You are receiving Ellie Krug's Monthly Newsletter, The Ripple 

ellie krug

writer, lawyer, human

Human Inspiration Works, LLC

The Ripple 

  Vol 7 No.7 August 2022

Inspired by the words and deeds of Robert F. Kennedy   

Finally Walking the Walk

Dear Friends:

I hope your July and the first half of August had you enjoying summer, and maybe even vacationing to see a bit of America. I did exactly that by spending some time in Steamboat Springs CO visiting my best friend, Thap, and a few good pals from my high school days. Then, it was a 360-mile two-lane road trip to Salt Lake City that had me taking in some exquisite American beauty, including a sign that read, “Last gas for 57 miles.” What wonderment!

On that trip I thought about something big for me: my decision to run for the local school board, Eastern Carver County Schools District 112.

As I’ve shared in prior issues, I began volunteering for District 112 this spring by speaking with LGBTQ+ students and their allies and by training educators on how to support queer kids. Additionally, for a discounted fee, I provided Gray Area Thinking© training to the principals, vice principals and deans of the District’s dozen schools. And wow, all of that work put me in awe of both the students and their educators!

Along the way, someone suggested that I consider running for one of four open seats in this election cycle. That led me to sitting in that person’s living room with twenty strangers who, after hearing my “sort-of stump speech,” told me they would support my candidacy and who said they believed I could succeed in being elected. It was, to say the least, a humbling experience!

For the last several years, I have urged all of you to become involved to protect our democracy and those who have historically lacked voices. I thought I was doing my part with my work around human inclusivity, but I’ve come to believe that I need to do more—that I need to actually, and finally, walk the walk.

And thus, tomorrow I will file the papers to become a candidate for school board. I anticipate it will be a long slog with many challenges, but I promise to give it my best shot. If I succeed, I would be only the third transgender person ever elected to a school board in America and the first in MN.

Thankfully, many wonderful people have stepped forward to help, including local resident Kelly Kison who created the campaign website: If you’re inclined to contribute to the campaign, I’d be very grateful! (And, if you want to contribute by check, please make it payable to “Ellen Krug/Huntington Bank.”)

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you all advised, for sure!

Remember, I care about you.


Note: The above content was prepared by the Committee to Elect Ellie Krug, 5201 Saddleback Circle, Victoria MN 55386

An Act of Compassion Resonates for Nearly a Quarter Century 

From CNN comes this incredible story of how a woman’s compassion toward two refugee teenage sisters resonated for almost two and a half decades.

In May 1999, Tracy Peck, then forty-seven, was flying back from Paris where she had played tennis and watched the French Open. Seated next to her on the flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis were two teen girls, refugees from the war in what was then Yugoslavia. Tracey struck up a conversation with the sisters, Ayda and Vanja Zugay, who seemed so very young and frightened. The girls greatly reminded Peck of her own two daughters.

As the plane landed in Minneapolis, Tracey reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope and wrote, “To: The girls from Yugoslavia. I am so sorry that the bombing of your country has caused your family problems. I hope your stay in America is (a) safe + happy one for you. A friend from the plane—Tracy.”

Tracy slipped a $100 bill into the envelope, along with the dangly earrings she had been wearing. She handed the envelope to the girls and headed into the airport and out of the girls’ lives.

As it turned out, that $100 was incredibly important to Ayda and Vanja. They used the money to live on, eating pancakes and Coca Cola for the entire summer. The girls kept the envelope, hoping that someday they would be able to thank the compassionate stranger named “Tracy” for her generosity.

For years, Ayda had wanted to let Tracy know how much her generosity had meant to her and Vanja, but she didn’t know how to find Tracy. Eight years ago, Ayda posted on Reddit asking for help in finding Tracy. Then, more recently, a refugee organization shared a video about Ayda’s search. After that, CNN picked up the story and it went viral.

Soon, one of Tracy’s friends (who had also been on the tennis trip in 1999) saw the story, as did Tracy’s former tennis coach. Both recognized Tracy’s distinctive handwriting on the envelope that CNN pictured. They contacted Tracy and a couple days later, Tracy, Ayda and Vanja tearfully reunited on Zoom.

Ayda related, “You know those huge doors that they have in old places across the world? It felt like that big, heavy door just got shut. And I’m finally able to move forward and thrive…And it just makes me so happy. Thank you for reminding me to be strong.”

In return, Tracy was grateful that the girls had remembered her and her act of kindness. She noted that with all the pain in the world, it’s important to be kind to humans. Tracy said, “I just want to encourage everybody in the world to be kind…Smile, make eye contact, help anyone that’s in trouble or in danger. And I just don’t know why anyone wouldn’t do that. So, I’m very, very thankful that I have found you girls, that you have found me.”

This story shows how a single act of kindness can ripple in others for years. As Vanja said, “Your generosity is still in me, because I’ve been paying it forward ever since.”

We all have the power to be kind. This story reminds me to never hesitate in exercising that power.


Inclusivity Tip of the Month

To Comment or Not Comment?

Speaking Up About Pivotal Events 

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As I’ve consulted with various organizations around DEI, there have been repeated instances where the question became, “Should our organization make a public comment about X or Y event of historical significance or new pressing social issue, and if so, what should we say?”

George Floyd’s murder and the national call for real change that followed, as well as the January 6th insurrection, are examples of pivotal events. After those events, I helped organizations figure out how to comment both internally and publicly in ways that supported their own DEI efforts.

Of course, the most recent social issue/pivotal event was the Supreme Court’s very recent Dobbs decision that reversed nearly 50 years of privacy rights for women. Once again, organizations asked for advice on navigating whether to comment about Dobbs or not, and if so, on what to say.

There are entire industries devoted to helping organizations manage internal and external communications, and for sure, I don’t want to create the impression that I’m an expert. On the other hand, I do know that human inclusivity is the extent to which a person feels that they matter to an organization. And I also know that to make team members feel that they matter, it’s almost always incredibly important to say something, even if what’s said is just, “We’re not sure where we go from here, but at the very least we want to make sure you know that we care about you…”

My absolute rock bottom advice is that it’s usually never a good idea to remain silent about an issue of historical or social importance where it’s obvious that the issue is adversely impacting a group of team members. Otherwise, the old adage, “silence speaks volumes” will take hold. There’s nothing worse for inclusivity (and DEI in general) than to ignore how team members may be hurting.

For more information about this, here are a great Public Relations Society of America article and a piece from Harvard Law School’s Forum on Corporate Governance. And of course, feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss what your organization should say or do after a pivotal event.

Sixty Second Roundups

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Here is a story about an Indiana pizza delivery person, Nick Bostic, who saved five people from a burning home in Lafayette, IN. That alone was an incredible act of bravery, but note also that the GoFundMe for Nick, who suffered burns and had to be hospitalized for several days, has now reached $572,000 (the original goal was $100K)—again, an example of how compassion begets more compassion. See also this extraordinary video of how a Little Leaguer comforts a pitcher after being hit in the head by a pitch. Watch as the compassion ripples to the pitcher’s teammates. Here too is the story of a man with a rare blood type who has given blood every week for 60 years to save others with a rare illness. 

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Back when I was trying to figure out who I am, I read Jennifer Finney Boylan’s memoir, She’s Not There, which helped point me in the right direction. Well…here’s the July 26th podcast of The Queer Book That Saved My Life! in which Jenny and I talk about her book and how each of us is working to make the world better. (She with a way bigger platform than me!) Additionally, he’s my July 30th Ellie 2.0 Radio show where I talk to Taylor Lyons about standing up against a marginalizing Chattanooga school board and her work with helping to found Moms for Social Justice (see website here). Additionally, my friend Kelli Brenny tipped me off to this Southern Poverty Law Center website, Learning for Justice—for the educators out there, this is a wonderful resource! Finally, I will be preaching (yep, in the pulpit giving a real sermon) at Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian church in Chaska MN on Sunday the 28th; please come in person or via Zoom. You can check out the website here.    

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This month’s Pain begins with this CNN piece about the Oklahoma Board of Education downgrading the Tulsa School District’s accreditation over a complaint that a DEI training shamed white people. As the story relates, the Tulsa school board slapped back—as it should have! There’s also this NYT piece about book banning across America. See too this NBC News story about how more than 1 in 8 LGBTQ+ persons live in a state where doctors can refuse them medical care. Also, several years ago, I highlighted a story about a GoFundMe for a homeless man in NJ—here’s a story about how that was a scam. Damn! Finally, I have pain because after a decade of monthly “Skirting the Issues” columns, I’ve resigned from Lavender Magazine. I was told that I could no longer write about “political” things—like the need to protect trans and queer kids. It’s hard to believe a LGBTQ+ magazine wouldn’t want to talk about LGBTQ+ people being marginalized, and certainly, I will not be muzzled, hence my resignation.  

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There is so much relief this month! Check out this video of how pandas just can’t get enough of one of their guardians; and there’s this video of a groundhog eating a farmer’s crop while staring directly into his security camera—hilarious! See too, this video of a wolf pup howling. And although this video is dated, I thought you’d love it nonetheless—about how in Stockholm they turned subway stairs into piano keys. Nice. Finally, and I have now cried (maybe sobbed is a better word) twice watching this touching video of Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now” at the most recent Newport Folk Festival. (In fact, that may become my final theme song.) Good luck with not tearing up! 

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Check out this story of how someone very smart and caring decided how the windows would be washed at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. And wow, did you see this video of Petsmart (!!) team members standing up for LGBTQ+ humans and the rainbow flag? Wonderful allyship! Finally, here is a link to a wonderful NYT piece about “Friending” which documents how adults with privilege can help to lift up children and youth who aren’t so privileged. Maybe consider a “Friendling” program in your community or life? 

Lastly, several of you have recently donated to Human Ripple Works, Inc., the nonprofit which makes it possible for me to do more work for organizations that lack budgets for training (like talking to Gender and Sexuality Alliances at various schools across the country). 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

Note: Prepared by the Committee to Elect Ellie Krug, 5201 Saddleback Circle, Victoria MN 55386

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