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raceAhead: The Power of Black Women, Female Veterans at Risk, Puerto Rico’s Grim Future

Your week in review, in haiku:



If an Apprentice

can be president…why not

Kimmel for Health czar?



Nambia’s dark heart,

filled with secret riches, so

popular right now



Aaron’s brain paid the

price: A gladiator. Too

late to take a knee



Say her name, say her

name: “It’s Fenty.” No. What!? Yes.

No. Stop! Who’s Robyn?



Global skies! Filled with

storms, Jong-Unian fire?

I miss the eclipse


Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

On Point

Nielsen report: Black women are digitally savvy, environmentally aware, and philanthropicPlease do not miss this new report from Nielsen, which explores, in extraordinary detail, the consumer preferences of black women. It’s only the second time Nielsen has done this analysis. You may not be surprised to learn this: That black women are leaders on digital platforms and in personal philanthropy. When I spoke with two of the report’s lead writers, they were correctly proud of its introduction, which includes one of the best explainers of #blackgirlmagic I’ve ever read. In short, the report is a celebration of how black women are reclaiming their time, money, and voices to enrich their families, communities and each other. Fortune

What’s ahead for Puerto Rico?
Fortune continues its coverage of the island commonwealth, which has been embroiled in a financial storm ever since it filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2017. Now the island, reeling from the aftermath of devastating hurricane damage, faces an even grimmer future. “Fast forward four months to now, and Puerto Rico has to an electrical grid that’s inoperable, homes that are destroyed, underfunded hospitals that are packed, and a tourism industry that just washed away,” writes John Patrick Pullen. Click through for important background.

The suicide rate of female veterans is 250% that of non-veterans
These horrifying stats come courtesy of Financial Policy, which sites a press release from the Veteran Administration quietly released last Friday. Veterans as a whole are 20% more likely to kill themselves than non-veterans, and female veterans are 250% as likely to commit suicide than non-veterans. “This report is unprecedented in its comprehensive analysis of suicide rates among all U.S. Veterans,” says the VA. I know many of you work in firms with robust veteran inclusion programs. If you have any interventions, data, or advice to share, I will be sure to pass it along.
Foreign Policy

A new Muslim sorority opens in Texas
A professional Muslim sorority, Mu Delta Alpha, has just established a beta chapter at the University of Texas at Austin. “[O]ur main goal is creating leaders and empowering our sisters without jeopardizing our Islamic ethics, because everything we do is reflective of Islam,” Mu Delta Alpha founder Samira Maddox told the Daily Texan. The group also plans to build strong networks with professional Muslim women.
Daily Texan

Is mindfulness training in K-12 schools silencing students at risk?
While mindfulness meditation is becoming more common in school settings, some educators are raising concerns that the practice – which is seen to reduce anxiety and impulsivity – may have important limits, particularly for kids who are legitimately struggling in a school that fails to meet their needs. “What we don’t want to do is communicate to students that when your school system is failing you, the best way to cope is to sit still and be quiet and compliant,” said one expert.

The Woke Leader

A new web series focuses on a different sort of superhero
This sweet-sounding, coming-of-age teenage superhero drama focuses on a character called Keloid (oh, my heart!) and his quest to overcome the post-adolescent loneliness that his special abilities have amplified. Written and produced by Black TV & Film Collective founder Huriyyah Muhammad, the series explores otherness, isolation and parental drama in a fresh way, says reviewer Aramide A. Tinubu. “As Keloid desperately attempts to carve out both a life and identity for himself outside of the powers that he was born with, he must also deal with guilt over his past actions and the secrets that his mother is desperate to keep hidden.”
Shadow and Act

A data project visualizes the routes of six asylum seekers
The idea is both beautifully considered and executed. Federica Fragapane interviewed each of the six migrants and overlaid their poignant stories on the routes they traveled journeying from their hometowns (in Mali, Pakistan, Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire) to Italy. They traveled so very, very far. The project looks like it’s still unfolding. Data is beautiful, y’all.
Stories Behind A Line

The truth about gender quotas on boards
This piece from two professors from University of California at Irvine and the Copenhagen Business School digs into the thorny issue of gender-based quotas on public company boards. The pair conducted interviews with over 60 board members who had served on more than 300 public company boards, both in European countries with mandatory or voluntary quotas, and those in the U.S., with neither. How were quotas perceived? Countries who have introduced quotas tend to be in favor of them, countries who didn’t, remain hostile to the idea. And yet in the U.S., it’s becoming clear that market forces may not be enough. “Gender diversity has never been a stated or implicit goal at any of the boards I have served on,” said one U.S. based board member.


You know, when I started to experience the difference — or even have my race be highlighted — it was mostly when I would do business deals. And, you know, that never ends, by the way. It’s still a thing. And it’s the thing that makes me want to prove people wrong. It almost excites me; I know what they’re expecting and I can’t wait to show them that I’m here to exceed those expectations. But I have to bear in mind that those people are judging you because you’re packaged a certain way — they’ve been programmed to think a black man in a hoodie means grab your purse a little tighter. For me, it comes down to smaller issues, scenarios in which people can assume something of me without knowing me, just by my packaging.