It’s been known that minorities such as women and the LGBT community have not always been welcomed with open arms into the military. In recent history, there has been a stigma surrounding these groups joining the military and fighting for the United States. According to The Atlantic, women were not allowed to “serve in all front-line combat roles for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command” until just two years ago. And the LGBT community had their own obstacles, first to be allowed to serve in the military, and then the creation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) from 1993-2011, which created controversy and hardship for those affected.
However, it seems as though things are looking up for these two groups serving in the military. Below are two examples of how dignity and respect are portrayed by government officials and outstanding military women that are breaking barriers for our minorities.
Women in the Military
In the past two years, women have been making history and breaking glass ceilings in the military special forces. According to Defense One, “the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment has become the first special operations unit to have a woman meet the standards of its selection course.”
In fact, not one, but two women graduated from Army Ranger school in December 2016. This is extremely significant because Army Ranger school is the most grueling, both mentally and physically, training course in the Army. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Defense One’s Council on Foreign Relations, explains Ranger school is an “intense combat leadership course through swamps and mountains.”
This achievement is also momentous because it is the first time a woman “earned a spot in the special operations forces.” Although not every job in the military is opened to women yet, women have been making a difference in the forces for years. Lemmon explained that “women soldiers joined Rangers on night raids, and searched and questioned Afghan women during raids to keep the women away from the combat operation then happening in their home.”
Although the process of merging women into the military and recently the special operation forces has been a long one, Lemmon said “women soldiers have proved their value to the mission and won acceptance as teammates as time went on.”
General James Mattis Testimony
Another example of how a person or persons has shown dignity and respect in regards to integrating women and LGBT in the military is General James Mattis’s testimony at his confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary. Senator Elizabeth Gilliland asked him whether he believed LGBT people “undermined the military’s lethality” and Mattis responded by saying he wasn’t “concerned about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.” Mattis continued by saying “my concern is the readiness of the force to fight and make certain it is the top of the game. When we go up against the enemy, the criteria that everything that we do in the military, up to that point, when we put the young men and women across the line of departure, is they are at the most lethal stance.”
This surprised many, including Senator Gilliland and Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, who was elated to have heard Mattis’s answer. “When General Mattis agreed that women and LGBT troops can contribute to the military’s lethality, he was supporting the long-standing argument, backed up by a solid consensus in the research as well as the experiences of foreign militaries, that inclusive policy promotes readiness,” Belkin stated.
It’s encouraging to hear General Mattis’s respond with statements about LGBT in the military, in an environment that has, in the past, ignored or rejected gay rights issues.
We know Halloween is over! But in the spirit of the festive season, we’re highlighting a professional makeup artist and social media maven who goes by the name Queen of Luna. With over 360,000 followers on Instagram and counting, Sarawati can transform herself into just about any character you can imagine – and she uses her hijab to complete each look. Check out a few of her masterpieces.
Why Are We Sharing Cool Makeup Art?
While great strides have been made for women in the workplace, Muslim women are one group still struggling to obtain and maintain visibility in the professional world. As this article in Fast Company astutely puts it, “The paradox of wearing the veil in the U.S. is that there’s nowhere to hide; it takes courage to stand out.” Speaking on creativity, another young woman explains her decision to observe hijab: “By choosing hijab, I display who I am. But I choose to emphasize other aspects of myself that form my identity: my character, intellect, quirky personality, and illusory hopes and dreams — my inner-existence.”
Not only does representation matter in our communities, our politics, and our media — it matters in our workplaces. When each of us, no matter our gender, ethnicity, religion, or lifestyle, can see an image and example of ourselves in another person, we are building a world open to the innovation and diverse creativity that is so crucial to long-term organizational success. Queen of Luna’s makeup art is not only impressive, it plays an important role in the way we understand our differences — and the talents, interests, and skills that make our society and our organizations stronger.
Do Your Part
At Dignity & Respect Campaign, we focus on celebrating and building on ALL of our differences. Finding common ground by bringing our talents and mutual interests together, while embracing what makes us unique, not only makes for a better world, but a more creative, collaborative, and successful one. You can find more Queen of Luna makeup art on Facebook, Instagram, and around the Internet. Do your part to build cultural awareness (and awareness of really cool makeup art)!
All images belong to Queen of Luna.
The recent successes of identity driven political campaigns, and their strategic use of divisive rhetoric has exacerbated an already overly hostile debate space in the United States. Identity politics differ from ideological versions in the ways citizens group themselves. Identity based political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific group at the expense of another. Examples of this could be the organization of the conservative bloc around pro-life legislation or liberals with same sex marriage. Emotions around these types of topics run deep and when they become primary political drivers our ability to have civil discourse suffers.
Why Has This Happened?
In 1968, nearly 80% of Americans* watched nightly broadcast news. At that point in time, these networks were sharing information that aimed to appear as unbiased as possible* so as not to alienate any viewers. Over time though, cable news networks that cater only to smaller slices of the opinion spectrum began to crop up, which created a phenomenon of intensified media bias. Partisan Internet news outlets have only added to this increase and have corralled citizens into separate corners of conversation.
As a result, we tend to witness groups of thinkers who typically only engage in debates with one another, and who view outside opinions as wrong or antagonistic. This is particularly true within the political system itself, a space in which the common practice of gerrymandering determines how the congressional districts are mapped out. In fact, 90% of these districts are so rigged that the winning political party has already been decided before votes are even cast. These once-vibrant settings for debate and discussion are now just cocoons that insulate the different parties from one another.
How Does D&R Plan to Change This?
It is because of this current state of debate that the Dignity & Respect Campaign has developed an alternative type of conversation space. We call this unique initiative Viewpoints – and it will differ from the current debate panels and news shows because our approach incorporates real people into the discussion, rather than figureheads. We want to showcase the similarities between our participants, in addition to their differences, so you – our readers – can see firsthand that everyone has precisely the same goal: to make a difference. Instead of viewing those with opposing opinions as enemies to be beaten or converted, we should view them as potential collaborators.
We will begin our Viewpoints series with a month-long conversation about the state of conversation. We will discuss how we can start to appreciate the diversity of thought in our nation, and hopefully discuss ways to increase respect for one another in our interactions. Once dignity and respect are incorporated into debate, we will have the ability to find merit in the opinions of others. We can begin building solutions to the many complex issues we face by combining ideas from all schools of thought.
The climate of discussion in America does not need to persist in its current partisan and harmful manner. Your neighbor is not your enemy if he or she does not agree with you, and we should not overlook the good intentions behind every opinion. Remember, we are all in this together.
*Taken from the film: Best of Enemies. Dir. Morgan Neville and Robert Gordan. Magnolia Pictures, 2015. DVD.
Communication is an extremely important aspect of our everyday lives that is so easy to overlook. Whether you are in conversation with coworkers, with friends and acquaintances, or with your family members, practicing strong and honest communication is a key player in fostering good relationships.
Lately, it seems there are a slew of issues in the news that create divides between peers and loved ones. Politics and topical issues have a tendency of polarizing people who discuss them – and even sparking animosity and irritation.
At the Dignity & Respect Campaign, we know how important certain issues might be to you. We believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings, but we also believe in acceptance – which means respecting others’ opinions and feelings, even if they differ from yours. This concept corresponds directly with the Fourth pillar of our 7 Pillars: Finding Common Ground. This model for behavior focuses on the ability to work through differences and gain agreement, while maintaining dignity and respect. To help you better understand this concept, and maybe even work through some ways to foster it, we’ve created a list of helpful tips for you:
Practice active listening. When you are in conversation with someone, regardless of whether the topic is a heated one or not, it’s a good habit to practice active listening. This means to be intentional about listening and make sure you are giving your full attention to the speaker. Also be sure to listen without interruption, and provide feedback to the speaker. Let him/her know what you heard so you can clear up any misunderstandings right away before you contribute to the conversation.
Be self aware. Understand how your culture and background shape you. Understand the differences between you and the person you are communicating with. For the most part, misunderstandings between people of different cultures, generations, or backgrounds occur not because of what was said, but because of how one party said it. The best way to stop these mishaps from happening is to not assume sameness, and not assume that the other party immediately understands what you mean. Take the time to get on the same page.
Disagree. Conversations are not a game that you play. The point in a discussion is not to win – there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions. It is very important to remember this, and especially important to remember that it is not your job to make someone agree with you. This is a key component in respect. It is okay to disagree. The purpose of conversing is to learn from someone else – not to sway them to believe what you believe. Hopefully, they can also learn from you.
These helpful tips can go a long way in creating healthy and respectful conversations. The more we effectively communicate with one another – even on sensitive issues – the more we can acknowledge our differences and promote acceptance of those differences.
November brings with it a kaleidoscope of fall foliage, cooler temperatures, and our national Thanksgiving holiday, which usually calls to mind the image of golden turkeys, simmering casseroles, and loved ones around a table. November is also recognized as Native American Heritage Month. Because one of the goals of the Dignity & Respect Campaign is to model our 7 Pillars of behaviors, we’d like to focus on one of these principles in conjunction with this holiday: building cultural awareness.
The history of this month of remembrance actually began way back in May of 1916, when the governor of New York approved an American Indian Day. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush took this a step further and declared November “National American Indian Heritage Month” which has been ongoing since 1994.
The purpose of this month-long dedication is to recognize the historical contributions that Native Americans have made to the growth of the United States, and also to raise awareness about the tribes that still exist today. According to the 2010 census, there are over 5.2 million citizens who identified as American Indian and/or Alaska Native. Even though this number might seem small (around 9.7% of total American residents), it’s actually very significant because these citizens represent a rich community of culture and history that is woven into the tapestry of the United States.
What can you do?Cultural awareness is founded in knowledge and education. In order to treat people the way they deserve to be treated, we need to educate ourselves about populations and cultures that are different from ours. So make this month all about learning! Read about the history of the Native Americans that inhabited our country long before it was ever the United States. Learn the differences between the various tribes and how many of them still honor the traditions of their ancestors.
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. – as well as the National Archives and the Smithsonian – is hosting a range of events throughout November. If you don’t live close to the D.C. area, you can read up on other ways to participate: trying new recipes, for instance, or watching an educational film. The Smithsonian Education group has also compiled a list of resources for teachers interested in educating their students on the history and heritage of Native Americans.
Dignity & RespectThe Dignity & Respect Campaign as a whole believes in working towards creating a better world for all of us to live in together. Regardless of whether or not you take an active stance in Native American Heritage Month, we hope that you will both appreciate and respect this special holiday. Your awareness will help to create a stronger and more compassionate America.
To echo the sentiments of the United States Department of the Interior: “Many voices– one journey– join us!”
reposted from PopCity…
UPMC’s workplace inclusion program has now gone from an internal effort to a community-wide, free Dignity and Respect Fall Festival set for Oct. 16 at Schenley Plaza in Oakland.”We are planning for it to be an annual event,” says Dawnita Wilson, who is program director of inclusion initiatives at UPMC’s Center for Inclusion and manager of the Center’s Dignity and Respect Campaign.
The Campaign began in 2008 with UPMC employees pledging their support for inclusion in their workplace. Employee groups devised 30 tips to help with the effort, from simple courtesies to being open, flexible and “culturally competent.””Dignity and respect to them meant these small little behaviors that we lose sight of on a day-to-day basis – things we learn when we are young,” notes Wilson.
The Campaign then became a wider initiative last year, gaining 60 community partners who spearheaded a literal pledge drive – 5,000 people throughout the area pledged to honor the Campaign’s goals of fostering multiculturalism and diversity.
The Campaign also offers a monthly Dignity and Respect Champion Award, most recently to Barbara Murock, a county behavioral-health specialist who works toward better health-care policy for vulnerable groups. This year’s festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will celebrate those same principles – and offer some fun, including rock climbing by Venture Outdoors, multicultural entertainment from UMOJA African Arts Company and lion dancers/kung fu artists Steel Dragon, alongside games, health and educational information and other free stuff.
For more information, call 412-864-3582 or click here to e-mail.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Dawnita Wilson, UPMC Center for Inclusion