writer, lawyer, human
Human Inspiration Works, LLC
January 2019 Vol 4 No. 1
Inspired by the words and actions of Robert F. Kennedy
Expanding the Mission: Announcing
Human Ripple Works.org
2019 marks the third year that I’ve worked full-time to create a training/speaking platform on human inclusivity and how to be more welcoming to persons who are “Other.” (And recall that we humans are really good at making anyone “Other.”)
As we start the new year, I’m thinking of what else I can do to make the world more inclusive. One way of expanding the mission is to do more pro bono (no fee) or low bono (greatly reduced fee) trainings for nonprofits and government entities that lack budgets for human inclusivity training.
To help with that, my board of advisors has worked to create a nonprofit, Human Ripple Works (HRW). The sole goal of HRW is to make it easier for budget-limited nonprofits and government entities to receive human inclusivity training. You can read more about HRW
; here is a
flyer about HRW’s work.
I think HRW has the potential to do much good; hopefully, this year will have me doing more in the greater Midwest where folks don’t have ready access to human inclusivity training.
If possible, please consider donating to HRW—any amount is welcome! Doing so will help to expand my work (I call it my “practice”) to places where folks are struggling with how to be more inclusive of persons from marginalized communities.
Finally—continuing with the rest of the mission—on Saturday, March 16 from noon to 2:00 p.m. I’ll conduct another Gray Area Thinking
public event at Open Book in Minneapolis. Please come and/or please tell others about it! (Here is the
; tickets can be purchased with this
; read more about the event on my
I wish all of you a great start to 2019! May we each find greater purpose in creating a better world for all!
Compassion in the Grocery Line
John Lopez, Jr., age 19, took a job at the Princeton, Texas Walmart to help pay for college. Over the Christmas holidays, he was working the register when he encountered a shopper who couldn’t afford to pay for her groceries.
As related in
another shopped named Laci Simms saw what happened next: “I just witnessed this ‘kid’ pay for a cart of merchandise for a woman in obvious distress about her inability to pay. She was a few people ahead of us and when she had trouble paying her bill, he (referring to John) stepped in and told her if she’d wait, he would pay her total.”
As reported in
John said about the shopper, “She started crying and I was like, ‘Okay, I got you. I got you,’ I just felt in my heart that the Lord told me I had to help her.”
The amount of the shopper’s grocery bill that John paid: $110.00.
Simmons posted about the event on Facebook, which then went viral. From there, a stranger named Brandon Weddle started a
to help pay for John’s college bills. So far, $36,805 has been raised out of a goal of $50K with 1128 people donating.
John explained that his compassion for others was instilled by his parents: “My parents taught me if someone needs help, you should be able to help them, and if someone is down, bring them up.”
There a several takeaways here, including that John exercised Gray Area Thinking
by being aware of the shopper’s plight; in taking a risk by offering to help (he may have risked both offending the shopper and his job); and by acting with compassion and kindness.
Other takeaways include that someone reported this act of kindness (remember, we’re a society of story tellers and story listeners—this is how we learn) and someone else (Brandon Weddle, the GoFundMe campaign creator) then took the time and initiative to act.
Being inclusive and welcoming to “Other” truly is a community effort!
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable
As a rule, I don’t usually highlight famous people in this newsletter, but after watching the new Netflix comedy special,
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable
, I wanted to offer some thoughts. (My thanks to Michelle Cohen for getting the special on my radar.)
Admittedly, while certainly knowing who Ellen DeGeneres is, until
, I hadn’t seen much of her work. And by “work,” I’m not referring to her comedy. While
is Ellen’s return to stand-up comedy (it had been 15 years since her last stand-up stint), what caught me far more was her repeated messaging about understanding our commonalities and the need to be kind to each other.
I hadn’t understood this about Ellen--duh on my part. She apparently has been messaging about
commonalities and compassion
for decades. Certainly, she’s way better at that messaging with a much bigger platform than I could ever hope to muster.
The reviews of
have not been all that kind—complaints about shop-worn bits, that no one needs to hear her coming out story again, etc. One viewer even complained that they felt like they were watching a TED Talk. When I read that, I thought,
Exactly! We need more of this from Ellen and other celebrities who are influencers.
For me, the most poignant part of
came toward the end of the show where she reminds that we teach about science and history in schools—all important subjects—but don’t teach about being compassionate and kind to each other. I thought it was a brilliant point.
Lastly, speaking of influencing others,
here is a recent episode
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
where a younger gay man and his mother from Big Lake, Minnesota spoke of how Ellen’s example of living as herself made it easier for the mom and her father to accept the gay son.
It’s a reminder that living authentically ripples to others spreading compassion in countless ways!
Inclusivity Tip of the Month
Mandatory IDE Trainings
I know that many HR professionals routinely wrestle with the question of when to make training on inclusivity, diversity and equity (IDE) mandatory. Others have been recipients of emails mandating that they attend such workplace trainings.
Like everything else in life, you need to “sell” mandatory human inclusivity training as something beneficial to the team member. To do this, I recommend:
First, it’s important to create a culture where IDE is spoken about as a core workplace value; simply imposing IDE training in an atmosphere devoid of leadership previously weighing in on the importance of inclusivity or diversity will certainly create great resistance to mandatory training. In fact, if leadership hasn’t promoted IDE, I don’t recommend making such training mandatory.
Second, internal marketing of any IDE training shouldn’t be “ordering” in nature (e.g. “You will attend!”) Rather, the marketing should explain how this training is becoming the norm for your industry or sector; you may want to reach out to the HR or diversity officers of similar industries to see if they too are conducting IDE training. If so, include that information in the internal marketing.
Third, it’s important to make the training relevant. You can do that by sharing how younger folks (ranging from middle school to college) are regularly taught IDE concepts in school. Hence, younger team members may already be more open to mandatory IDE training. For older team members, offer that learning about IDE might make it easier for them to talk to diverse family members or friends—the pitch could be that this training is valuable both in and outside the workplace!
Finally, pick the right trainer. There’s nothing worse than being told to sit through two hours of boredom with someone who doesn’t inspire. In fact, I firmly believe that inspiring people to think and act differently is the key; ordering just doesn’t work. So, retain IDE trainers (or use team member trainers) who know how to engage and motivate. (And for sure, besides Ellie Krug, there are many other trainers who inspire; still, from my perspective, here’s what inspiration looks like [from a recent article I penned for
None of this stuff is easy; on the other hand, it’s not rocket science either. The key is being intentional and imaginative about how you sell mandatory IDE training to your team!
Coming up next month: how to handle the recalcitrant team member who disrupts IDE trainings.
Odds & Ends
This month’s Odds & Ends includes some great videos and writings.
Gray Area Thinking©
attendees will recall our bus driver-hero video; here is a
video of a Milwaukee bus driver
who stops to save a toddler wandering on a cold city street. It’s all about being aware/awake and allowing our empathetic hearts to act!
I’m fresh off from seeing the incredible
, starring Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury, the lead singer for Queen. I highly recommend the movie for both the music and the reminders about how we all struggle to survive the Human Condition. I also recommend this
1985 clip of Queen performing at Live Aid
—Freddy Mercury really had the golden voice and moves!
Is This What It’s Coming To?
social justice statement
in the form of school shooting victim sympathy cards placed in an otherwise normal greeting card display. The father of one of the Parkland Florida students killed last year created the cards. When will we say “Enough”?
Speaking of Greeting Cards, Hallmark Has Now Created Gender Transition Congrats Cards:
This novel but
suggests a considerable demand for such cards; as I always say, there are far more trans people than anyone knows…
Other Good News for Transgender Humans:
In a first, newly-elected Rep. Jennifer Waxton of Virginia’s 10
District installed the t
outside her office. Also, transgender woman Christina Rose Ginther
the MN Vixon Independent Women’s Football League for discrimination; see the story here.
The Degree of Love and Acceptance:
I previously wrote about how the family of Mollie Tibbitts refused to join in the chorus castigating all persons of Mexican heritage as criminals following Mollie’s murder by an undocumented seasonal worker in Iowa. Here now is an
of how the Tibbetts family has taken in a 17 year-old-boy of Mexican heritage whose family fled Iowa due to fear of reprisals. Despite their loss, the Tibbitts family epitomizes all that is good in humans.
Baden-Powell Service Association:
Several months ago, I was given a cool LGBTQ patch from the Baden-Powell Service Association, which was created in 2006 to embody all-inclusive scouting. Check out this
very innovative youth organization
; thank you to Chun-Yin Chong for sharing this with me!
Minnesota Civic Engagement Guide:
Before his term ended, MN Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and his team conducted outreach across MN and developed this
Civic Engagement Guide
on how to create more inclusive community boards and civic organizations. It’s a roadmap for greater inclusivity!
A training attendee recently wrote to say that she viewed me as a “Hope Champion.” Wow. Thank you!
Speaking of Hope:
My dear mentee and friend Jillian Chmiel forwarded this
Lisa Nichols video
, “These Three Sentences Will Change Your Life,” about how to overcome abuse and depression. For those struggling with how “little decisions” result in needing to make “big decisions” about having self-respect, this video will make a difference.
My 28-year-old daughter Kate, a writer like me, is a freelancer for
where she reviews books. She also has an entertainment-book review website that’s fun and smart,
Snarky Yet Satisfying
She regularly reviews books on her blog; check it out! Her book pick for this month is
Becoming by Michelle Obama
: “The former first lady outlines her journey from her childhood in a working class family living in the south side of Chicago, to meeting her husband at a law firm, to her influential time in the White House to now. But more important than her journey are her words of encouragement and empowerment for readers of all backgrounds.”
Watch this Video of NJ High School Wrestler Andrew Johnson:
The story about 16-year-old high school wrestler Andrew Johnson being forced to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a wrestling match has gone viral;
how a teammate attempts to comfort Andrew. This story raises questions about cultural awareness, racism, and how inconsistent sports policies end up impacting people from marginalized communities.
“Ellie 2.0 Radio” Shows:
My show, “Ellie 2.0 Radio,” airs on Twin Cities-based AM950 every Monday from 7 to 8 a.m. CST and can be live-streamed by clicking
Ellie 2.0 Radio highlights various historical and contemporary idealists and my work as a “practical idealist” trying to change the world for the better. The year started out with a January 7 interview of Hadeel Abouhasira, a young idealistic Palestinian-American attorney in Richmond VA who is working to change the world. On Monday this week. the show was “Ellie’s Talking Head” where I highlighted Hollywood idealists Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Hanks. Check out the
Stuff Worth Reading (assuming you think like ellie…):
I have been getting the
“Race/Related” weekly newsletter i
New York Times
for several months; I highly recommend it. The most recent installment compared press coverage over the Jamie Kloss kidnapping (hooray that she is alive and free!) with the absence of coverage for girls and women of color who make up more than a third of humans who go missing.
As referenced above, my piece, “Hope,” ran in
on Dec. 20.
Please Follow Me on Twitter:
I have a goal of doubling my Twitter followers (from 500 at present) in 2019. Would you please follow me @elliekrug to help make that happen? Thanks!
Past and Upcoming Talks/Trainings and General Stuff:
I’ve had some downtime to catch my breath (thank you very much!) but I’m chomping at the bit to get back in front of people to help inspire. I’ll be back to Lands’ End in Dodgeville WI for two full days of training the last week of the month, followed by trainings at Dakota County MN and the City of Saint Paul. Next month, I return to Richmond to train the Williams Mullen law firm and I’ll also speak to the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. And finally, my Upcoming Engagements page is totally up-to-date—
By the Numbers:
This newsletter is going out to 6239 recipients; last January, that number was 3053 recipients. It’s all about impact!
is a work in progress, so please, I welcome your suggestions and comments! Please share this newsletter with others, too!
Thank you for helping to make the world a better place! I'm at your side, cheering you on, I promise! Please have compassion for yourself and for others.
Encouraging Open Hearts and Thriving Human Spirits
Human Inspiration Works, LLC: We make "inclusion" an action word