Wednesday, December 14, 2016

bolstered by facts

Have you been following Teen Vogue on twitter? I started following their twitter feed in October for the amazing coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But, since Saturday's op-ed by Lauren Duca titled “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America” Teen Vogue has been making news and jumping onto everyone's radar.

29-year-old Elaine Welteroth became Teen Vogue's first black editor in chief in May of 2016. Since her arrival, Teen Vogue has been covering politics, feminism, identity, and activism.

For example:
Teen Vogue’s recent September issue, typically the month in which fashion magazines focus on upcoming trends, was noteworthy for its politically oriented content. It featured a personal essay by the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a conversation between the actor Amandla Stenberg with the feminist Gloria Steinem, and an interview with the U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch, conducted by the black-ish star Yara Shahidi. The issue also introduced “21 Under 21,” the magazine’s “official guide to the girls and femmes changing the world.” The list of young activists, artists, and advocates featured few household names, but a notable majority of young people of color.

In the Lauren Duca interview on Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, when asked "What do you hope that teen girls will take from your op-ed?" Duca replied, "I want teen girls to feel empowered to form opinions about current events, to express them in a way that is bolstered by facts, and to never ever worry about seeming rude."

SG: What do you hope that teen girls will take from your op-ed?

LD: I want teen girls to feel empowered to form opinions about current events, to express them in a way that is bolstered by facts, and to never ever worry about seeming rude. In this fraught moment, young women are often silenced or treated as something silly and other, despite having an equal investment in the political future.

So I made some post-its with that quote and left them around town. I can't think of a more empowering wish for young women.

If you are looking for a holiday gift for the young women in your life, consider a subscription to Teen Vogue. Thoughtful, empathetic, fact based journalism will thank you for it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Love conquers Hate

This morning I saw news that a racial slur was sketched in the snow at the Idaho Black History Museum.

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. 
And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. 
It's just plain wrong.” 

I didn't know what to do. I am so angry and exhausted by hate. But, the 'better angels of our nature' got to me and I remembered that Love conquers Hate.

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." 
- Abraham Lincoln inaugural-address

So I brought that message of Love to the Museum:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


“Don't accept the world as it is. Dream of what the world could be - and then help make it happen.” - Peter Tatchell

November 8th, standing on a busy street corner, encouraging my fellow citizens to vote... and being flipped off by passing drivers.

It has been three weeks since the 2016 presidential election, and I'm still moving through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I am currently standing on that "and" caught between acceptance and depression.

I know there is no such thing as innocent bystanding; and I need to move on past acceptance and into action. It feels too  hard to do. But, I can do hard things.

Here are some Articles, Podcasts and Videos that I have found helpful...  that have moved me along:

And this just makes me so hopeful even when I feel things are hopeless...

Be kind to one another. 

I am especially grateful for all of you who are taking action for equality, empathy, inclusion, compassion, and justice for all.

Friday, October 7, 2016

build your way forward

Have you ever asked yourself... 

Why am I here?

What am I doing?

Why does it matter?

What is my purpose?

What's the point of it all?

By training yourself to think like a designer, you'll be able to figure out the answers.

This week I read the book Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. I highly recommend this book as the Holiday Gift you can give to everyone and anyone.

Start investigating design thinking by watching the video above and listening to Bill and Dave on the Diane Rehm Show.

My favorite parts of the book:

I loved all the reframes! For example:

Dysfunctional Belief: To be happy, I have to make the right choice.  Reframe: There is not right choice - only good choosing. 
Dysfunctional Belief: I need to figure out my best possible life, make a plan, and then execute it.  Reframe: There are multiple great lives (and plans) within me, and I get to choose which one to build my way forward. 
Dysfunctional Belief: I should know where I'm going!  Reframe: I won't always know where I'm going - but I can always know whether I'm going in the right direction. 
Dysfunctional Belief: Life is a finite game, with winners and losers.  Reframe: Life is an infinite game, with no winners or losers.

I loved the idea of Wayfinding.
Wayfinding is the ancient art of figuring out where you are going when you don't actually know your destination. For wayfinding, you need a compass and you need a direction. Not a map - a direction.

In this book you will be introduced to five things you need to do - the five mind-sets you will need to move forward:

  1. be curious (curiosity)
  2. try stuff (bias to action)
  3. reframe problems (reframing)
  4. know it's a process (awareness)
  5. ask for help (radical collaboration)

You'll be so glad you read this book. Check out the NewYorkTimes article on thinking like a designer. Then, head over to the Design Your Life website. Watch this vimeo and this vimeo.

Start design thinking, and build your way forward.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The theme of the 2016 Boise TEDx is Reframing Radical

What a great theme! 

The TEDx Boise event organizers have assembled a diverse and inspiring group of speakers under the theme of ‘Reframing Radical.’ 

Speakers include:

Amy Pence-Brown 
Belma Sadikovic
Canwen Xu
Erin Guerricabeitia
Refik Sadikovic 
Marianna Budnikova
Justin Richie
Kenton Lee
Stephen Miller 
Nicole LeFavour
Jessica Holmes 
Esther Emery 
Jason Morales 
Eric Walton

Tickets for TEDxBoise 2016: Reframing Radical are available for sale for $93 at

It got me thinking of my favorite radical reframing... Hamilton, the hip-hop, rap musical about Alexander Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He completely and radically reframed the founding fathers and American history. Miranda's linguistic dexterity turned Hamilton's immigrant story into a phenomenon. Anyone who can make the Federalist Papers and America's treasury system exciting is an expert at radical reframing!

What other Reframing Radical examples can you think of?

While we await hearing from these great speakers in Boise, how can you radically reframe an idea you are working on?

I went through this blog and found a few of my favorites:

Friday, March 4, 2016

I am not throwing away my shot

"That only which we have within, can we see without. If we meet no gods, it is because we harbor none. If there is grandeur in you, you will find grandeur in porters and sweeps." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last week I read Cory Booker's new book, United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good.

Today, I read the New York Times Sunday Book Review dated Feb. 4, Cory Booker: By the Book. In the article Cory Booker is asked, "Which writers - novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets - working today do you admire most?"  And Senator Booker answers:
Let’s see. Playwright, I’d say Lin-Manuel Miranda — “Hamilton” is one of the best things I’ve ever seen on a stage, and for a guy who loves American history, hip-hop and theater, it was pure bliss. Journalists? The person that comes to mind right now is Ta-Nehisi Coates. His articles — and especially his book “Between the World and Me” — have been incredibly important to me this year, as I have been thinking and writing a lot about race and the promise of America. I admire and respect him, even though (or because) I find myself disagreeing with some of what he writes and some of the conclusions he draws.

It was a funny coincidence that as I was reading the Times article, I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. And, in my mind, all three works: United, Hamilton, Between The World And Me... started to debate the ideas of American history and race and opportunity and oppression.

From Hamilton, My Shot...
Scratch that
This is not a moment, it’s the movement
Where all the hungriest brothers with
Something to prove went?
Foes oppose us, we take an honest stand
We roll like Moses, claimin’ our promised land
And? If we win our independence?
Is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants?
Or will the blood we shed begin an endless
Cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?
I know the action in the street is excitin’
But Jesus, between all the bleedin’ ‘n fightin’
I’ve been readin’ ‘n writin’
We need to handle our financial situation
Are we a nation of states? What’s the state of our nation?
I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately
Smashin’ every expectation
Every action’s an act of creation!
I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow
For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow
And I am not throwing away my shot  I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot

It is impossible to think of the founding fathers merely as dead white males once you see and hear them embodied by young black and brown men rapping America's narrative.

And then there's Between The World And Me and Coates' message that America is structurally and irredeemably racist.
“It does not matter that the ‘intentions’ of individual educators were noble. Forget about intentions. What any institution, or its agents, ‘intend’ for you is secondary.  No one directly proclaimed that schools were designed to sanctify failure and destruction. But a great number of educators spoke of ‘personal responsibility’ in a country authored and sustained by a criminal irresponsibility. The point of this language of ‘intention’ and ‘personal responsibility’ is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. ‘Good intention’ is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.”
Is the American Dream a lie or does it belong all who are young, scrappy, and hungry?

In United, Cory Booker says...
"Tolerance is becoming accustomed to injustice; love is becoming disturbed and activated by another's adverse condition. Tolerance crosses the street; love confronts. Tolerance builds fences; love opens doors. Tolerance breeds indifference; love demands engagement. Tolerance couldn't care less; love always cares more."
"The destiny of our country will surely depend on how many of us choose to join forces and fight the battles of our time, side by side. Cynicism about America's current state of affairs is ultimately a form of surrender; a toxic state of mind that perpetuates the notion that we don't have the power to make a difference, that things will never change. This idea is not only wrong, it is dangerous."

Perhaps a diverse nation like America will always be more interdependent than we realize. Our national narrative is both cynical and hopeful, compassionate and indifferent, both a calculated symphony and a beautiful rap. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

made by people

"I wanna talk today about the refugee crisis going on around the world but let's begin with an old saying often attributed to that great expert in the field of human evil, Joseph Stalin. 'When one man dies, that's a tragedy. When thousands die, that's a statistic.'
Large numbers can feel cold and distant and even kind of comforting because they don't feel like people. And I think that's one of the reasons much of the world was able to ignore the years old Syrian refugee crisis until recently. But then, after thousands of refugees died this year trying to get to Europe, one three year old boy's body washed ashore in Turkey. His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he drowned with his five year old brother and his mom trying to get to Greece."
- John Green

I have thought a lot about what John Green said, and I think it's very true.

More than a million people reached Europe in 2015 in the continent's largest refugee influx since the end of World War II (statistic). Nearly 3,800 people are estimated to have drowned in the Mediterranean last year, making the journey to Greece or Italy in unseaworthy vessels packed far beyond capacity (statistic).

Ai Weiwei has said, "The border is not in Lesbos, it really (is) in our minds and in our hearts."

With Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton has let us see into the lives of 12 different Syrian refugee families preparing to embark to the United States.

All of this is a lead up to say... we get lulled by statistics to see unique individuals as less than who they are... humans. Distinct, singular, exceptional people.

Volvo has come out with a new advertisement that is definitely worth your time to watch... 

Monday, January 18, 2016

provide a safe environment for everyone

"It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people." Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Saturday many of us met at the Idaho Statehouse to rally again for legislation to provide civil protections to all Idaho citizens across the state. 

It had been reported that lawmakers (Republican State Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill) and the ADD THE WORDS movement were meeting to come to a compromise on civil protections under the law. However, nothing could be further from the case. How do you compromise on civil rights and human rights? The lawmakers appear ready to provide gay and lesbian citizens of Idaho civil protections, but not transgender citizens. That is not justice.

Advocates of adding anti-discrimination protections for Idaho citizens based on sexual orientation and gender identity have sought legislative action to add the four words to the Idaho Human Rights Act for nine years.

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant." Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I ask those against ADD THE WORDS why protections should be limited for transgender citizens, the answer I receive always devolves into something to do with restrooms.

Yet, the other day I saw a wonderful sign online... 

It said: 

We have a unisex bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put others into uncomfortable situations.

And since we have a lot of our friends coming to see us, we wanted to provide a place for our friends who are:

  • Single Dads with daughters
  • Single Moms with sons
  • Parents with disabled children
  • Those in the LGBTQ community
  • Adults with aging parents who may be mentally/physically disabled
Thanks for helping us to provide a safe environment for everyone.

So, on this Martin Luther King Day, I'd like to simply ask the Idaho Legislature to help provide a safe environment for everyone.

Read more here: