The Triumphs and Travails of a Difficult Season
A History of 2021 A Report
The course of our work for 2021 has been a matter of conjectures to the times more than a week ahead, and gingerly planning in the time of doubts and difficulties besieging us as we essay to plan around the always not quite definite targets, seeking to deal with the key topics, by preference in the customary mode of conveying the Dialogue’s message, and what we were obliged to fall back on as season followed season, all the while seeking to innovate a new style Webinar dialogue, hoping all along that the day would come when the move back to the conventional setting might become feasible.  The upshot of our quandaries has been the realization that we now perceive a special virtue in the Webinar format. Our fresh, latest persuasion conceives our course through the near future as a long-run modus vivendi in a judicious combining of Webinar and face-to-face presentation The latter once again prominent, if not exclusive, once the all-clear sounds.
In this note to our Directors we attempt to review and summarize the programing of 2021, and then to sketch the projected Dialogue on Diversity 2022 programs, their content, their mode of conveyance to our audiences, and their persisting themes.
The 2021 challenge confronted us with the tasks of designing a Webinar, the schema of programs with its own design and a contemplated succession and stresses. The cryptic  login of expert presenters (“panelists” in this technological era), special functionaries (tech experts to get us on line and onto the screens of an indefinitely numerous audience from here to the ends of the earth) . In the meantime issuing such calls for our wonted viewer listenership to settle themselves at the desk in their office, or in the small sequestered workshop at a corner of the living room. To listen critically to our file of experts, and to conceive their own queries to be read off by a moderator to the panelists.
Webinar I
Internet Data Privacy Colloquium, February 21st, 2021
Information Technology and Privacy in Times of COVID
The 2021 season had opened February 24th with a Webinar focusing on privacy and the diffusion of results of scientific inquiry, on health care, a broad topic in itself but here augmented with the preoccupation over the COVID contagion. This is the point at whch the new vaccines were being introduced, and the stations were crowded with worried and at once eager patrons of this special, very promising, new tool of the medical establishment. 
Other Webinar topics were the School of the Future, the pains and puzzles of Virtual learning: Bullying? And in the pandemic’s aftermath: the sort of education “depot” likely to be fashioned after the plague-like sickness that is dismantling the deepest structures of the traditional school-based pedagogy.   Juliana Cotto, Policy Counsel, Youth & Education Policy, Future of Privacy Forum addressed issues concerning school children and the dilemmas of hybrid learning -- equity concerns for marginalized children. protection against hardship and embarrasment. And, not least, Rachelle Hendricks-Sturrup of Future of Privacy Forum, who led attendees through the complexities of electronic contact tracing — the gold standard in COVID defense., The conundrums of privacy.
The panel led finally to our much favored medical – technological expert, Dr. Adrian Gropper, coming from Boston, but now equally persuasive in reaching our circle of watchers /hearers through the internet. Much of his typically many-faceted reflection came to focus on the power and the reality distortions that have crept, sometime with boisterous fanfare, into the content of the unbounded Internet.
Recommendations:
  • Can Cooperative Work on World Pharmaceutical Research in Science be Feasible? Americans ?  Russians ? Kazacs?  
  • How can you Spot the Slant in Internet news? When Big Pharma is in charge?
  • Will Electronic Contact Tracing work in a swift-moving epidemic ?
  • The Dilemmas of a Virtual Student 
Webinar II
Health Care Symposium, May 27th, 2021
A Farewell to COVID - Building and Rebuilding
In a sufficiently exciting program on May 27th, Dialogue Panelists tied into a cluster of social problems that have plagued U.S. (and European) society with an intensified sting dring the present pandemic, The Dialogue seeks to endow the entrepreneurs with a governing social conscience. Lead panelist was Dr. Lois Lee, whose life career was turned around and relaunched in a visit to parts of her native Los Angeles crowded with young girls, and boys, plying by night a prostitute trade, schooled by their guards and sources of support only in the unspeakable commerce of the streets. She founded Children of the Night — a genuine school, for decades a center for learning and nourishment for the abused youth, across age and gender lines, Along the way she has driven the cause of these teens with D.A.s and courts who for long, impervious to the obvious, did not hesitate to prosecute these children and teens. Now more and more jurisdictions are writing into the statute books bars against going after the captive kids, while at once sending their captors and profit collectors on their way — to continue unmolested.
Jackie Reyes Yanes, outgoing Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, which has aided our Dialogue with annual grants for more than a half dozen years, summarized the achievements of the MOLA office. And its successes in realizing the Mayor’s policies in the COVID siege. During the Reyes-Yanes era the Latino community has been a pulsing, creative source of movement in the city. She had been honored,. moreover, with the Diversity City Leadership Award.  Now under her successor Eduardo Perdomo, and several fresh staff, the MOLA is off and running once more in quest of a happy and prosperous future.
The genial Dr. Henry Pacheco made another appearance as reigning expert on the dual problematics: first the Latino culture of the migrants, but also the reluctance of many of this ethnicity, indeed the refusal, fired by their own special special culture of economic dynamism, to engage the immunizing treatment against the plague of COVID, endangering both themselves and anyone within breathing range.
Randy Capps, a leading figure in the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank studying the mechanisms of contemporary migration and exploring the style of reception visited on varied ethnicity into the settled on-line culture of many social classes, discussed, not least, the specific matter of ICE enforcement against high school students tainted with the no-documents plague. Causing cognizable mental and, consequently, bodily harm to these vulnerable and much harried kids.
Giselle Lundy-Ponce, of AFT, a Dialogue regular, is an expert in early childhood learning, a field that is perhaps in for some recognition in the present still vital but much up-in-the-air state of the major social reconstruction initiative of the new century — when the “Pandemic” will have become the “Endemic”. Ms. Lundy-Ponce now heads the public policy offices of the American Federation of Teachers.
Recommendations:
  • How do you construct the School of the Future? Its Curriculum?  Its Staff?
  • Which Direction should the Immigration Laws take? For Teens Caught in the Vise ?
  • How can a citizen ? a Dr ? a Public Official ? bring the Balking to Vaccination? What more can the D.C. Mayor and other Leaders do to Effect Broader Vaccination?
Webinar III
Entrepreneurship / IT Conference Webinar, September 17th, 2021 in Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month
Harm and Repair -- Classic Economics and Our Plight
The September session of the scheduled Webinar was the “COVID edition” of the Entrepreneurship Conference, presented September 17th . Hon. Alejandra Castillo, an old hand, however young in years, within the sanctum of the Washington administrative establishment, discussed her newly created job as Assistant Secretary of Commerce,, charged with the task of dispensing prompt and substantial aid under the first massive federal infusion of liquidity, launched early in the year [2021] but not fully directed to the spots of the economy’s acutest need. 
Her Excellency Thelma Phillips-Browne, the Ambassador of the island Republic of St. Kitts and Nevis, a mini-polity in the Caribbean, discussed the effects of the COVID plagues that have reached the island populace. The typical preventives,, lo-tech though they are, are diligently maintained in place. The ingenuity of the populace impressive in adopting work arounds.
Michael Veve, a lawyer with legal-practice roots in both Puerto Rica and the U.S. eastern seaboard, offered a facinating picture of the anatomy of well designed and shrewdly practicing small firms: they must be set up with skilled outisde contacts:, lawyer, banker, accountant, etc. and, crucially, the inside power combine: the money guru, the technical person, the personnel master, etc.
Heidi Sheppard, of the D.C. employment Women’s Business Center, reviewed the important work of that pubic organization, in reconnecting workers with still viable enterprises, bringing along a client with the description of the threats to economic well-being and a rescue.
Ms. Brigitta Toruño, a native Argentine, and, following the trail to North America, now heads a translation service at Lansdowne, Virginia. She has diligently assembled a brilliant crew of sharp-witted translators each with facility in one or more of some 200 languages. 
Ms. Krystin Sharpe, the builder of a high-tech firm, both precise and spirited in manner and many skills, After building a productive hi-tech enterprise in the north Washington suburbs, she at length sold the business and, piloting her own mini yacht, set out to explore the Caribbean from one end to the other. She is now settled, at the Washington offices of SCORE, in dispensing schooled counsel to a parade of entrepreneurs seeking guidance for business puzzles present and future.
Recommendations:
  • Can ordinary entrepreneurs perform in management up to the standard that will justify some of the Economic Development Administration funding?
  • Business advisors often recommend a business plan that is to be revised annually: its form accompanies a natural growth and change in the business itself. The business plan as a living document.
  • Emerging from the Pandemic, which we will soon accomplish, requires rebuilding of stocks and tools and image, and here too for effective performance the “outside” and “inside” teams are the key. 
  • For simple, small emphasis is sometimes held to be the key to recovery — as an aspect of recovery through supporting each the other, neighbor helping neighbor. Is this an ethos that would be successful in
  • in the U.S. ? In Europe ?  
  • Is there promise in a supervised mutual help society for the participating (all invited) mini-firms associated, for example, in D.C. aided by the Women’s Business Center.  Can they survive? Is this technique and are these relationships valid for larger societies ? How can women-owned firms that have been reduced by the pandemic or economic slump to near zero make a come back, in the same business ?
  • Economics, as expounded by the northern Virginia firm UNO Translations and Communications as explained in a popular radio broadcast from Lansowne, Virginia — is held to be a guide to business success and also a useful and effective tool for building a society of mutual respect and mutual aid. Does this insight with resonate with American women? 
2020 Holiday Fair and Children’s Gift Collection
Still another important date in the Dialogue on Diversity calendar is the Holiday Fair and Children’s Gift Collection the  in 2020 on December 11th, UNIDOSUS, in Washington D.C. We were fortunate in obtaining that very elegant outdoor court space (this was the height of the COVIID siege)  Our thanks go as well, to the America Federation of Teachers , who showed support permitted us to obtain and wrap a mountain of gifts for the kind. AFT members joined in the delivery of the toys to the eager kids.  ECCO Select of Kansas City, MO joined in the festival with their own generous contribution. Along with The Latino Coalition. The weather was balmy, unusual for that time of the year — for which all were thankful. The children were brought around to the site by their parents or friends, to pick up their gifts and leave. Over 100 gifts, and these were soon gone    A Peruvian children’s choir came with varied color ponchos. Bringing a greeting to the Dialogue and the children who were then at the site. All impromptu. We served over a hundred children.  Which was in fact short of the need.  We had a plentiful stock of masks for both adults and children.  Santa Claus at length arrived and greeted the childen as they came and left. Christmas hats for all.  We were able to project sets of songs of the season with the aid of a telephone and an outdoor hookup at the UNIDOSUS Plaza.
Dialogue on the Washington Scene:  Luminaries We Know
Most Denizens of the capital city of Washington would concede that the place is replete with more than its pro-rata share of interesting personages. More, say, than Churubusco, Indiana or Ladysmith, Virginia and like examples. Of the many characters some are noble, others tickling of the risibilities, still others alarming.  Not a few churning out reams of commentary on the foibles of the others. A good many have crossed our path at Dialogue on Diversity. We offer a finger-nail sketch of a few.
Eleanor Holmes Norton.  High among the noble class is the long- time representative of the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, in the House of Representatives.   Wiser by a good margin than most of the colleagues in the chamber, Ms. Norton has mastered the otherwise thankless job of a mere delegate in the HR, along with such counterparts as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, whose resounding title was devised by the Congress constituting the PR population citizens but without the right to vote in the Mainland elections.  And the delegates of the U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, and an evanescent delegate of the Choctaws.  Ms. Norton, for her part, is not a pro-forma presence in the House but an active committee member with a scalpel-like propensity for posing questions to witnesses and colleagues concerning the meanness of this proposed legislation, the perversity of another, and the clumsiness of a horde more, and in general as a sort of unelected Ombudsman, without a vote but the herald crying the plaints of the disfranchised and forgotten of the entire American polity. She issues pointed analyses of choice policy proposals that the less sophisticated among the voting colleagues have laid before the nation and the House — in this office the teacher as well as the ombudsman. (She was, after all, a law professor at Georgetown before the House career. ) Her driving passion has been throughout the insistence that the District of Columbia, because of its significant population, and its concentration of intellectual and commercial energies, should enjoy some real weight in the formation of national policy.  Dialogue on Diversity is very proud to have presented Rep. Norton in its programs on more than one occasion.
If Eleanor Holmes Norton is the D.C. Delegate in the House, another Washingtonian has been the pro-forma delegate of the State to be.  Franklin Garcia has been elected (there is such an elective office ) to the post of Shadow U.S. Representative for a series of two-year terms. [ The term Shadow is seldom employed in U.S. political parlance; it is a key concept, however, in any account of the English system, in which an adverse vote in the House of Commons will topple a Prime Minister and his/her government, and the set of pre-designated members of the House, called Shadow Minister of this or that, immediately hop into their respective offices.] Mr. García has occupied a small office in the cellar of the District Building. Which is the base for a ceaseless perambulation to the Capital down the street to offer cogent statements to committees that are appointed to hear the statehood matter, and to various spots in central Washington to exercise his well-honed persuasion before commercial, legal, and public interest audiences. A cynical analysis of the statecraft involved is that whatever the rational cogency of the plea for statehood, it all depends on the fact that two senators will spring into being — and the District , now solidly Democratic in its proclivities, along with a single house member, under current population figures, would contribute to a telling advantage in a closely divided Senate. (But, of course, statehood is for the long run, and in the long run political complexions of provinces may radically change.) There are also two “Shadow Senators”, who keep their agitations subtle and silent awaiting the day. We may note that Dialogue on Diversity has benefited from Mr. García’s function through his several appearances as a conference speaker over the last half dozen years, and has deigned to appear at our Dialogue’s annual Holiday Fairs, a feature of which has been his addresses to the attending young citizens in an impeccable Castilian.  He comes in the long ago from the Dominican Republic.
Hector Rodrígez, political aficionado, artist and poet, and Man About Town, Hector Rodríguez has compiled a fascinating history as a Washingtonian that one ought to know, and a good part of the population do know him.  Among his entourage of friends on the town’s scene he has been a regular at Dialogue on Diversity’s events with some frequency, one year serving indeed as MC for the Public Policy Conference, at which, in presenting the award for Leadership to Ms. Maria Gómez, founder and animating spirit at Mary’s Center, he generously dubbed her Washington’s Mother Teresa. A moment later he greeted Mr. MacArthur Stephen, a representative of GEICO, the day’s honoree, as the greatest of the MacArthurs since the General.   Once several of the guests for a soirée at his apartment at the western edge of Adams Morgan were treated to a private showing of his artistry with pen and word as he showed us the figures of children, houses, and animals in an ancient children’s book, along with his own illustrative drawings and a poetic text to accompany the newly cast narrative.  Most recently Mr. Rodríguez has been concerned, with considerable ardor, over the D.C. statehood enterprise. At a party in northeast just before Christmas a year ago he favored us with a quiet rendition of a song, of his own composition, celebrating the District’s eminent qualifications and its vaulting ambitions, sung to the tune of a familiar old barber shop melody.
Ana Colomar O’Brien  Washington is nothing but a broken bell without the luster and glories of its international missions. Which are varied and numerous. The Organization of American States is one of the most venerable, having succeeded the Pan American Union in 1948, and domiciled at 17th and Constitution, N.W., in an edifice dedicated in 1908 by William Howard Taft, this as a step toward pacifying the often quarrelsome states of Latin America.   An integral part of the peacemaking and -keeping work in the hemisphere is the broad and tricky domain of the Organization of American States.  Ana Colomar O’Brien, who had grown up and studied in Cuba and Mexico, migrated to the U.S. in 1968 and after further studies, settled in New York as an executive with a private firm. Within a decade she removed to the capital, Washington, D.C. , soon joining the governing combine at the OAS. Swiftly finding her niche, she stepped into the post of Chief of Protocol. This vantage point meshed with the new official’s very special linguistic and managerial skills. She soon came to be acquainted with the Permanent Representatives of well over two score of principalities in the hemisphere. Her office at the north end of the cavernous central foyer of the OAS building was soon the center for the professional, bureaucratic, and sometimes even personal problems of the staff, but also of the diplomatic corps itself. Her ready aid was extended to persons active, for example, in nonprofit organizations. Our own organization’s President, Ms. Caballero, relates with affection her aid when an urgent, duly scheduled passage to Rio de Janeiro was blocked by a bureaucratic snafu at the Brazilian Embassy. Ms. Colomar-O’Brien swiftly seized the telephone, with a perfect concept of which diplomatic levers to touch, and with an authoritative voice commanded the staff person to issue the requisite papers post haste. An incident illustrating both her power and benevolence.  Ms. Caballero arrived at Rio de Janeiro on time, just arriving for the conference she was to attend.
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