Posts tagged with "inclusion"

Women Comic Artists are Here #VISIBLEWOMEN

by: Jamia Garrett

On August 5th, 2021 thousands of women took to twitter to share their art portfolios with potential clients and the public using the hashtag #VISIBLEWOMEN. Originally, the tag was targeted at sequential artists by Kelly Sue DeConnick, to shed light to the fact that women in comic art are present in the world and are doing an amazing job at it. The hashtag eventually grew to include women from all artistic fields making the tag a space for creative women from all backgrounds to share pieces themselves to grow their audience. The comic art industry, like so many others is typically a cis-male dominated space with women instead making up a large percentage of children’s and YA graphic novels.

This hashtag was an act of protest due to the fact that women in this field are often overlooked and underrepresented. They are instead passed over for their male counterparts and, like in any field, paid significantly less. In 2018, from July-December both Marvel and DC Comics ran a study on their credited creators. During those months DC Comics released 391 new comics. Only 17.2% of the credited staff were women. Marvel Comics released 486 new comics with only 16.3% of their credited creators being women. These percentages don’t include the considerably small amount of non-Binary creators included.

It doesn’t help that people in this field are freelancers. This means they don’t have to be provided healthcare by the companies they’re freelancing for. Women freelancers with extensive resumes are often overlooked for males with half of their experience leading women to pursue different revenue streams in addition to their comic art. The harassment is another factor which alienates women from keeping a career in comics. Women in the industry have been harassed out of jobs by their peers and by “fans” of those comics determined to keep the industry from evolving. There are noted examples of this happening in major comic companies. There have even been allegations of sexual abuse by men of power in the industry.

Ms. Marvel writer Willow Wilson previously spoke about how hard it was for women to gain professional experience. She said there was a “casting couch” atmosphere to navigating the industry if you were a woman, while men had a very different experience. Men were submitted to the regular trials of networking, knowing the right people and having an ounce of talent.

Historically women with big roles have even been blocked out from conversations in and about the industry. Marie Severin, for example, played a vital part in shaping Marvel Comics into what it is today and still felt left out of conversations while in meetings with men. She acknowledged the “boys club” exists, even in this trade. Marie started out her career as a colorist for EC Comics where it was said by her male peers that she kept the sexualization of female characters from going too far. While there, she was known for using one color on a page, a technique used to put emphasis on the action in a scene that is still used today.

The first documented piece of published sequential art was done by Rose O’Neil in 1896. It was added to a book done by cartoonist Trina Robbins, a notable founder of the underground comic scene who made it her mission to uncover buried women cartoonists. While men were away during WWII women were able to work as comic artists, writing adventure and romance comics only to be replaced by men as they returned home from the war. This erased the legacy that so many women had built for themselves and in some, if not most, cases reduced them to housewives.  Trina Robbins was also openly critical of the sexualization of women in comic production. She’s noted for criticizing work done by Robert Crumbs, being one of few to comment on his choice to display sexual violence against women in a joking manner.

Bottom line, we need this representation in the comic and art world. When women are left out it leads to men being the voice in the room and the unrealistic portrayals of women in them. #VISIBLEWOMEN is encouraging all women to be seen in a space that celebrates and acknowledges their contributions to the art world. With the hashtag animators, 2D artists, concept artists, jewelry makers, and others have the potential to be scouted for their talent and to shape the future of art. This hashtag is part of a longer and deeper legacy for inclusion in the art world. Women make up just about half of comic fans and less than a quarter of women are employed by major comic companies today.

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.

Image via The Purple Agency for 360 Magazine

Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Black-Owned Crowns & Hops Brewing Co Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign Inviting The Community To Be Owners With Crowns

Today Crowns & Hops Brewing Co, the first Black-owned craft beer brand in Inglewood, CA, launches their equity crowdfunding campaign OWN CROWNS to invite the community to invest in the brand’s mission and success. The capital raised will go directly to the buildout of the new flagship restaurant/brewpub Crowns Inglewood, secured at 3200 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA. In an effort to collaborate with the community of Inglewood and those who champion racial equity in the U.S., co-founders Beny Ashburn & Teo Hunter believe this opportunity will allow for the community to invest in the city’s development while supporting Black-owned businesses in the region.

Crowns Inglewood will be a community establishment based in the heart of Inglewood and will provide a safe family-friendly space to gather, dine and have delicious independent craft beer. During a time where most Black & Brown communities feel left out of the development of their own neighborhoods, this investment opportunity allows for the community to participate in the revitalization efforts of the city. Crowns & Hops will offer locals and visitors alike an opportunity to publicly connect in Inglewood/South L.A. to enjoy premium products produced in Inglewood.

This Crowns & Hops early-stage investment opportunity is made possible by the efforts of the Obama Administration who passed the JOBS Act (2012), allowing cited Americans from all walks of life to invest in start-up businesses, not just the wealthy and well connected.

As stated by Beny Ashburn, CEO, Our brand started with the community, now we want to offer the community an opportunity to own a part of Crowns in the City of Champions and wherever we expand.

We have always celebrated the mission of community and ownership in the craft beer industry. We’re excited to bring these concepts of investment and equity to a region that has been starved of resources for generations, said Teo Hunter, COO & Head of Beer Operations.

WHAT

Crowns & Hops Brewing Co launching an equity crowdfunding campaign for the community to invest in the Crowns & Hops brand. Capital will be used for the completion of the flagship restaurant/brewpub Crowns Inglewood

WHEN

Starting Tuesday, 7.20.21

HOW

Through equity crowdfunding platform Start Engine was also successfully used by U.K.-based BrewDog. The JOBS Act, allowing all Americans to invest in start-up businesses, not just accredited Investors

WHERE

To learn more about the Crowns & Hops Brewing Company’s equity crowdfunding campaign and to invest, please visit their website.

Find Crowns and Hops Brewing Company via Instagram, Twitter, official website, Facebook and to invest

ABOUT CROWNS & HOPS BREWING COMPANY

In 6-years, Co-Founders Teo Hunter & Beny Ashburn have become the leaders and voices of a craft beer movement bringing much-needed diversity and inclusion to the industry. Hunter & Ashburn disrupted the status quo of the craft beer industry and built a brand that is bigger than beer. Through their global social movement #BlackPeopleLoveBeer & #BrownPeopleLoveBeer, they have been able to galvanize the voice of people of color in craft beer. Crowns & Hops Brewery Co. will be the first Black-owned brewery in Inglewood, CA, a few short miles from the new Rams/Chargers Stadium.

Crowns & Hops Brewing Co’s mission is to create spaces that are community-centric driving diversity, racial equity, economic growth, and influencing inclusion. This creates jobs and new career paths for people of color in and around the beer industry. Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. is the first-ever craft beer brand that bridges lifestyle, communities of color, dope culture, and delicious craft beer. Welcome to The New Now of craft beer. #OWNCROWNS

Things You Say presents Expression image by Things You Say for use by 360 Magazine

Things You Say presents Expression

Things You Say invites you to join us for a bi-weekly evening of disco and house music at “Things You Say presents Expression.” This performance will debut Thursday, July 15th at The Queensberry in Los Angeles. The free event intends to bring LA’s music community together to celebrate local artists.

“Things You Say presents Expression” is a space of acceptance, camaraderie and liberation. Things You Say presents Expression promotes an open-door policy that celebrates inclusion, intersectionality, and the rich traditions of club culture. In this way, Things You Say provides a unique space that is the “Expression” platform.

“Things You Say presents Expression” hosts artists, musicians and tastemakers from around the world to share their perspective and to explore love with positivity through movement in an embellished multi-sensory environment.

On their Spotify account, Things You Say describes their music as such:

“We are Things You Say. We come from club culture, it’s embedded in us. It’s where we met. It’s where we found ourselves and each other. We want to make you dance. Despite our name, we hope that you’ll say less and dance more.”

The group’s most recent release in collaboration with Arama, “Angel,” celebrates the same feel-good, groovy attitude of club culture. The track illustrates feeling “weightless” while spending time with a lover. Things You Say melodically sings:

“All I wanna do is see the world with you/ the stars/ the moon/ floating with you./ it’s you, I think I found an angel.”

Things You Say has just released a remix for Tiana Major9 out now on Motown listen here. Other remixes from the band features Grimes’ “Miss Anthropocene (Rave Edition.)” The band has 18,550 monthly listeners, the majority of which are based in London, Los Angeles, and New York City. As Things You Say’s influence continues to grow, they are surely a musical group to watch!

Listen to Things You Say on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

“Things You Say presents Expression” will take place from 9pm-2am at 819 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

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.

Children illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Oxford Method

The Oxford Method Puts Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion

The Oxford Method, a tutoring community, is on a mission to help underprivileged students around the country

The pandemic changed how education was delivered for millions of students. While just about everyone was impacted, it has been especially difficult on minority students. According to McKinsey & Company, the disparities among student groups grew over the last year. It reports that when it comes to learning, the pandemic took a heavy toll on Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities around the country. It found that students of color had fallen 3-5 months behind, while white students were 1-3 months behind. One company, The Oxford Method, is out to help bridge that gap and bring those students up to speed.

“There must be a spotlight put on diversity and inclusion because the achievement gap has widened in the last year,” explains David Florence, professor and founder of The Oxford Method, a community that offers tutoring services around the country. “We are taking steps to help those students so they can get caught up and have the foundation they need to succeed.”

The Oxford Method is an online learning community made up of educators who help to provide tutoring to those in need. It provides a full range of tutoring services, covering all types of subjects, and has experienced educators who can work with all levels of students. They help students who are gifted, special needs, traditional, and from rural and urban areas around the nation.

The educational community helps underprivileged students in a variety of ways, including by:

  • Providing free computers and high-speed internet. With that, it provides free instruction to the students, including those who are special needs and gifted. 
  • Working with students who are in urban and rural areas. These are areas often overlooked and that fall short in the technology category.
  • Having instructors from all socio-economic, psychographics, demographics, and geographic areas. The community of educators not only has a mission of helping those who are in diverse categories, but they are a group that is diverse.

“We have helped many students who would otherwise have a difficult time getting assistance,” added Florence. “We look forward to helping even more to finish this school year strong, get caught up over summer break, and be able to go into the new school year feeling confident.”

The Oxford Method has over 100 tutors around the country, covering all subject areas. It offers online tutoring, as well as in-person and in-classroom options. Its tutoring services are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The Oxford Method works with its nonprofit, Social Actualization, Inc., by giving it 10% of all profits. The funds are used to provide free computers, high-speed internet, and instruction to underprivileged families in urban and rural America. Plus, 40% of the instructors are PhDs, 40% have a master’s degree, and 20% have only a bachelor’s degree.

The Oxford Method believes that education is the great equalizer and the best gift you can give the next generation. Subject areas include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as business, social studies, psychology, English, history, public speaking, study methods, test-taking, and more. To get more information about The Oxford Method, visit the Oxford Method website.

Dr. J. Goosby Smith

Named Vice President for Community Belonging and Chief Diversity Officer at Pepperdine University

Dr. April Harris Akinloye will join Smith as assistant vice president for community belonging.

Press Release: The KAIROS Company for Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University announced today its long-anticipated selection of the University’s inaugural vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer, Dr. J. Goosby Smith. 

Smith will join Pepperdine on June 1, 2021, from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where she currently serves as associate professor of leadership; associate professor of management; assistant provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion; and director of the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center. 

Smith received her BS in computer science from Spelman College and her MBA and PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University. She anticipates earning her master of divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 2021. 

“What an honor it is today to announce Dr. Smith is returning to the Pepperdine community,” said Pepperdine president Jim Gash. “I’m especially grateful to the Search Committee for identifying an amazing and experienced leader. I simply cannot wait to work alongside Dr. Smith as we chart a distinctively Pepperdine path forward addressing one of the great issues of our time. Our goal isn’t just to have a community of belonging but to train generations of graduates to create the same in their own communities.”

Smith is no stranger to Pepperdine having served previously as an assistant professor of organizational behavior in the Seaver College Business Administration Division from 2002 to 2006, and then as a tenured associate professor of organizational behavior in the same division from 2011 to 2015. She has also served as assessment coordinator for the Seaver Diversity Council and as an adjunct professor in the Graziadio Business School’s MBA program. 

Smith will report directly to President Gash, serve as a member of the University’s Steering Team, and be a principal leader on the University Diversity Council for which she previously served as inaugural faculty co-chair in 2005. 

The selection of a vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer is one in a series of initiatives the University has been implementing to cultivate a community of deep belonging and to build and model a diverse, informed, loving, and unified community at Pepperdine. 

Joining Smith in leading diversity and inclusion initiatives at Pepperdine will be Dr. April Harris Akinloye (’00, MA ’05), who will return to her alma mater as the assistant vice president for community belonging.

Harris Akinloye is a double alumna of Pepperdine, receiving her BA in speech communication and religious studies from Seaver College and her MA in education from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She earned her PhD in education with a focus on cultural perspectives from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Harris Akinloye will join Pepperdine from Social Good Solutions where she is currently a senior consultant for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She previously served as the chief diversity officer at Vanguard University.

“When I was a candidate to be Pepperdine’s eighth president, I made it clear that hiring a chief diversity officer would be among my top priorities,” said Gash. “Though we began our national search for a chief diversity officer, after getting to know these two extraordinarily qualified leaders, each of whom has a deep love for Pepperdine and our mission, we decided to hire a team—and what a team it is! Drs. Smith and Harris Akinloye will be a venerable force to help lead Pepperdine to a new level of inclusion, excellence, and genuine belonging, befitting the Pepperdine community’s unwavering commitment to radical Christian hospitality.”

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.

Octavia Spencer illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Octavia Spencer × Ruderman Family Foundation

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer today joined the Ruderman Family Foundation in calling on the entertainment industry to increase the casting of people with disabilities, including in on-screen roles that portray characters with disabilities.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Octavia Spencer says in a new public service announcement with the Ruderman Family Foundation

Appearing in a newly released public service announcement, Spencer recounts Hollywood’s long history of inauthentic representation and exclusion of marginalized populations — from men playing women until 1660; to white actors playing Black, Asian, and Native American characters; to LGBTQ stories getting left out of film and television until the last two decades.

“All of these communities of people had to endure not only their stories being told inauthentically, but also seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically,” says Spencer in a message filmed for the Ruderman Family Foundation. “But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities as well. Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

She continues, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

Spencer’s call amplifies the Foundation’s series of initiatives to foster greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Last December, the organization circulated an open letter calling on studio, production, and network executives to pledge to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to make more inclusive casting decisions. Among those who signed the pledge were Oscar winners George Clooney and Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar nominees Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Glenn Close, Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly, accomplished actress Eva Longoria, and acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Farrelly.

A separate Foundation-initiated pledge to commit to auditioning more actors with disabilities was signed by CBS, while the BBC pledged to implement more authentic and distinctive representation of people with disabilities on screen. The Foundation also released a white paper showing that half of U.S. households want accurate portrayals of characters with disabilities, and despite that only 22% of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television.

“As an Oscar-winning actor, Octavia Spencer embodies Hollywood’s vast potential to serve as a powerful catalyst for positive social change if studio, production, and network executives commit to more inclusive and authentic representation,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Ms. Spencer has joined our call and we look forward to have other actors and actresses, filmmakers, producers and studios continue to create unprecedented momentum that brings about greater casting of people with disabilities.”

To view Octavia Spencer’s video message in full, please see here.

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