You know you’re beautiful, right?
Xian Horn calls herself a “joyful half-Asian with cerebral palsy,” on a mission to make everyone feel welcome in the world. She’s a busy public speaker, teacher, consultant and workshop leader, guiding discussions on inclusion and self-esteem tailored for any audience. “Many may struggle with the idea of being different, or having a disability,” she says. “But I say why not use our differences for greater understanding, greater empathy and as a source of empowerment?”
Horn is also beautiful. But then again, so are you.
Horn is our sixth instructor in our 30-day inclusive leadership challenge, and her call to action is designed to help you be helpful to others with no strings attached. Click here for her story — and her challenge for you.
If you’re just tuning in, every day this month we ask 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.)
Play along on your social feeds, and post your successes — along with suggestions of your own — using the #IncludeU30 hashtag.
Here’s the list so far:
Challenge 1, Tim Ryan, PwC: “Check yourself at the door” before having a difficult conversation
Challenge 2, Luvvie Ajayi, author: 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 listen to the world
|I’d like a PhD in Beyonce, please|
|Or even a Bey-chelor’s degree, to quote Fortune’s Claire Zillman. The University of Copenhagen is offering a new and already oversubscribed class called Beyoncé, Gender and Race. “One of the goals is to introduce black feminist thought, which is not very well known in Scandinavia,” the professor told local Danish television. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn’t the only university offering a Beyonce-themed curriculum.|
|Mindy Kaling helped Reese Witherspoon understand white privilege|
|Like many women in the entertainment industry, Witherspoon has taken it upon herself to start a production company designed to create more roles for women in film and behind the scenes. But it was Mindy Kaling, her co-star in the upcoming DuVernay joint A Wrinkle In Time, who helped her see that women of color have always had to work extra hard to make a place for themselves at the table. “When I asked Mindy Kaling, ‘Don’t you ever get exhausted by always having to create your own roles?’ she said, ‘Reese, I’ve never had anything that I didn’t create for myself.’ I thought, Wow, I feel like a jerk for asking that; I used to have parts that just showed up for me,” Witherspoon wrote in Glamour.|
|Colin Kaepernick has friends, y’all|
|One of them, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks, just stepped up his activism game – in addition to taking a knee, he’s donating all his endorsement money in 2017 to causes that benefit communities and women of color. And he’s calling out his teammates. “It’s so simple for a lineman to block for Marshawn Lynch, but it’s a lot harder for that same lineman, if he’s a white lineman, to go to the neighborhood and see what Marshawn Lynch is doing and want to be a part of it,” Bennett says. The Undefeated’s Lois Nam handed Bennett the microphone and he went deep on women’s rights, the hypocrisy of big brand endorsements and fame. “Having [a] platform is super important to me to be socially conscious not to sell the people that are looking up to me different things that I know are not right.”|
The Woke Leader
|The many trials of Sergeant Bobby Hadid|
|Bobby Farid Hadid, an Algerian immigrant merchant marine-turned pushcart vendor-turned copy machine fixer, joined the NYPD in 2002 determined to serve his adopted city after four of his Pitney Bowes colleagues died in the attack on the World Trade Center. He had extraordinary skills and was fluent in French and Arabic. But tactics used in intelligence gathering, often working with confidential informants to prevent “pre-radicalization” from turning to “jihad,” alarmed him. Then something went wrong, and he went from being a trusted ally to a suspect himself. It’s an extraordinary story and a must read, but there’s also this: His tale opens with the best, most improbable, most wonderful love story I have read in a very long time.|
|Why calls for patience will not work|
|The Establishment’s Ijeoma Oluo is not here for talk of compromise. “Everything short of racial justice is white supremacy,” she says in this powerful opinion piece. “Everything.” She takes on the idea of slow progress or critiques of direct action in no uncertain terms. “When you enjoy your freedoms, and you tell those who want their freedoms that they have to wait,” she says, what you are really saying is that others are less deserving. “I have the power and privilege to determine when it is time for you to receive freedom and equality, and my approval is conditioned on how comfortable and safe you make me feel…” she says.|
|Why don’t political candidates do more to court Asian voters?|
|This piece from the Atlantic makes a strong case: Asians in America are a diverse, polyglot bunch, the fastest growing voting block and highly engaged in American life. So why are they largely invisible in the political debate? While still small in relative number, Asian demographic power is still relatively new. But that’s changing. As Asian voters increasingly weigh in on issues of representation in Hollywood and in media, the so-called “model minority” is developing a real voice.|