You are receiving Ellie Krug's Monthly Newsletter, The Ripple 
Dear Friends:
Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes and nonprofits, and home to many good people, last week once again took center stage in the battle to end systemic racism in policing and other institutions. The killing of Daunte Wright was one more desperately unwanted reminder of how any skin color other than white carries an enormous risk of grave injury or death in our country.

Daunte’s death came as the Chauvin trial in downtown Minneapolis entered its third week. Today, April 19th, the will receive the case, meaning that we could have a verdict by week’s end. Regardless of how the jury decides, the verdict will cause historic rippling across America. One can only hope that justice will prevail; we shall see.

Once more, calls for police and other systemic reforms are sounding across the nation. Beyond that, there are on-going efforts to allocate funding—billions of dollars—to remedy historical inequities. While all of that is so very important, I’m convinced none of it will stick; not a single one of those efforts will change the way we treat each other based on skin color. 

Instead, we must do the incredibly difficult, hard, and gut-wrenching work of sitting in rooms (either live or via online) talking to strangers about what it means to be “them” and learning that truly, we are all alike, that each of us is attempting to survive the Human Condition with varying degrees of success. I have again blogged about this and the reparative power of human familiarity. (Click here).

I’m convinced with all my heart that this work of being uncomfortable in the presence of humans who constitute “Other” is the only way we will change America. We have avoided the work because we’re afraid of what it entails and what it might produce. Consequently, we’ve opted to take the safer route of funding hundreds of programs and initiatives—while that’s way safer to the psyche, it just simply won’t get us where we need to be.

It’s imperative that we think and act differently. Time is running out and America is literally at risk.
I don’t mean to scare you, but someone has to speak the truth.

Be safe my friends. I care about you. 

Finding Love at a Subway Station
Twenty years ago, when he was 32 years old, Danny Stewart walked down the steps to the Chelsea subway station in New York City. While waiting for his train to Manhattan, he spotted what he initially thought was a doll wrapped in a sweater. On closer examination, Danny discovered that he was looking at a newborn baby boy, maybe a day old, with his umbilical cord still intact.

As reported in this recent LGBTQ Nation story, Danny called his partner, Pete Mercurio, to report what he’d found. Pete rushed to the subway station, and after unsuccessfully searching for the mother throughout the subway platform, they called the police. Ultimately, the baby was taken to the hospital as Danny and Pete provided statements to the police.

The story of an abandoned baby made the local news in an unsuccessful attempt to find the boy’s birth parents. Several months later, Danny was called to testify in a court proceeding to declare the boy a ward of the state.

As luck would have it, New York state was testing an expedited adoption process for abandoned babies. At the hearing, the judge asked Danny if he would like to adopt the baby. He responded, “Yes, but I don’t think it’s that easy.”

The judge responded, “Well it can be.”

Elated about the prospect of parenting the baby, Danny went home to talk to Pete about it. To his dismay, Pete wasn’t in favor of them becoming adoptive parents. At the time, they lived in a crammed apartment with a roommate. Pete even threatened to end their relationship.

That was until Danny convinced Pete to visit the baby boy at his foster parents’ home. Pete said that he held the baby and felt an “instant wave of warmth.” As Pete recounted, “The baby squeezed my finger with his entire hand so hard. He was staring up at me and I was just looking at him, and it was almost like he found a pressure point in my finger that just opened up my heart…and showed me in that moment that I could be one of his parents, one of his dads.”

The men named the baby boy Kevin. Ten years later Danny and Pete were married by the same judge that had helped them to adopt Kevin.

Kevin is now twenty years old and studying mathematics and computer science at college.

“I did not know that this level of deep love existed in the world until my son came into my life,” said Danny. He added, “I can’t imagine my life if it didn’t turn out this way. My life has become much more enriched and full. It has changed my world view, my perspective, my whole lens.”

Pete has written a children's book about how Kevin came into his and Danny’s life, Our Subway Baby.

Love shows up in so many different ways, doesn’t it? We just need to be paying attention and be willing to take risks. 
Inclusivity Tip of the Month
How to Support Colleagues/Friends
Who Aren't White in Skin Color
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Given what’s going on in America right now, I thought it would be good to offer some tips on how white-color people can be supportive of humans with other skin colors.
The first thing to understand is that white-color people don’t carry a historical legacy of oppression based on their skin color. If you’ve gone through my “Getting Past the Bumpiness” training about racism, you will recall my phrase, “Things weighing on you.” While we all have things weighing on us—the job, our relationships, the kids, bills to pay—one thing that doesn’t weigh on white Americans is their skin color. In contrast, people with other skin colors are reminded every day that they’re “Other,” and when horrific things happen, like the killings of six Asian women in Georgia or George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and now Daunte Wright and thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, they feel those incidents personally.

Given this, when something occurs, it’s imperative that white-color people reach out to their nonwhite colleagues and friends. Things that you can do:

             1. Text, phone, or email to the colleague/friend saying that you are thinking of them and asking if they would like someone to listen. (I put it as “Offering a shoulder or an ear.”)

             2. Urge your organizational leaders to issue a statement condemning the incident and offering support to team members who aren’t white. (I know that leaders are often afraid that they’ll say the wrong thing—I addressed how to create such statements in the January 2021 Ripple, see here.)

             3. Consider sending a written note of support to your colleague/friend. Written words are incredibly powerful since they have the added benefit of being able to rest on a countertop where the recipient can come back to them time and again for nourishment.

             4. In general, it’s better to reach out sooner rather than later. However, if someone asks for time to grieve or find their bearings, respect that.

             5. I don’t ever recommend reaching out en masse to people who you barely know or whose names show up on a roster. Instead, hopefully you will have cultivated relationships with some nonwhite people where it won’t seem odd that you’re offering words of support. In other words, don’t do it for show purposes. (That also means it’s important to have such relationships.)

             6. Finally, understand that people are sick and tired of the violence inflicted on their communities because of their skin color. We need to cut people slack and grace as they react, grieve, and have anger.

My colleagues with the Twin Cities Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable recommend these additional resources: see here and here.

We need to be there for each other. That’s a big part of breaking the cycle of racism/violence/anger/law enforcement reaction/broken leader promises/repeat on and on. 
Sixty Second Roundups
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Whenever you start to think about teens as uncaring, please check out this video of Minnesota middle school students playing football with a classmate who uses a wheelchair. Here's also the story of Justin Herron, a rookie lineman for the New England Patriots, and Murray Rogers, a young dad, who stepped in to stop the sexual assault of a 71-year-old woman in a Tempe, Arizona park. Because we have good empathetic hearts.
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Justice sometimes takes decades to achieve; a case in point is the story of Caroil Horne, a Buffalo NY police officer who stopped her partner from using a chokehold on a Black man they had arrested. Caroil was later fired as a result. She sued and recently was awarded her police pension and benefits dating back to 2010. Read here. Here also is my TV commentary on jury selection for the Chauvin trial. Finally, for those interested, here's my April Lavender Magazine column "Exuberance."
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Things have gotten far worse for transgender kids and youth in America. Since the last Ripple, Arkansas passed a law making it illegal for medical professionals to treat trans kids; Florida will now allow for the genital examination of any student athlete accused of being transgender; and Texas is on the verge of taking transgender kids away from parents who affirm their child's true gender identity. See this graph that estimates 45,000 trans kids are at risk. See also this mom of a trans child take on Texas legislators. Ironically, by far, most Americans oppose anti-transgender laws--see here. Ugh.
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For this month's Relief, we start out with this video of 6-year-old Paige Tobin fearlessly skateboarding. From there we shift to a dog patiently feeding carrots to a group of bunnies. Finally, for our tech savvy readers, here's a water-powered generator designed to recharge devices anywhere there's flowing water. How cool!
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My April 17th "Ellie 2.0 Radio" show had me talking to Sondra Samuels about The Itasca Project's "First Thousand Days" initiative aimed at getting the business community to understand the need to support ways to promote child mental and physical health in the first three years of life. Also, if you want to help me to do more work for organizations lack budgets for training, please consider donating to Human Ripple Works, Inc., a nonprofit that others and I set up to train nonprofits/other organizations on human inclusivity. Thank you for that!! If you’d like to support this work, please click here on the HRW website.
The Ripple is a work in progress, so please, I welcome your suggestions and comments! Please share this newsletter with others, too!

Please consider reading my book, Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change; if possible, order it through your local bookstore. And, if your book club reads my book, I'm happy to come for the discussion via Zoom!

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

Ellen (Ellie) Krug