Week 8 Inclusion Idea: Happy Juneteenth

Juneteenth is not a “Black Holiday.” It’s a national holiday that recognizes the history of this nation and its struggle to recognize the humanity of Black people.

As our nation recognizes and acknowledges the struggles and contribution of Black people, every marginalized race, religion, gender, and other identity group in our nations has renewed hope that inclusion is becoming a reality.

In my grandmother’s living room, behind a plastic covered armed chair, there were framed pictures of JFK, MLK, and Jesus. It was an interesting juxtaposition but as a child I got it: They were diverse representations of compassion, and love, and hope. The Jew, the Catholic, the Baptist, the Black, the White, and the Nazarene, all belonged right there on the wall next to each other to be respected and revered in her home and in our family.

Juneteenth now sits juxtaposed to Independence Day and many wonder “Why?”


The Union troops generally had to force Confederate states to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation. Texas had a low presence of Union troops and their compliance had been slow and inconsistent. Juneteenth is the observation and celebration of the June 19, 1965 arrival of Union General Granger in Galveston that ensures Texas’ compliance. Juneteenth is now on a national federal holiday calendar juxtaposed to Independence Day.

Freedom is our national identity. Juneteenth and Independence Day acknowledge people’s humanity and dignity their right to freedom. Both freedoms were gained only after years of strife and blood shed. These freedom fights greatly impacted and continue to shape the future of our nation.

Hopefully, as we heal from slavery and the Civil War, we are beginning to get it and understand: Every person’s independence and freedom matters. Every individual regardless of social identity was born with an unalienable right to be free. Freedom is at the foundation of inclusion. And, when a social group achieves its own freedom and respects and advances the freedom for other groups for the good and common purposes of all, there is reason for celebration by all.

May we all as a nation continue to recognize the self-evident truth of freedom. May we fight for it for all, observe it for all, and celebrate it for all. Let our rejoicing rise. Let freedom ring.

Happy Juneteenth!


Week 7 Inclusion Idea: My Crazy Passion Project and The 21 Day Inclusion Challenge

Everyone has an unique D&I journey. For me, I have identified certain areas where I need to step up as an ally, I also have to learn more about the glass ceilings in my professions so I can advocate more for my own identity group, and finally as a Diversity and Inclusion Trainer-Teacher-Blogger, I must continue to to stay abreast of the research.

We each have our own individual diversity attributes of race/ethnicity, gender, age, etc. and their various points of intersection. None of us has an identical life experience. On top of that, we each have own values, goals, and lists of priorities. We have different time constraints, work responsibilities, and areas of access and influence that shape what D&I mean to us and how we can and want to contribute. We are each unique. Therefore, although there is a wealth of 21 Day Diversity and Inclusion Challenges, we probably benefit more by creating our own. No one knows better than ourselves what makes our hearts sing.

The Crazy Passion Project

Hearts singing and songs remind me of the Crazy Passion Project. The Netflix movie “Skater Girl” introduces the Crazy Passion Project concept. The Crazy Passion Project is intended to positively impact ours lives and the lives of others in ways we never dreamed possible. The project also incorporates joy and fun into challenges. In the movie, Jessica introduces finds her Crazy Passion Project; she introduces skateboarding to the young villagers in Rajasthan, India as a way to breakdown the caste system and to promote gender equality for girls. Risk, fun, and satisfying. The movie focuses on Prerna who through skating boarding learns confidence, challenges the customs and expectations for girls, and learns to dream.

My Crazy Passion Project is that each person finds their part in promoting inclusion, that they can make their own and practice that part each and every day. Our individual customized practices ensure that what we do has meaning for us and in turn will have meaning for those around us. And it should be fun and satisfying like a 21 Day Challenge.

Grab your calendar and plot out over the next 21 days how you will learn and practice inclusion in ways that are meaning fulfill to you. We know we can’t just wait for inclusion to happen in our lives. We must create it, and we must create it in a way that is meaningful to us individually. We must start now with the tools and resources we have at hand. I challenge you create your own customized 21 Day Inclusion Challenge.    

P.S.: Getting Started

Reading, writing, speaking, blogging, watching a movie, mentoring, sponsoring, attending an event, inviting a friend to attend an event, hosting an event, advocating, donating to cause or organization, volunteering time, or creating a project or opportunity are a sample of broad foundations to build specific D&I activities.  

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Building on the idea of hosting an event, Father’s Day is approaching. Perhaps next Saturday, June 18th you can host a mixed race, generation, gender, and/or gender orientation virtual or in-person gathering for dads. What’s it like being a Dad from another perspective? Some of us probably have enough diversity within our extended families to have this conversation. Talk about fatherhood and life in general. Shooting the breeze, barbershop talk, or passing on family history and tradition. Who knows you may be starting an annual tradition.  

P.S.S.: For the first five people to post or share a link with a their 21 Day Inclusion Challenge on this blog, I will send them a complimentary copy of Coffee and Conversations: Inclusion and Belonging.

Resource: Coffee and Conversations: Inclusion and Belonging by Zenell Brown. Coffee and Conversations: Inclusion and Belonging: Brown, Esq Zenell B, Ambrose-Gunn, Francene: 9781734086546: Amazon.com: Books


Week 6 Inclusion Idea: Happy Pride Month!

I remember seeing my first Pride Parade during a family reunion in Cleveland, Ohio circa 1999. I remember the vivid images of colorful wild costumes. It was an open celebration on a main street.

“Love is Love. ”

I remember when I saw my first onscreen display of affection between a same sexed couple. It was new seeing these things in public and mainstream, but I enjoyed relationships with friends, coworkers, and family members of the LBGTQ+ community long before any of these things. I support their right to love and be in love.

Love has been around an eternity. The recent loss of my husband and soul mate after 26 years of marriage and 37 years of friendship confirms that love was, has always been, and will always be my greatest life experience. I don’t want anyone to miss out on love or be shamed for whom they love. Love is an inalienable right for all human-kind, not just cisgenders and heterosexuals.

Heart and rainbow.

Happy Pride Month! As an ally, I (she/her/hers) will continue to learn about the LBGTQ+ community and help remove prejudice and discrimination.

Love is Love . . .

Week 4 Inclusion Idea: Let’s Mix It Up

4-H Pledge

As a 13 year old Detroiter, I was as urban as a girl can get. 4-H had chickens, cows, and horses but for me it it was the stays at Michigan State University (MSU)with the candle-making and fund public speaking classes that defined my 4-H experience.

The MSU 4-H Exploration Days was also an opportunity for Black Detroit kids to meet White kids from rural areas.

If I had kept a diary, I’ve would had recorded those impressions to reflect upon and share today.

MSU 4-H Exploration Days

Day 1: I unload the yellow school bus and take in the vastness of the MSU campus. I also see that most kids unloading from other buses look like 4-H’ers: White and they probably know all about livestock and farming. (SMH.)

In my class, I am grouped with white kids. In this awkward, strange, unfamiliar environment, I mumble the 4-H Pledge we have been instructed to recite. Our group is working well. I go from frozen to polite.

Lunch time is the best. Is this what college is like? Eat all the ice cream I can…

Day 2: More classes. More White kids. I’m warming up and they are too. We are talking about things that interest us and we laugh.

Wow!!! ☺️Michigan State is great. Dorm life is fun. Hate the communal showers. I even check out the livestock expo.

Day 3: Packing up to leave.

Last day of the classes. I’m looking forward the classes and working in my groups. I still mumble the Pledge. After all, I’m only 13 and this certainly doesn’t sound cool.

Lunch: Eat more ice cream. Eat more ice cream. 🍦🍦🍦

Loading the bus: Met some cool kids from all over Michigan. Kids are just kids. I like working with kids who have an interest in public speaking. They may not be Black, they may not live in Detroit, and they may raise chickens.

If there was Facebook or Instagram, I could stay in touch forever with the cool kids I met. But those aren’t invented yet and I didn’t make a penpal level connection. Oh well, I’ll be back next year. I love Michigan State. I love 4-H.

Research shows that when members of different social groups interact with each other, prejudice and discrimination reduce.

This week let’s mix it up, engage and interact with different social groups. Kids have opportunities to do so too and adults can volunteer to help with those kids activities to get inclusion in as a part of their regular routines. Stay safe and Include.

Recommended Resource: 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. https://foodsolutionsne.org/21-day-racial-equity-habit-building-challenge

Week 5 Inclusion Idea: Holidays Through the Lens of Diversity

Being a Inclusionist requires that a commitment to our continuous learning and willingness to analyze, expand, and fact check the history we were taught. We need to fill in what was left out as often those missing pieces and those hidden figures represent the contributions of marginalized people that helped shaped and create our nation.

National holiday observations provide us that opportunity. Our reexamination need not be a thesis project, but every look at history through a lens of diversity creates an opportunity for inclusion.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Memorial Day was formerly known as Declaration Day

The practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back to the ancient Romans and Greeks.

1865: Civil War ends int eh spring. The USA’s first national cemeteries are established to bury all those who were killed. One of the earliest observances was held group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina. Approximately a month after the Confederacy surrendered, this group gathered and buried the fallen Union soldiers. They sang hymns, gave readings, and distributed flowers.

May 5, 1866: the Community of Warerloo, NY closed businesses and there was community wide observation of those who died in service for this country.

May 5, 1868: General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. On May 30, 1868, the nation observed this day of remembrance and it was “Declaration Day”. General Garfield spoke at Arlington Cemetery.

Southern states observed Confederate soldiers on different dates associated with events such as the birth of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. After World War I, all states observed Declaration Day. Today this day, 9 southern states still observe Confederate Memorial Days as well.

1966: the federal government declared Waterloo, NY the official birthplace of Declaration Day.

1971: Declaration Day is changed to Memorial Day, becomes a federal holiday, and shall be recognized on an uniformed date across the nations.

Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Take a moment of silence and take a moment to learn more about the history of Memorial Day.

What more can I learn about our holidays?

Recommended Resource:

8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day – HISTORY