. In response to my determination to be on the lookout for leaders without regard to identity, an offended gender-studies major wrote that she’d not known “whether to scream or throw up.” After all, it had been nearly 60 years since Martin Luther King had dreamt of the day when the content of one’s character mattered more than the color of one’s skin. But, by the time that day happily arrived, “wokeism” had hijacked his dream, re-elevating skin color over character.

As demands for skin-color diversity were broadened to include gender and sexual orientation, a student notified me that I’d called on more men than women in two (of four) classes. Knowing that I was no respecter of persons — whether by gender, race, sexual orientation, or anything else — I moved ahead with the course, suddenly aware that my interactions with students were being catalogued by identity.

Soon, a Black Lives Matter advocate asked, of all things, whether I would stand for the American flag. To provide context for my decision, I shared a story. As a toddler, I’d seen my mother take a call from the Department of Defense announcing that her fighter-pilot brother had been killed. Honoring her grief, I’d chosen to stand for the flag under which my only uncle had offered the ultimate sacrifice. The student’s response was presented as an irrefutable argument; my choice was “racist.”

Furthermore, in this woke new world, my professional experience was no longer relevant because of the race and gender I’d been assigned at birth. Despite having created tens of thousands of jobs, promoted women and minorities, and coached scores of entrepreneurs, I was deemed an “oppressor” in the catechism of “wokeism.” Furthermore, the penance for being raised in a “systemically racist” society — founded on millennia of Greek, Roman and Judeo-Christian antecedents, no less — was submission, and, if resisted, cancelation.

The reason behind such tyranny came into focus for me when Condolezza Rice, former secretary of state and current director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, told me she’d shared with her students that the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (9/11’s architect) had felt like “having Erwin Rommel under lock and key.” The blank looks on the faces of her very bright students revealed that they had never heard of WWII’s famous Desert Fox.

Until then, I’d traced the enmity to activists like Jackson and Hannah-Jones. Now, I could see that it also stemmed from students having swapped an education for indoctrination. Those enlisted as social justice warriors had avoided the lessons of history, missed out on refining skills that might have allowed them to judge assertions, and denied themselves the insights required to make wise trade-offs.

Because such uninformed activism brought with it a minefield of woke hostility, I kept to myself any reservations I harbored about critical race theory, gender fluidity, and climate alarm. And, when Stanford’s math department proposed achieving “racial equity” by eliminating AP math (as racist, no less), I also kept quiet. Instead, I hoped my hardscrabble climb to CEO might inspire those who saw themselves as victims of inequity. Ironically, those who strained to label my uphill journey a product of “white supremacy” were often the very beneficiaries of woke preferences.

Oppressor-victim

To understand this recipe for canceling predecessor generations, I spoke next with Stanford military historian Victor Davis Hanson. Because Hanson had written the following, I wanted his help in gracefully handling the oppressor-victim theme:

“We should not… allow a current affluent, leisure, and pampered generation to hijack the past, and damn it to perdition. (They have) not earned the right to… cancel… those of the past who won Gettysburg, or built the Hoover Dam, or produced a Liberty ship every week.”

While Stanford had long nurtured a remarkably diverse and admirably inclusive community, it nonetheless rejected Hanson’s counsel in favor of a now fashionable “institutional racism.”

When Graduate School of Business faculty were further instructed to avoid “racist and xenophobic rhetoric and actions against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” I found myself wondering if the addendum were a virtue-signaling accusation, or if it were based on something I’d simply never encountered in all my years at Stanford. And, when the facts behind subsequent murders (of a Capitol police officer and 10 Colorado shoppers) contradicted de rigueur narratives, I wondered if the time had come to move beyond racial memes.

Apparently not. With free markets also labeled “racist,” those of us with responsibilities outside the ivory tower began to feel our “diversity of optic” (based on long experience) had been dismissed in favor of a “diversity of identity” (rooted in ideology). So, while I care deeply about Stanford University, and like and admire its president, provost, and business school dean, I was beginning to feel isolated.

Their deference to selective diversity led me to reflect upon a meeting I’d conducted in Berlin as chairman of JetBlue Airways. After the meeting, I’d taken a stroll down Unter den Linden to the Bebelplatz, 500 yards to the east of Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate. It was at that plaza, on May 10, 1933, that newly empowered Nazi officials had orchestrated the burning of “objectionable” books. Later dubbed “The Night of Shame,” the conflagration eventually contributed to Germany’s liberal democracy turning a blind eye to Kristallnacht, the Holocaust and an appalling rationale for war.

While loath to compare such a long-ago shame with how I was currently feeling in Palo Alto, of all places, I remembered being impressed that, in Berlin, the survivors of that era’s cancelation had later inserted “stumbling stones” between pavers to ensure that all who followed neither forget, nor repeat, that calamity.

As I traversed the once-riven capital city, the ground-level reminders had provoked in me a surge of optimism. Surely, the world would avoid the sort of conflict for which my own father had gone to war. Surely, everyone realized by now that banning books, restricting free speech and stoking fear would lead to tragedy. And, just as surely, America would eventually reject totalitarianism, even in its “wokest” form.

Yet, here I was, only three years later, 6,000 miles to the west of Berlin, sensing I was perilously connected to a prior generation’s intolerance. Adding to my anxiety was a discovery that my grandchildren’s generation were being scheduled to view an honorable heritage through a lens cleverly manufactured to provoke shame.

Forced to consider moving to a less hostile teaching environment, I heard from former students. One female “of color” offered that, of all her professors, I’d been the most supportive of women and minorities. Another confirmed that the majority of his classmates felt silenced by the threats of a racist label. One student even scolded me for having allowed “the slings and arrows” of the woke to achieve their hoped-for effect.

I smiled wanly to see that Prince Hamlet had somehow survived Jesse Jackson. I, on the other hand, had failed utterly to anticipate the distorting polemics of identity politics. The script advanced during America’s annus horribilis had pitted race against race, gender against gender, and generation against generation, all risking a degradation of spirit worse than any virus.

As a former CEO, it seemed to me that the narrative had gone well beyond gaining political or market advantage. It had even exceeded antifa’s hope for French-Revolution-style anarchy. In fact, by 2021, it looked like a bold attempt at a hostile takeover of mankind’s best hope for peace and prosperity.

This conclusion led me to contrast two Americans best known for their connections to societal breakdown — a mid-19th-century Abraham Lincoln and a mid-20th-century Saul Alinsky. I selected Lincoln because he’d guided America through a civil war, and Alinsky because his dream had been to provoke civil unrest by inciting those he called the “have-nots” against those whom he called the “haves.”

President Lincoln’s observation of America’s vulnerability mirrored community organizer Alinsky’s precondition for a successful revolution. Thus, the warning attributed to Lincoln that “America will never be destroyed from the outside; if we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves” was the basis for the race and class warfare Alinsky welcomed by rewriting history, inciting envy and “canceling” a large portion of the population.

Whereas Martin Luther King had called upon our “better angels” to subordinate our differences to shared values and, thus, to overcome what Condi Rice called our nation’s “birth defect,” Alinsky chose to repudiate King’s redemptive dream. If he could get people to ignore e pluribus unum (America’s motto since 1782), he might be able to overcome the spirit under which the nation had thrived.

By 2020, the pandemic had offered activists a unique opportunity to cleave the nation along identity and tribal lines, skirting the 238-year-old aspiration that had been Alinsky’s steepest obstacle. Using a fear of cancellation to silence half the population, SJWs dismissed the steady social progress that was the trademark of the world’s most successful multicultural society. Instead of celebrating the progress flowing from our commonalities, they fomented division by pointing to historical injustices.

Between a pandemic, racial tensions and the absence of a Lincolnesque figure to bind up our wounds and bring us together, America was, indeed, vulnerable. As its citizens awakened to the soft tyranny promoted during the pandemic, many felt betrayed by institutions they’d once admired and leaders they’d once trusted. And, for my part, I discovered that the experience I’d had with cancellation in the academy was being repeated all across the nation.

While I may well survive, America will not survive the rewriting of its history, the violation of its Constitution and the abandonment of the freedoms it has promised to citizens of all political persuasions, ethnicities, genders and orientations. No matter our differences, unless we preserve free speech, secure our Constitution and re-enthrone individual responsibility over victimhood, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will be unable to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

And Alinsky’s vision will have canceled Lincoln’s.

Joel Peterson Bio

Joel Peterson is the Robert L. Joss Professor of Management at Stanford University, the former managing partner of the Trammell Crow Company, the former chairman of the board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution, the former chairman of JetBlue Airways and the founder and chairman of Peterson Partners, a sponsor for a quarter century of more than a dozen funds covering private equity, venture and real estate investments in hundreds of companies and real estate projects across the nation and throughout the world.

Analytics Illustration by Ivory Nguyen for use by 360 Magazine

Diversity & Inclusion Research Conference

Diversity & Inclusion Research Conference to return for its fourth year.

Researchers, practitioners, corporate leaders and philanthropists share findings and best practices to address today’s most pressing societal issues.

The fourth annual Diversity & Inclusion Research Conference (DIRC21) will take place as a virtual event on November 17-19, 2021. DIRC21 brings together researchers, practitioners, corporate leaders, philanthropists and policymakers to share findings and best practices for today’s most pressing societal issues related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), ranging from health and wealth inequities, to social justice and workplace DEI.

“The inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the murder of George Floyd have raised global awareness of the profound impact of one’s personal traits on virtually every facet of our society” said DIRC co-creator Paolo Gaudiano. “DIRC fills a unique and much needed niche, elevating the discourse about DEI beyond qualitative, narrative approaches.”

DIRC21, organized by DEI research nonprofit Aleria Research Corp (ARC) in partnership with the New York University Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Innovation, will be hosted on the Socio virtual event platform, and all content will be available at the DIRC website info page.

Taking full advantage of its virtual format, DIRC21 will combine pre-recorded and live content to give the audience maximum flexibility in accessing the information that is most interesting and useful to them. In addition to a full roster of talks and panels, DIRC21 will feature live workshops, interactive experiences, immersive videos, fireside chats and Q&A sessions, offering every attendee the opportunity to focus on topics of interest to them.

“Our virtual format, which was originally developed out of necessity, has proven to be superior to in-person events in many ways” said Toni Shoola, DIRC co-organizer. “We learned a lot last year, and for DIRC21 we are unveiling even more ways for the audience to gain invaluable knowledge about DEI.”

DIRC will showcase an impressive lineup of speakers and panelists from corporations, foundations, academic institutions, government agencies and other sectors, who will discuss the importance of research as a way of addressing a wide range of societal problems related to DEI, while sharing key findings and best practices.

In alignment with its mission, DIRC21 will introduce novel approaches to share its proceeds equitably with presenters, and will also donate a portion of its revenues to a select group of charitable organizations supporting greater inclusion and equity in our society. For additional information or to purchase single or bulk tickets, please visit the DIRC website.

Spark Press image by Amateur Films, LLC for use by 360 Magazine

Spark: A Systemic Racism Story

Documentary Explores Racism’s Roots and Remedies, Offers Free Educational Access

The tragic death of George Floyd sparked the largest global protest in the history of the world, a nationwide discussion, and a more profound look at deep-seated, systemic racism in America. With the Derek Chauvin trial underway and the unsettled fate of police reform, Amateur Films’ 30-minute non-commercial documentary — Spark: A Systemic Racism Story — is available as a complimentary resource to explore racism’s roots and remedies. Since the film’s release in December 2020, individuals, teachers, professors, CEOs, and diversity equity and inclusion (DE&I) leaders began utilizing Spark as a resource for racial justice, equity, and sensitivity.

Created by white allies for all allies, the documentary is an aggregator of interviews and clips of prominent racial justice advocates, providing historical context of policies and procedures that led to the oppression of the Black community. Spark also proposes pragmatic, creative remedies in policing, criminal justice, and society in both full-length and condensed forms.

The producers’ participation in a local demonstration sparked by the death of Mr. Floyd inspired the creation of a non-commercial educational documentary to encourage recognition of unconscious bias and show a path to unlearning the historical narrative that redefined an entire race, supporting authentic and effective white allies.

“The trial of Derek Chauvin illustrates a driving point: being white in America is not needing to state that your life matters. When your life matters, you have power. Some use it for good and some very clearly (as in the case of George Floyd’s murder) do not,” said associate producer Julie Manriquez. “We hope our film helps to provide space for those looking to listen and learn and do the work.”

The documentary is presented in complete, abbreviated, and mini versions and can be viewed at this website. Companies, academic institutions, and organizations are encouraged to utilize Spark as a tool and share within and beyond their circles to further the cause of creating a more equitable society designed for the success of all.

About Amateur Films, LLC

Amateur Films, LLC is based in Minneapolis, MN, created in 2020 by Tom Gegax and Mary Wescott of the Gegax Family Foundation. The production team is made up of volunteers and includes talented and passionate neighbors in addition to the retention of top Hollywood writers, editors, composers, and sound and color experts. Amateur Films was inspired by the June 2020 Black Lives Matter protests as well as Gegax’s personal experience during the late 60s civil rights uprisings when, working in Chicago with 14 Black service station owners in his territory, he developed deeply personal and business relationships as they protected him from harm during these uprisings and their aftermath.

 

Business woman article illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Isn’t it Time to Smash the Myths of Women in Business?

By Andi Simon, Ph.D.

How many times have you heard something said about women that was just not “true?”  The myths seem to be everywhere, even as women penetrate areas that seemed out of bounds in the past.

What do we hear? Women aren’t great leaders. They aren’t decisive or they are too collaborative or too caring. Then you watch Angela Merkel or Kamala Harris, or all the other women today who are leading the way forward in challenging times.

Maybe you are a young woman dreaming of becoming a surgeon, like my granddaughter wants to be, and your teacher suggests you might consider being a pediatrician instead. They might tell you that women don’t make great surgeons, except on “Grey’s Anatomy.” 
 
Maybe you just have great ideas about the fashion industry like so many of those women graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology—and the graduates are almost all women. Those women look around wondering how to smash the ceilings holding them back when they see men running most of the major fashion companies. Women don’t run the companies as well as men do, or so you are told. Women do the work, create great fashion designs, while the men run the companies.

You aren’t even sure that becoming an attorney is the right career for you when you see that 40% of the lawyers are women today but only 19% of equity partners are women and women are less likely to get to the first level of partnership than their male counterparts. You aren’t sure why being a lady lawyer is going to be so tough for you. It is much the same in accounting firms where women are more than 61% of all accountants and auditors, yet less than a third are partners and principals.  

As a woman you feel your boldness emerging. You see the dreams that are becoming realities. You feel a sea change in public and private stories that are being told about what women can do and are doing. But you realize that we are not there yet. We still have a lot of myth-smashing to go before people expect women to be those leaders, surgeons, and great CEOs.

I bet that all you heard from others through much of your life is that your dreams “will never, or might never, happen.” In reply, you might have asked, “Why?” Well, they would tell you something like “that’s not what women do” or “women are meant to have and raise the children, not start their own business.”  You might have been encouraged to study IT, only to find that the world of coding is filled with men who are not particularly encouraging to you and your dreams. You find that, indeed, most surgeons are men, and women are discouraged from going into surgery, are rarely welcome, and often are held  to a higher standard than the men are. 

In the entrepreneurial arena, 40% of the businesses in the U.S. before the COVID-19 pandemic were owned and run by women. Yet less than 3% of the venture-capital investments were in women-owned businesses. The women were going to start and grow their businesses, and hope to succeed, by relying on family, friends, and revenue to underwrite their growth. If we dug deeper, we would find that their markets, often controlled by men, were not particularly supportive of those women-owned businesses, and neither bought from them nor helped them build their businesses. 

The gap between the achievements of women and the culture in which they are trying to succeed reflects the myths that men have created over centuries and reluctantly modified in more recent times. What is a myth? Think about the stories that we tell each other, our children, our friends, about what we believe to be those “sacred ways we do things” in our societies. 

As people, the secret of our success is in those imagined realities that we create to give meaning to our daily lives. Our cultural myths have driven how we believe our lives should be lived. Once we give these stories, these mythical “truths,” almost “godlike” power, these myths become what we believe are immutable realities. Are they “real”? Yes and no. They are what the stories in our minds believe to be our “reality.” But they can change, if we collaborate with our minds, change our stories, and share those new ones so our shared stories can change as well. This is not a solo act, even though it might feel that way.

These are myths that need to be smashed if we are going to change how men and women relate to each other, how women can succeed, and how organizations of all sizes and in all industries can find greatness in the women with whom they work and live. 

None of this is happening to diminish the value or importance of men. Many men are great mentors and coaches to their women employees.  It is just time for men to shift over and enable, encourage and empower women so both men and women can create better societies, businesses, schools, hospitals, and everything that is so important in our lives. Let’s change those men’s clubs enough to let women in without the men fleeing them. 

It is time to get past the gender fatigue that men are feeling about having to actually address the inclusion, equity and need for diversity in their workplaces, in their organizations, and in our government. The times demand it. Women are ready for it. And the shift is happening, despite the brick walls, the glass ceilings, the enduring men’s clubs. These are important times to rethink our myths about what women can do and what men will allow them to achieve. It is time for men and women to rewrite these myths so women can thrive, and our society can become the best that it can be. 

Andi Simon, Ph.D., author of the new book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Community illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Alt-Right Billboard Petition

The internet has given everyone a voice, and Change.org has become one of the most popular platforms for using that voice.

One of the site’s petitions that seems to be picking up steam, almost reaching 100,000 signatures, is a petition to remove a billboard advertising WhitePrideRadio.com and AltRightTV.com.

According to the post on Change.org, Harrison Sign Co., a sign company based out of Harrison, Arkansas, has posted several racist billboards over the past few years.

“The billboards have done tremendous damage to our community by giving the impression that our citizens support their messages and don’t object to their presence,” the post said.

The post also said that the community has worked to remove previous billboards found to be equally offensive, but this one still stands.

Commenters and residents have also taken to Change.org to express their discontent with the billboard.

One commenter by the name of Amber Harris said, “This sign is an embarrassment to our community and a stain on our town. Our community deserves better. Our minorities deserve better.”

Another commenter, John Henderson, said, “This does not represent the view of the people of Harrison. It is bad for the reputation and economy of the town.”

The petition has a goal of 150,000 signatures. If you’d like to help by adding your signature, you can click right here.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Miss America Diverstiy, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Selected

Miss America DEI

During this time of national protest and unrest, many participants and volunteers within our organization have reached out to MAO to express their thoughts and feelings regarding the ongoing conversation around racial justice and MAO’s role in it. We have heard you and we are committed to further action.

As many of you know, a few years ago MAO formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) task force led by Miss America 1990 Debbye Turner Bell. A few weeks ago, the Miss America Organization put out the ask to Current Titleholders, Forever Miss Americas, Miss America State Titleholder Association, Executive Directors, and Volunteers to gauge their willingness to form a new committee with renewed focus. We are grateful that 68 women and men from across the country expressed interest in being a part of the forward movement of Miss America.

Given the current makeup of the Miss America Board of Directors and staff, we felt that it was appropriate to have an outside Selection Committee take on this important task. Below are the professionals who volunteered their time and energy to MAO:

Samantha M. Fennell

Samantha is the founder of HONE, a New York-based business development consultancy that helps purpose-driven organizations in three key areas: revenue growth, strategy, D&I sales talent, and strategic partnerships. Her clients include media enterprises, advertising agencies, B Corps, and e-commerce platforms who share her passion for driving societal transformation through corporate action and social change.

Samantha has held senior-level and management positions at both major media companies and start-up ventures. From a nearly decade-long stint at Condé Nast where she rose to become the first African American Advertising Director of Vogue, to growing an international advertising agency and building a digital division from the ground up, Samantha has achieved many “firsts” in her 20+ year career and continues to push boundaries.

Samantha launched an online publication this year- A Blessing of Unicorns- a repository of inclusive insights that seeks to dispel the myth of scarcity of outstanding BIPOC and change the world for the next generation.

Brian Vaught

Brian has over 14 years of experience in the advertising, marketing, and media industries. In his current role, Brian leads Publicis Media’s US Talent Inclusion practice across its six brands – Starcom, Zenith, Spark Foundry, Blue449, Digitas, and Performics. Brian leads internal inclusion programs including the Publicis Media Multicultural Talent Pipeline and the agency’s Inclusion Council. He also serves as a mentor and coach to the company’s business resource groups (BRGs) and drives awareness of professional development experiences.

He is a member of Publicis Groupe’s Talent Engagement & Inclusion Council, a board member for the American Association of Advertising Agencies Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, Do The WeRQ, and the T Howard Foundation. He is a recipient of the 2018 Leadership Excellence Award by the Tri-State National Diversity Council

Jason Bryant

Jason Bryan is an Associate Clinical Professor in Educational Leadership at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama for the past 4 years, and is now serving as the director of the Truman Peirce Institute with the College of Education at Auburn. Jason spent 17 years in public K-12 schools serving as a science teacher, high school assistant principal, middle school principal, and high school principal.

Linda Karbo

Linda Karbo serves as Marketing Brand Manager for Residence Education and Housing Services (REHS) at Michigan State University where she is responsible for strategic marketing initiatives & brand oversight of both REHS and the MSU Union. She is proud to be part of the task force that has advanced the “Hate Has No Home Here” and “You Have a Home Here” initiatives at MSU, which pledge and promise to foster a diverse, inclusive, equitable, and safe environment for all within the Spartan community.

Prior to joining the REHS team, Linda served as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events for the MSU College of Arts and Letters for six years and the Assistant Director of Development for the MSU College of Music for three years.

Linda is passionate about relationship building, empathetic listening, mentoring, bridging connections, and the art of the written word. She always has her eye out for a quality life hack or budding trend, and sincerely appreciates good manners and a can-do attitude. Linda describes herself as a realist with a very real layer of imagination mixed in and believes that integrity with a side of empathy is key.

Jennifer Munger

Jennifer Munger is a former elementary school principal and special education teacher. Jennifer’s experiences showed her the importance of every child having an effective teacher, especially students struggling academically and/or engaging in challenging behavior impacting their learning.  She is currently an instructor in the area of special education at Dakota State University.  Jennifer helps preservice teachers and strives to teach effectiveness by developing awareness and understanding of the students that will be entering their classrooms, leading them to better research-based instructional and behavioral tools and strategies.

Abby Charles

Abby Charles is a Program Director at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), The public health institute for Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. At IPHI she provides leadership and coordination for the Community Health Worker Initiatives and provides oversight to a network of Community Health Workers and a portfolio of programs in which the Institute for Public Health Innovation addresses cross-jurisdictional policymaking and information sharing, program refinement, policy, research, training, implementation, evaluation, and technical assistance.

Abby is one of IPHI’s lead trainers and provides technical assistance to organizations regionally and nationally on health and racial equity, collaboration & partnership development, community health workers, health in all policies, women’s health, gender-based violence, and HIV.

Abby is an Adjunct Instructor of Clinical Research and Leadership at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is also a graduate of the George Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Public Health in Global Health Promotion. She presently serves on the board of The Well Project, the Bishop Anstey High School Alumnae Association of Washington, DC and serves as a Commissioner on the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Caribbean Community Affairs for Washington, DC.

Justice illustration

Global Though Leader on Ending Racism

George Floyd’s murder ignited a wave of national and global protests demanding justice and change, including police reform and reparations for Black Americans. Structural Racism is not exclusive to the United States. Racism is clearly a global problem.

In a new interview with C.M. Rubin, Michael Baran, the Co-Author of Subtle Acts of Exclusion, says communities “need to work to address structural inequalities in societies in health, wealth, education, and criminal injustice.” Baran believes that it is important to start talking about bias with preschool children. “If we don’t teach them about this, they will learn passively through all the subtle messages in our culture, which leads to unconscious biases.” Baran additionally advocates for more focus on training teachers to be inclusive, “as teachers can have unconscious biases as well.”

Michael Baran is the Senior Partner & Digital Solutions Lead in InQUEST. He is also the Co-Author of Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions. As an Author, Speaker, and also a Strategist for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Baran has been committed to conducting and organizing ethnographic research for varies social issues, including race and identity, racial disparities in education, violence against children, healthy housing, environmental health, human services, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, climate change, and early childhood development. CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st-century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers.

TokenPay Buys Equity Stake

TokenPay Swiss AG, a Crypto Startup, just bought an equity stake in Naked Brand Group (NAKD), an Australian lingerie company that is best known for Heidi Clum’s fashion lines. TokenPay is looking to introduce women (via lingerie) to crypto in hopes of mainstreaming the crypto space. The average owner of crypto is men from 18 – 35 and TokenPay is hoping they eventually purchase crypto for their significant others to introduce them to the space. Crypto and fashion are unique in that both always take chances to set itself apart from others. Every year a designer needs to create new ideas whereas crypto is changing the way people globally send and receive payments. The goal is to accept TPAY and other currencies at all their online properties.