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Inspiration and Desperation

Welcome to September:

We start this short work week with a mix of inspiration and desperation.

First, the inspiration:

Every day this month we’ll be asking an extraordinary person who truly understands inclusion and creativity – some who are already high-profile, others who deserve to be – to suggest a single action you can take today to become more open, curious, and empathetic. (Learn more here.)

We’re five days in, and the inclusive juices are flowing. Todays’ challenge comes from young adult bestselling writer Daniel José Older. “Can you truly listen to someone else, to what they’re saying in such a way that you’re not spending your time preparing to rebut them?” he asks. The key is to think more deeply about power and the way the world operates. “Can you look inward to understand your positioning in the realm of power – not just your opinion, but where you are placed? What power do you have, what power don’t you have?” In just five minutes, he says, you can become better at this type of deep listening.

If you haven’t been following along with our 30-day diversity and inclusion challenge, here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Challenge 1, Tim Ryan, PwC: Check yourself at the door before having a difficult conversation

Challenge 2, Luvvie Ajayi, author and strategist: Do something that scares you today

Challenge 3, Bernard J. Tyson, Kaiser Permanente: Appreciate someone and mean it

Challenge 4, Hugh Weber, CEO, community builder: Ask a stranger to curate your reading list

Challenge 5, Daniel José Older, YA author: Close your eyes and deeply listen to the world

Follow #IncludeU30 to share your breakthroughs.


And now for the desperation:

The Trump administration on Tuesday formally announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – an Obama-era program that had been designed to protect some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday at a Justice Department news conference. Though new program applications will not be accepted, anyone whose status was set to expire in the next six months will be renewed.

Many people might be surprised to learn that undocumented immigrants are not typically problem children. In fact, according to this March 2017 report from the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants currently pay some $11.74 billion in state and local taxes each year. (If you’re curious about your neighborhood, the New American Economy, a bipartisan immigration reform coalition, has a powerful tool that maps the number of immigrants, their level of entrepreneurship, taxes paid, and other economic activity by state and district.)

The stories of people who are being impacted by the DACA decision are worth your time. Here’s one example: Kok-Leong Seow was only six years old when his family moved to the U.S. His father works as a waiter, and the family has squeaked by for years.“We pay taxes, abide by all laws, and don’t live on welfare,” he says in this opinion piece for the New York Times. Now, no longer eligible for a DACA application, the magna cum laude graduate in computer science can’t drive, fly, work, get health insurance or pay for grad school at Columbia. “I’m unfazed and undocumented. I’m not going anywhere,” he says. Click through for more.

On Point

Report: One out of seven Asian immigrants is undocumentedAAPI Data, a policy and research firm that studies Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, finds that some 14% of the undocumented people in the U.S. are Asian, and the lion’s share of them live in California, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois. Most come from India, China and the Philippines.AAPI Blog

On Beyonce’s birthday, some powerful female fans got into formation
Yesterday was Beyonce’s birthday and the Beyhive had something miraculous to celebrate: A photo tribute starring 18 amazing women – including Blue Ivy, Serena, the singer’s mother, and her mother-in-law – who dressed up in a signature hat and pose from Beyonce’s “Formation” video. The photos are gorgeous, but one model will render you speechless: Michelle Obama.

Chance the Rapper launches a new awards show for education
In keeping with his promise to celebrate educators and the communities they serve, the rapper is launching the Twilight Awards, which will honor “teachers, parents, principals, and students that convey leadership.” Multi-platform star James Corden will host the inaugural event, which is scheduled for June 2018.
The Maven

Lawsuit: Wells Fargo targeted undocumented immigrants
Buried in the litany of lawsuits against Wells Fargo is the following tidbit, which I somehow missed: A suit, filed by a Wells Fargo shareholder, alleged that the bank’s employees took advantage of undocumented immigrants by specifically targeting them as customers. Wells Fargo denied the allegations in the suit.
The Atlantic

The Woke Leader

How visa problems routinely prevent Africans from seeing the world
Ciku Kimeria, a writer and Kenyan citizen, documents the many indignities of being African and attempting to travel for work or pleasure including being denied transit visas for layovers, and being held in makeshift dorms with other brown skinned people who were suddenly denied entry to a European or South American destination. “Have I not yet proven I have no long-term intentions in your countries? And what if I did?” he asks.

You know what sounds like fun? Spending some face time with Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper, with some vocalists and musicians in tow, jammed into the NPR office for the latest Tiny Desk music series. “I didn’t know it was actually-actually in an office,” he begins sweetly. We learn, among other things, that he writes good fast poetry – he debuts a wonderful set of stanzas written on the ride over to the gig. He’s also funny, kind and brilliant. Fans will love this intimate 12 minutes and 52 seconds; for people who don’t yet know what Chance means, it’s their opportunity to understand. I like to imagine that somewhere, after he hears Chance’s version of his 1974 classic, “They Won’t Go When I Go,” Stevie Wonder will smile and know that things are going to be alright with the world. And you will, too.

When employees become entrepreneurs
Big organizations must embrace entrepreneurial thinking if they are going to stay competitive in a fast-paced, global world, argues this piece from HBR. The pivot: shifting from scalable efficiency, the hallmark of the corporation, to scalable learning, which gives employees the tools and permission to develop new opportunities close to where they operate within the org chart. So, what kind of new ideas could a diverse organization unleash?


“Why haven’t you gotten deported?”That’s usually the first thing people ask me when they learn I’m an undocumented immigrant or, put more rudely, an “illegal.” Some ask it with anger or frustration, others with genuine bafflement. At a restaurant in Birmingham, not far from the University of Alabama, an inebriated young white man challenged me: “You got your papers?” I told him I didn’t. “Well, you should get your ass home, then.” In California, a middle-aged white woman threw up her arms and wanted to know: “Why hasn’t Obama dealt with you?” At least once a day, I get that question, or a variation of it, via e-mail, tweet or Facebook message. Why, indeed, am I still here?
—Jose Antonio Vargas