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raceAhead: A Seven-Year-Old Guatemalan Girl Dies In Border Control Custody

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.



Wanted, Chief Fixer:

Must be willing to keep the

“hush” in hush payments



As Mika butts out,

Elon breaks down; Maria

locked (up) and loaded



What did you know, when

did you know it? J&J

takes a big powder




Michelle helps Santa

find the groove everyone else

lost a while ago



Twenty six, plus one.

One hundred fifty-four rounds.

Six years: Sandy Hook


Hoping you get your groove back this weekend, surrounded by comfort and love


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On Point

A seven-year-old Guatemalan girl dies of dehydration in Border Control custodyShe was taken into custody with her father for crossing the border illegally through the New Mexico desert. She was part of a group of more than 160 asylum-seekers who turned themselves into agents. Some eight hours later, the child began having seizures. First responders recorded her body temperature as 105.7 degrees, and stated she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”Washington Post

More problems at CBS
File this under “cultural issues at all levels.” The CBS board hired two law firms to investigate sexual harassment claims against former chief Les Moonves when they discovered a more widespread culture which sought to protect itself at the expense of victims of misconduct. One example which came to light was a mediated settlement for “Bull” cast-member Eliza Dushku, who complained about explicit and offensive comments made by her then co-star, Michael Weatherly. She was abruptly written off the show. A draft of the investigation report recounting Dushku’s case and other findings was shared with The New York Times.
New York Times

Who do they mean when they say ‘we’?
Jenée Desmond-Harris, a staff editor for the Opinion section of The New York Times, weighs in with an opinion of her own: When media says “we” they often mean “white people.”  Her opinion piece came in response to a Times podcast advertised as “The Rise of White Wing Extremism and How We Missed It,” which drew immediate and pointed condemnation. A bunch of people did not, in fact, miss it. For her part, Desmond-Harris finds the framing to be a terrible and dangerous habit. “[W]hen we suggest that something is true of everyone — or of a group of people — when it’s really a more accurate description of what’s true of white people in that group, it alienates readers and destroys trust: If you’ve forgotten that people of color exist, what else have you missed?”
Nieman Lab

It’s all about belonging now
This piece from The Wall Street Journal makes plain what raceAhead readers have long understood: The companies who will be profitable going forward won’t by distinguished by their embrace of foosball and onsite dry cleaning. “It will be whether leaders foster a workplace culture where employees feel a sense of belonging, like their jobs and trust their managers to help them move on to a better one.” And, they’ve got the charts and graphs to back them up. Companies that rank in the top ten percent in company engagement measure posted profit gains of 26% through the last recession, compared with a 14% decline at other companies, according to Gallup.
Wall Street Journal


The Woke Leader

The beauty of non-binary
Guatemalan-American artist Glenda Lissette moved frequently as a child, and came to see her clothes and accessories as a fresh start. “I found a sense of comfort and identity in the clothes I wore,” she says. She extended that idea into her latest photography series, The Home We Carry, an exploration of non-binary identity, accompanied by commentary from the subjects. “As a bisexual woman of color, any time I photograph people, I’m always thinking about the complexities of people’s identities and the diversity of our perspectives,” she says. The photos are also beautiful. “Ultimately, the goal with the series is to document the homes that we construct on our bodies, but I think the series is also looking at the relationship between body & land.”

Five ideas for creating an inclusive workplace
Michele Perras, Director, Global Ecosystem and Alliances for Pivotal Software, offers five tips for building inclusive cultures, drawing on her fifteen years of experience in Silicon Valley, and her more recent work on Pivotal’s Diversity and Inclusion council. All are helpful and straightforward, but number four—listen to your employees—is one that lots of smaller organizations tend to give the short shrift. “Listen to them, ask why, and don’t assume to know what they need,” she says. “At Pivotal, we heard that employees were seeking discussion and connection locally. With 20 offices worldwide, we wanted to support bottom-up initiatives, and encouraged people to form Grassroots groups.” She also suggests ten questions to ask your employees now, and they are excellent.

Let’s all go to the baths today
You will want to book a flight to Japan immediately after reading this lovely piece by Hanya Yanagihara, who shares her tentative first experience with ofuru or the Japanese public bath ritual. “One might not appreciate just how extraordinary the country’s devotion to soaking in a steaming tub of water is until one realizes that Japan might be the only industrialized nation in which virtually every citizen (in this case, 127 million people) participates in a daily event,” she says. She describes the sensory delights, the all-enveloping aesthetic, the communal peace and the overwhelming “Japanese-ness” of it all. “It is a time and place reserved for pleasing the senses, for enjoying the luxury of feeling, for the wonder of experiencing the simplest, most satisfying sensations: heat, water, scent,” utterly blissful, unless you’re a shy outsider.
Town and Country


I don’t need your photograph to keep by my bed / your picture’s always in my head / I don’t need your portrait, dear, to call you to mind / for sleeping or waking, dear I find / the very thought of you, and I forget to do / the little ordinary things that everyone ought to do / I’m living in a kind of daydream / I’m happy as a queen  and foolish though it may seem / to me, that’s everything.
song stylist Nancy Wilson