Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about our collective impotence to do anything about mass shootings and gun violence. I committed to write to national leaders in government, business, faith communities and nonprofits to request a root cause analysis and a commitment to end this uniquely American craziness. In the past two weeks, I have learned a little about the many efforts around the country which are inspiring and encouraging. And I have come to appreciate how challenging it is to figure out to whom to write and then, who might lead a deeper look at mass shootings and gun violence.
Leadership & Transitions
Leadership & Transitions — what we offer to readers on this topic...
Too many organizations underperform because they fail to pay sufficient attention to leader transitions. As a result, the mission, those served, and the employees suffer. In my work with more than 300 organizations facing leader transitions, I’ve identified many factors that influence the outcome of a leader transition.
The power of leader transitions to advance, weaken or destroy organizations and the power of a planned and well-executed transition to strengthen and transform organizations.
Unfortunately, not every leader transition goes so well. Think for a moment about organizations you might know that were weakened or destroyed by a flawed leader transition. Arts organizations, charter schools, food banks, group homes for people with developmental disabilities, neighborhood development initiatives and community health clinics of all sizes have felt the pain of failed or flawed transitions.
See our Resource Pages for additional information on each topic.
Joseph Campbell wrote about the “Heroes Journey.” In it, life is referenced as a journey wherein we may have very different heroes to propel us forward. When I think of heroes, three people come to mind. I’ll tell you about them because they shaped my life’s work for social justice, as well as guiding my retirement years.
Early July 2nd, a neighborhood block party became a mass shooting site in South Baltimore. Last count, three people were killed and 28 were injured. I will spare you the details of what kind of guns were used. You have read and seen enough of these stories to know it was a horrible act of violence with guns that don’t belong in this world. Mass killings are not a 2nd amendment right and no one in a free nation ought to live in daily fear of where the next attack will occur.
I found myself thinking this week a lot about my friend Greg Cantori’s post last week about who are our heroes and why? Greg called out for all of us the importance of honoring heroes who are working to bring about lasting, radical change to broken systems. As we celebrate our national birthday and “freedom day” in the United States, I am grateful for the freedoms we have and deeply saddened and frustrated by the persistence of so many ways we block freedom for all.I found myself thinking this week a lot about my friend Greg Cantori’s post last week about who are our heroes and why? Greg called out for all of us the importance of honoring heroes who are working to bring about lasting, radical change to broken systems. As we celebrate our national birthday and “freedom day” in the United States, I am grateful for the freedoms we have and deeply saddened and frustrated by the persistence of so many ways we block freedom for all.
911 responders, feeding and housing those who are homeless, an exhausted nurse during COVID, a Safe Streets worker talking others out of using a gun…. What do these extraordinary people have in common? They are our heroes helping, or pushing through indifference, inaction, panic, or a crisis.
No one can read the horrific stories of sexual abuse of children by priests, ministers and others in authority and not be appalled. The betrayal of a sacred trust is unfathomable and repulsive. The Sun, my hometown of Baltimore’s newspaper, and the Washington Post have both provided extensive coverage of the April 2023 Attorney General’s Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. carried. The Sunday, May 7, 2023 headline story in The Sun – “Church leaders identified in cover-ups” broadened the focus from the clergy abusers to those in power in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who minimized or covered up the abuse, allowing more children to be abused. I’d like to reflect on two missing pieces of this coverage and discussion –an acknowledgment that sexual addictions exist and do influence behavior and the need for compassion for all involved.
The 2015 Freddie Gray uprising had a profound impact on me. I reacted, as many of my fellow Baltimoreans, in wanting to do something – not just something but something more substantial. My instinct led me to want to better understand the underlying conditions and ultimately how institutional racism plays an essential part and my role as a European-American in fostering it. My instinct also made me realize how ill-equipped I was as an individual to address this. When an opportunity surfaced to join a training course sponsored by Baltimore Racial Justice Action, I, along with my wife, Ruth, took this intensive eight-week four-hour sessions course which helped me to better understand white privilege and that I personally had to take action in whatever way I could.
Our neighborhood library helped me pay attention to Hispanic Heritage Month. Without a visit there, I suspect I would have missed this important celebration of our diverse culture. It caused me to wonder why Black History Month appears to get more attention than Hispanic Heritage Month? What am I missing?
Mom and Dad were incredible living examples of turning injustice into action. Our family moved to Los Angles in the late 60s after several years in Morocco where my dad was finishing his Fulbright work in Fez. He had just been hired in his first role as a professor of Political Science specializing in Middle East Studies at UCLA.
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I have been haunted by these words from the Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster song that Janis Joplin popularized with Me and Bobby McGee in 1971. When I feel stuck or confused these words come back. I ponder, “What is Janis saying?”