Essays

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Trump’s Immigration Ignorance

Donald Trump’s immigration agenda rejects both our American history and values. In this essay, I share America’s immigration history and the nuances of our current situation to demonstrate how President Trump’s divisive immigration rhetoric and actions will make us less safe and less American. The essay borrows heavily from Tyler Anbinder’s amazing and engrossing book, City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York.

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Our Hope: The Obama Generation

I am grateful my children grew up during the Presidency of Barack Obama. He taught our younger generations to dream big, to get involved, and to practice the leadership values he practiced every day. In this essay, I lay out those values and why I’m optimistic our young people will embrace them, reject the leadership style of President-elect Trump, and become the leaders who will help us bend the arc of history back toward justice.

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Travel in a Changing Cuba

Entering a Communist totalitarian state, I expected more militaristic security personnel at the airport. Instead, we were warmly welcomed to Cuba by the female immigration and security agents wearing uniforms that included shorts and patterned fishnet stockings. It was the first of many surprises, mostly pleasant surprises, we experienced in Cuba. We hope the imminent growth of American trade and tourism doesn’t turn Cuba into another homogenous tourist zone, and benefits the Cuban people more than the tourists.This essay is a companion to my blog of tips and reviews from our April 2016 visit.

 

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Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever)

Data-driven and evidence-based practices present new opportunities for public and social sector leaders to increase impact while reducing inefficiency. But in adopting such approaches, leaders must avoid the temptation to act in a top-down manner. Instead, they should design and implement programs in ways that engage community members directly in the work of social change. (currently behind subscription paywall)

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Bold Leaders Who Defy Millennial Stereotypes

The Chronicle of Philanthropy invited me to write an opinion piece for their issue recognizing 40 nonprofit leaders under 40 years old who are solving the problems of today and tomorrow. I decided to use the platform to argue about how stereotypes about Millennials are often only about the most privileged Millennials, and to recognize that this list is better than those stereotypes.

I believe you must have a subscription to read it at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, but they gave me permission to reprint it on my blog.

 

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Vu Le is Right About Equity and Collective Impact

Vu Le, the blogger at Nonprofit With Balls, is an important voice in the nonprofit sector. He speaks truth to power and calls out the elephants in our collective room. Many critics approach their fields with righteousness; Vu approaches with refreshing humility as one struggling with these questions and willing to be wrong. On November 30th, he posted “Why Communities of Color Are Getting Frustrated with Collective Impact.” He may find it surprising that The Collective Impact Forum not only welcomes his critique, but is broadcasting it as an important contribution to our field. In this essay, I share why his critique is so valuable. The field needs to listen to voices like Vu in every community, welcome their critiques, and then figure out how we can create authentically inclusive and equitable collectives. Otherwise, we will not achieve sustainable social change.

Follow this link to the full essay, Vu’s original essay, and a series of recent essays on Racial equity and collective impact.

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Strengthening and Diversifying the Nonprofit Talent Pipeline

The essay offers four steps for nonprofits to be more strategic about recruiting, retaining, and advancing diverse talent: (1) Nonprofits should recruit from the strength of our sector’s scale and the challenging, meaningful and rewarding work we offer. (2) To retain talent, we must build cultures that support innovation and leadership development (3) Nonprofits must make racial equity and inclusion a strategic imperative so we better reflect the future of America and not its current disparities. (4) Philanthropists should partner with organizations to ensure adequate investment in staff recruitment and development to achieve better impact results.

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Nonprofits: Equity Begins Within

Many nonprofits and foundations are applying an “equity lens” to look outward at social problems and solutions, disaggregating data and seeking to differentiate opportunities and services to reduce disparities. But our organizations and collective efforts must begin by looking inward, using an “equity mirror” to examine our own composition, culture, and policies that reinforce and perpetuate societal disparities. To do equity, we must also be equity.

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How I Learned About Leadership from Addiction Recovery

Understanding how change happens in people’s lives, seeking mentors, owning mistakes, suspending judgment, letting go, forgiving, and paying it all forward — these are priceless leadership lessons learned I’ve learned in an unusual way.

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The Problem With Restroom Libertarianism

I have long found men’s public restrooms as the most useful rejoinder against libertarianism. In the most private of public spaces, men’s selfish impulses rule to the detriment of common good.

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Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee

This weekend I spent 24 hours in jail for protesting the , the unarmed man shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer in a downtown park. I am compelled to write about my experience to share why I chose to join this protest and to correct the narrative law enforcement leaders in Milwaukee have used to inaccurately paint a picture of the protests and arrests.

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