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raceAhead: Seeking Diversity and Inclusion Experts

September 20, 2018, 4:21 PM UTC

Are you a diversity and inclusion expert? Are you fluent in the language of belonging? Do you address all the pillars of inclusion in your work – including race and LGBTQ+? Do you make house calls? Then let’s get together on LinkedIn.

I get a lot of requests from raceAhead readers looking for experts to help them amplify their inclusion efforts within their organizations. The most recent came from an East Coast-based tech company; one employee, newly tasked with internal programming, is looking for help establishing a solid foundation for their relatively new employee resource groups.

It sounds like the start of something really good:

“A few months ago, one of our amazing salespeople decided to spearhead the creation of ERG groups similar to what she had at a previous company. I sit on the leadership team for LGBTQ+, I wanted to bring in someone in to do sensitivity training to the executive team who are very responsive and supportive of these efforts. Because Queer issues and identities are complex, I wanted to find someone or a group to come in and do a D&I 101, and eventually deep dive into certain areas that would be supported by all the ERGs.”

Is this you? Is it someone you know? Do you have other expertise in inclusion and belonging that you’d like the raceAhead community to know about? I’ve created a LinkedIn group specifically for us. Wave your flag! Tag in your favorites!

I field requests for referrals for a variety of needs like trainers, workshop leaders, panel moderators, keynote speakers, even researchers and survey creators.

But because D&I isn’t a linear path, many times people aren’t quite sure what they need, or what exists in the world. I hope this group will become a ready resource for someone looking for new ideas.

It would be particularly nice to get referrals from regional experts, too.

Thanks! And see you online.

On Point

Too many women die giving birth. We need a planMore women die from pregnancy-related causes in the U.S. than any other developed country. It was this grim reality – and not the historic moment - that occupied the mind of Senator Tammy Duckworth when she became the first Senator to give birth while serving in office. “I’ve seen the stats. I’ve read the horror stories. And I know that here in the U.S., expectant and new moms are still dying at truly horrifying rates.” If you zoom in, the numbers get worse. One example: 75% of new or expectant mothers who died in D.C. during 2014-2016 were black. She cites some immediate remedies, like training, checklists, and pre-populating crash carts with supplies for common complications. But it’s also about making sure women get a seat at the policy table. "Because even today, with women making up 51% of the population, we only make up about 20% of Congress,” she says.Fortune

Journalist Jemele Hill set to narrate LeBron James’s basketball documentary
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Hollywood Reporter

Everything you know about obesity is wrong
As a human community, we are often late to the obvious, particularly in public health. We knew the value of seatbelts to protect life and limb long before they were mandatory, and the same gap between “science and practice” is at play in our understanding of obesity, says writer Michael Hobbes. Forty years ago, Americans started gaining weight, the medical community’s response was to blame and shame them. “Obesity, we are told, is a personal failing that strains our health care system, shrinks our GDP and saps our military strength,” he writes, and bullying became the answer. But the toll the shaming takes on mental health is extraordinary, and the subsequent quest for thinness takes an outsize toll on wallets. “I have never written a story where so many of my sources cried during interviews, where they double- and triple-checked that I would not reveal their names, where they shook with anger describing their interactions with doctors and strangers and their own families,” he says. Bring tissues.
Huffington Post

Opinion: “You can’t count on a black quarterback”
This was the opinion of Lynn Redden, a Texas school district superintendent, as posted on the Facebook page of the Houston Chronicle last Sunday. The quarterback in question was Deshaun Watson, who in the last seconds of the game failed to, well, it actually doesn’t matter what he did, does it?  But the subsequent loss displeased Redden enough that he shared his view what he believed to be a private Facebook post. His full take: "When you need precision decision making you can't count on a black quarterback." He deleted it when he realized it was visible to all, and later apologized, sort of. Watson waved it off. "That's on him. May peace be with him," he told the press. Click below for research showing how unconscious racial bias, often amplified by sports media, influences public opinion of black quarterbacks. (They’re also more likely to be benched. Huh.)
CU Boulder


The Woke Leader

How to say #MeToo
If you're watching the Kavanaugh hearing drama unfold with personal dread, here are some helpful tips for anyone who is, or loves, a potential #MeToo whistleblower. Leigh Honeywell is a technologist with ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology team, but she has a long-time interest in helping people who have been targeted online. She’s also been a sexual misconduct whistleblower, so she knows how frightening the idea of online threats can be. But there are things that people who are afraid of incurring the wrath of trolls can do to keep themselves safe from hacking, phishing, doxing and before they go public. All of it is good cybersecurity hygiene anyway, so feel free to share.

Diversity programs appeal to either women or people of color, but not both
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When Jemele Hill mastered the white patriarchy at ESPN
Speaking of Jemele Hill, it's worth taking a look back at how the ESPN anchor survived the boys network as long as she did. This profile picks up her story as she was under fire for her Twitter-based critiques of President Trump, which inspired solidarity from both her black colleagues and the broader twittersphere (check out the #NaziBucketChallenge for more.) The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis digs into the long-simmering debates about what she and her co-host Michael Smith tried to do with and to the SportsCenter brand, and how Hill navigated her way to the top spot. “Hill saw her rise more glumly, as if she had triumphed within a system that in many ways was stacked against her. As she put it to me, ‘I won the war of attrition.’”
The Ringer


The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.
Zora Neale Hurston