writer, lawyer, human
Human Inspiration Works, LLC
Vol 5 No. 4 April 2020
Inspired by the words and actions of Robert F. Kennedy
We're All in This Together
Well. Here we are. Waiting. Fearing. Hoping. Maybe a bit depressed. Certainly,
than we were just a month ago
I’ve gone nearly five weeks without touching another human. My 1100 square-foot condo on the 12
floor in downtown Minneapolis has become both a refuge and a cell. Still, I have it much luckier than most, and so far, I have remained healthy. For all of that, I am very grateful!
There is so much that people are experiencing right now; the question for some has become,
How in the world will I get past this stuff?
Humans have great capacity to adapt and support each other.
It’s true—when faced with adversity, most of us will change our thinking and behavior in ways to help us and others survive.
In the past month, I’ve had many people reach out and a number of silver linings have emerged—wonderful laughter with my siblings; a Zoom happy hour with dear friends from Boston; and the time to plant wildflower seeds in planters made from the bottom halves of empty juice containers.
Most of all, I feel
. People care about me and that makes all the difference. More gratitude!
In order to do a bit of personal support for others, I’ve decided to hold a “We’re All in this Together” (WAIT) session via Zoom on Monday, May 5 from 4-5 p.m. CST. We’ll spend an hour talking about grit, resiliency, hope and compassion. My goal is to give anyone who wants it some added resolve for the coming weeks.
If you want to join me—this is a free event with donation optional (the donation will benefit
wo local nonprofits)—click
here for the Eventbrite link.
Attendance is capped at 100. I know, that may be way over-estimating interest…
Otherwise, hang in there my friends! We will get through this, and I suspect, once this is over, most will be way more aware of how interconnected we are to each other. That would be a good thing!
I care about you.
Anonymous Nurses Provide a Way to Say Goodbye
Thousands of virus-related stories of compassion by strangers are emerging. One that caught my eye involved
this CNN piece
about how several never-named nurses took turns staying with Michelle Bennett’s 75-year-old mother, Carolann Christine Gann, in her final hour as she battled the virus.
As Michelle related, “Not being able to be there and hold my mom’s hand, rub her head, tell her the things I wanted to say to her. It was such a helpless feeling.”
When it appeared that Carolann’s breathing had changed, suggesting that death was near, a nurse at the Swedish Issaquah Hospital in Issaquah, WA called Michelle from her personal cell phone to use FaceTime. The nurse then said, “I’m going to put the phone up to her (Carolann’s) face so that you can tell her you love her and say your goodbyes.”
The nurse also told Michelle that her mother wouldn’t die without someone at her side; the nurse said, “She will not be alone, we will stay with her till the end.”
After telling her mother the she loved her, Michelle said, “Mom, it’s OK to pass on. It’s OK to go now.” An hour later, Carolann died.
Michelle said that she could see the nurse crying as she took the phone away from Carolann. “I know how difficult this is for them,” Michelle related. “I can’t imagine being on the front lines …but then have the compassion and the empathy to be right there in that moment as if it was their own mother. That was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced.“
Carolann Gann was a nurse herself, retiring after 39 years of service. To honor her mother and the nurses who helped in her final hour, Michelle set up a
to raise $5000 for all the nurses in King County WA. My last check of the funding page showed that $2010
had been raised toward that goal.
We’ve all become far more aware of the sheer courage of our health care workers. Please, if you know someone in healthcare, write them a note or send an email telling them thank you. We all benefit from their heroism.
Hero Cab Driver Saves Elderly
Passenger from a Scam
Figuring that we’re all ready for something that’s not virus related, here’s a
CNN Good Stuff story
about Rajbir Singh, a compassionate and persistent Roseville CA cab driver who saved a 92-year-old passenger from being scammed out of $25,000.
The woman got into Rajbir’s cab and asked to be delivered to a local bank.
On the way there, the woman related that she had heard from a long lost relative who needed $25,000 to settle an IRS debt. When Rajbir questioned the woman about this, she let him call a phone number that purportedly was that of an IRS agent. Rajbir called the number only to find that the person on the other end abruptly terminated the call.
One would think that would be enough to convince the elderly passenger of the scam; but it wasn’t. The woman continued to want to be taken to the bank. At that point, Rajbir used more imagination and detoured to the local police station where an officer spoke with the woman.
That worked. The officer convinced the woman she was being scammed.
“We love this story,” a Roseville police officer wrote on the department’s Facebook page. “(B)ecause several times throughout, Raj could have just taken his customer to her stop and not worried about her wellbeing. He took time from his day and had the great forethought to bring the almost-victim to the police station for an official response.”
I love this story too. It’s about a stranger caring for another stranger and using persistence and imagination to help a human. Remember, giving
of one’s time can be an act of compassion. This story proves just that!
Inclusivity Tip of the Month
Adapting to Changed Times: Online Trainings
At the urging of a client/friend—who gently pushed me to think bigger—I’ve created a new online human inclusivity training, “Overcoming ‘Othering’: Radical Inclusion and Authenticity,” that offers a formula for creating a more inclusive organization (or world), post-pandemic. The training (click here for a description) fuses inclusivity principles with an understanding about the power of human authenticity. Here is an
for the training on April 23 from 9:30-noon via Zoom.
I have scheduled other trainings/talks via Eventbrite: Gray Area Thinking on May 7 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. CST (click
); Workplace Allyship on May 12 from 1-2:30 p.m. CST (click
); Transgender 101 on May 15 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. CST (click
); and Changed Genders, Changed Perspectives on May 21 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. CST (click
). Descriptions for each training/talk can be found at
Yes, there are charges for these trainings/talks because otherwise, I’m out of business. It's a reality I'm certainly adjusting to!
If your organization (business, nonprofit, governmental entity or church) would like to schedule an online training or talk just for your colleagues or members, reach out to me. We can make it cost effective and tailored to specific goals or objectives.
Hopefully, I’ll be back to standing in front of audiences by the fourth quarter. In the meantime, it will be online for me!
Odds & Ends
There are a lot of videos out there to distract us; I’ve got some in this month’s O&E. I hope you enjoy!
Here’s couple who’ve created a
cowboy and horse
to the theme of America’s “Horse with No Name.” Hilarious!
One More Wonderful:
as an 84-year-old professional pianist plays for his retirement community in Boulder.
One Last Wonderful:
as doctors take a moment to play music at a NYC hospital; I have to believe that every note was savored by them and listeners.
Face Masks Instead of a Ticket:
Upon finding that the speeder he had stopped was a doctor on her way to work at a hospital, a Minnesota State Trooper issued kindness instead of a ticket. Click
R.I. Cop and the Community Buy
Groceries for 86-year-old Woman:
Once the Warwick R.I. police officer got to the grocery store, store personnel and shoppers all chipped in for the groceries—because humans care for each other. Find the story
Father and Daughter (Still in Diapers!) Bebopping to the Alphabet:
Best parenting and wonderful love in action,
Waiting for the Right Moment:
as a yellow Lab outsmarts a black Lab. It’s worth the wait for the pup and you…
My friend Alan Miller:
In the Bay Area sent along
of members of his chruch singing and dancing to "Faith." Wonderful!
Man Teaching Dog to Drive Car:
As the officer said, “I wish I was making this up…” Click
Hear This Wonderful Poem by a Transgender Man:
My tears were proof.
Argentina Gets Its First Transgender News Anchor:
Diana Zurco’s story
is filled with grit and determination; what a wonderful role model for all humans struggling with the Human Condition!
Not at all Good for Transgender Humans:
In the midst of a pandemic, Idaho’s legislators and governor have seen fit to
to prevent transgender teen women from competing in high school sports and which prohibit transgender Idahoans from changing their birth certificates to conform to their “true” gender. This is not the Idaho I experienced when I spoke there last year…
But Good for LGBTQ Virginians:
new LGBTQ-equality bill
will become law on July 1, making it the first state in the South to have state-wide LGBTQ protections.
Humans of Minneapolis Community Reflections:
I've highlighted HOM in a past issue--it teaches empathy through story sharing--wonderful work! HOM is now launching weekly Zoom meetings for sharing about virus-related experiences. The first event, "Feeling," is set on April 25th from 3:30-4:30 p.m. CST. Contact email@example.com for more information.
My 29-year-old daughter Kate, a writer like me, is a freelancer for
where she reviews books. Check out her website,
It’s All Booked
Kate’s back this month with her review of
by Min Jin Lee. Kate’s take: “
If you like historical fiction,
is an absolute must-read. In fact, you've probably heard of it and for good reason--this book is 100 percent worth the hype. We're in the early 1900s in Korea, where teenager Sunja falls in love with a powerful and wealthy stranger. They exchange promises but when she discovers that A) She is pregnant and B) He is MARRIED, Sunja very understandingly distances herself from him. She instead accepts an offer of marriage from a minister passing through Korea on his way to Japan. But the decision to reject her son's father and to leave her home won't be without consequences...this is that story!”
“Ellie 2.0 Radio” Podcasts/Shows:
My podcast/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. You might want to check out my April 13th show where I highlight the late Bill Withers for his “soulful selflessness” music and interview Elisabeth Samson Lee about her tenacious fight to hold law enforcement personnel who commit sexual assaults accountable. Click
for the show’s list of podcasts.
Writings by Me:
“Army of One,”
was published last week in
Stuff that I’m Reading:
The New York Times
Editorial Board has
started a series
, “The America We Need,” about what our country could look like, post-virus. As a nation, we need to make lemonade and radically change the way we do things going forward. And, also toward that end, here is a
great opinion piece
about how it shouldn't take a pandemic to get us to care about the working poor by Stephanie Land, author of
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive.
Remember: My Book,
Getting to Ellen
, is Available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook
Suddenly, you have the time…
Status Report on my Second Book,
Beginning with this month’s
, I’m providing updates on my progress in finishing the second installment of my memoir-trilogy,
Being Ellen: A Newly Minted Woman Engages with the World.
Virus-related downtime has given me a chance to make real progress on the book—I’ve now got 65,000 words on what likely will be a 100K word book. With luck, I will have a good first draft by May 15th. Stay tuned!
Please Follow Me on Twitter—The Goal is 1300 Followers:
I’m shooting for 1300 Twitter followers; currently, the number stands at 950. Will you please follow me? The larger my footprint, the better I can get out a message about compassion for others and for one’s self. The Twitter handle is @elliekrug. Thanks!
Please Follow me On Instagram:
Would you please follow me on that as well? (I know, I sure ask a lot from you…) The Instagram handle is @elliejkrug. Make sure to include the “j”; otherwise you’ll start to follow a 23-year-old blonde Victoria Secret model—sadly, that would not be me!
Past and Upcoming Talks/Trainings and General Stuff:
Usually, this is where I share about talks or trainings in the next month; unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused the wholesale cancellation of many talks or trainings. At things presently stand, I’m won’t be standing in front of audiences until the end of June, and even that is iffy. If I had to guess, it will be fourth quarter at the earliest. But to see my Upcoming Online Engagements, click
Want to Support My Work toward Fostering Greater Compassion and Human Inclusivity?
My goal is to do more work in greater MN and other parts of the country where access to compassion/human inclusivity training is limited or nonexistent; for this work, others and I have set up a nonprofit, Human Ripple Works, Inc. Some of you have been sending in checks or making online donations to help with this; THANK YOU! If you’d like to support this work, please click
here on the HRW website.
(As you’ll see, for this work I reach out to nonprofits or under-funded agencies to do a free or a greatly-reduced- fee training in these locales.) Thanks for considering this!
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