Archive for the Diversity & Inclusion Category

The Best Way to Deescalate Conflict: Take Courage to Act from the Heart

Best way to deescalate conflict
As the winds had calmed down outside, I walked into a windstorm in my local cleaners and encountered an opportunity to test my courage to intervene in a conflict.

 The sun was shining brightly in Herndon, VA. I stopped into my favorite cleaners to drop off a green cloth for pressing. I was preparing to make a series of short videos on race, conflict, and inclusion, subjects that have been getting lots of traction since Election 2016.

An Indian man had entered seconds before me and was being helped by the Korean owner.

“The pants are too short.” He told her.

“I measured thirty inches!” She replied in broken English and with rising agitation.

“I wore these pants here.” He pointed to a second pair stretched on the counter. “You were to fix the blue pants just like these, but they are too short.” By now, he was controlling his frustration.

“I measure thirty!” Her voice scratched the tense air.

She added: “Why are you complaining to me?” She threw down her pen and walked towards me.

Exasperated, she looked at me, ignored him, and said: “I will help this customer.”

The Indian man, with fury in his dark eyes, threw down his keys in anger.

Am I not a customer?!” He asked incredulously.

All of a sudden, he became a Black man to me. He was my brother, one of my sons, a nephew, my husband. Too many times, even I had been on the receiving end of this type of rude and dismissive customer service from a person different than me. I assured the shop owner I was not in a hurry and could wait. I smiled at both of them hoping to thaw their locked grip of conflict. As I watched them verbally jab each other, my mind traveled in time.

Involuntarily, my mind popped up a picture of the incident that split Black and Korean communities in my home city of Los Angeles in 1991 when a Korean convenience store owner gunned down an unarmed Black girl, Latasha Harlins. Harlins was a customer in the Empire Liquor store, a student at Westchester High School in Inglewood, when Soon Ja Du shot her in the back of the head because she thought Harlins was trying to steal a bottle of orange juice. Du saw Harlins slip the juice in her backpack but did not see the money in her hand. A scuffle ensued and Du fired from the back and killed Harlins instantly. Du was fined $500 and given five years of probation. There was no one to intervene.

The open wounds between Black and Korean communities still drip.

 

The Best Way to Deescalate Conflict

 

I looked in my knitting bag and pulled out a tape measure. Stretching it, I said: “He is saying the measurement is incorrect.”

She then pulled out her own tape measure to confirm she measured thirty inches. Whether she did or not, one leg was at least five inches shorter. A Korean man came from the back with the air of a manager.

“What is the problem?” They begin speaking rapidly in Korean. He must have said something she did not like because she waved him off and approached me, again.

At the moment, I said: “You have a wonderful business AND when a customer has a problem, you might want to listen and smile.” I smiled at her. I gestured to my ear and pulled it, hoping it would help her understand.

“He does have a problem and he needs your help.”

The “manager” smiled as if to say “thank you.” The Indian man also smiled.

The “manager” then invited him to try on the perfect fitting pants behind the curtain. He retakes his measurements to solve the problem.

The Korean woman looks at my green cloth and asks if $20 is a fair price. Given its size, I agree.

As I leave, I turn and touch my ear. She smiles and touches hers. The Indian man steps from behind the curtain. His eyes thank me. His smile assures me he will be made whole.

It did not take a degree in psychology or human behavior. It took courage to act from the heart.

When have you taken the courage to act from the heart?

 

What is the best way to deescalate conflict for you? Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to deescalate conflict? Did you let your heart take the lead?

Please also follow my posts and connect with me on Linkedin. I would love to hear your stories.

International Trade Commission Diversity and Inclusion Week

Internaitional diversity and inclusion facilitator
The International Trade Commission reached out to me to kick off its first-ever International Diversity and Inclusion Week. Nearly 100 employees filled the room to be inspired by the topic:

“Building Bridges across Differences: A Celebration.”

It is a celebration when an organization, especially one with an international focus, devotes a full week to diversity and inclusion. Being selected to launch the week as the international Diversity and Inclusion facilitator inspired me as much as I hope my discussion inspired the audience.

Employees received the following invitation:

International Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Facilitator; Conflict Resolution Specialist

Tamara Smiley Hamilton

Monday, October 21st at 11 AM, Courtroom A

“Building Bridges Across Differences: A Celebration”

Tamara Hamilton is a poet, author, speaker, and coach dedicated to helping people access their personal power. Through stories, word weaving, provocative questioning and more, Tamara guides people on their life journeys. She loves to bear witness to transformation and growth. Please join us as we all gather to gain a new personal and professional perspective on diversity and inclusivity.

International Diversity and Inclusion is all-consuming.

international diversity and inclusion cooking show with Tamara smiley hamilton

International Diversity and Inclusion also INCLUDES enjoying foods from around the world and understanding the stories that connect us. Coming soon: a cooking show to connect us in more ways than one!

Let’s all do this together! Stay inspired with 7 Blocks for Building Bridges.

aroundtheworld foods #couragetv hashtagpeace hashtagrace hashtagunderstanding hashtagconnect hashtagdiversityandinclusion hashtagcookingshow hashtagdrthaodo#couragetv

Facilitator for Conflict Resolution – Peace Coach Tamara Smiley Hamiton

Tamara Smiley Hamilton conflict resolutionTamara Smiley Hamilton was honored by the National Rotary to have an interview featured as an article in the July 2019 edition of Rotary Magazine, The Rotarian.

“It is good to recall the paths that converged into diversity and inclusion as a central part of my peace journey.”

– Tamara Smiley Hamilton

Color Conscious Peace Coach!

Visit the National Rotary Clubs website to explore the July 2019 Rotarian Magazine and read more on Tamara Smiley Hamiton’s experience as a facilitator, coach, speaker, and trainer. You will see why Tamara is a sought after facilitator for conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion, and empowerment training. She is not only the Peace Coach, but she is also the Color-Conscious Peace Coach!

Did you know Tamara Smiley Hamilton is also an Accredited Speaker through Toastmasters International? 

Rotarian Magazine Designates Tamara S. Hamilton Peace Coach

peace coach tamara smiley hamilton

peace coach tamara smiley hamilton

The July 2019 issue of The Rotarian Magazine features an article with Tamara S. Hamilton. Dubbing her the ‘Peace Coach’ the article speaks to Tamara’s lifelong learning and desire to promote peace and understanding between all cultures.

The story begins with Tamara’s personal experience of the Watts Riots, in 1965 Watts, Los Angeles California. Further details of Tamara’s dedication to peace and inclusion in her studies and her career are highlighted. Read more here on the International Rotary website. 

If your corporate or civic organization is looking for a Color-Conscious Peace Coach, to discuss the undiscussable about race and gender, contact Tamara S. Hamilton. Peace Coach, Tamara can facilitate meetings or speak to large audiences and provide customized coaching.

“I convene conversations on race in order to enhance employee engagement and morale. “ – Tamara S. Hamilton

Contact Peace Coach Tamara today! Remember to subscribe to Tamara’s newsletter for information on color conscious peace coaching tips to address diversity and race relations with grace, influential events, and more. Find the blue subscription box near the bottom of the TamaraSHamilton.com home page.

Forgiveness One Story At A Time

-forgiveness one story at a time - how do we forgive racial tension

How Do We Forgive?

The countdown has begun. My feet will touch African soil in the country of Rwanda on December 29th. I already know that this will be a transformative experience as I meet with both victims and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide when neighbors committed the worst atrocities against one another. More than one million people were slaughtered with crude weapons of war in a ninety-day period.

Somehow, they found the power to forgive. They found a way to heal and to move forward together. There is no more ethnic recognition of Tutsis and Hutus. They are now one Rwanda. How did this happen? At the core of their forgiveness was the ability for victims to share their stories of grief, trauma, and devastation while the perpetrators listened. The road to this point is revealed in the video, “As We Forgive.” It is required viewing for my study group of fourteen students and citizens traveling under the auspices of George Mason University.

Forgiveness grows when we share our stories

“What project do you want to pursue?” Al Fuertes, my professor, inquired. Without hesitation, I said “I want to talk with storytellers and artists, women especially, who have found a sense of identity when all has been ripped away: husbands, children, parents, lovers, and friends. How do they tell their new stories of resilience?”

All of us face loss and disappointment. Some have faced the unbearable. How do we keep putting one foot in front of the other under the most adverse circumstances? I work with organizations where one co-worker cannot forgive another. I work with teams that are divided because of unresolved racial tension. But, in Rwanda, forgiveness has occurred one story at a time. When we look at our own lives, who needs to forgive us and to whom do we need to extend the olive branch? Have you calculated the cost of remaining stuck in your hurt story? I would love to read your responses. I will share my learning journey through this blog while gaining insight into the power of healing and forgiveness in Rwanda.

Telling Our Stories of Conflict and Accord

Diary of a WATSS Princess Tamara Smiley Hamilton

Our stories matter.

When I found the courage to tell my story, I had no idea where it would lead me. Reflecting on my life opened doors to memory and magic. Details returned about lessons learned and how I came into awareness of not only myself but also how I wanted to show up in the world.  Our past is an invitation to our future, if we pause to take a look.

What started as a project in a memoir writing class three years ago is now the lead article in the digital edition of Kosmos, a journal of transformation. My story now has global exposure to an audience of peace seekers, to an audience seeking to change the world for good.

My story focuses on conflict but ends with a message of hope. Where does your story begin?

Read more

Diversity and Inclusion: The Village of Dangling Threads

Diversity & Inclusion: The Village of Dangling Threads
By Tamara Smiley Hamilton

Some call it the law of attraction. Some call it faith. Some call it hope. Whatever we call It, somewhere there has to be the belief that each of us can make this a better world. The time for fear has run its course. The waiting that someone else will step up is gone. We are living in such fragile times that each of us needs to attract the energy to reach across lines of differences and finally see the “other.” Why? Some might actually ask that question. When they do, the rest of us need to embrace the energy that launches the question, because at least there is an opportunity for engagement. There is an opportunity to sew up a gaping rip.

All of us embrace or reject differences in our own way and style. Some of us give benign smiles but don’t speak. Others lend a helping hand but won’t expose a heart. Some make noble speeches and proclaim: “My best friend is Black.” Or, announce I have the Koran on my bookshelf of sacred books. We wear various badges of honor to keep us from being like them. But who are they? Who are the ones dividing us from the vision of peace and harmony some of us expected to see in our lifetime, especially if you saw the fires despair that defined the sixties, and all that came before. Tulsa in 1921. Now Charlotte and Charlottesville, Berkeley and Washington State sound like remixes of nightmares we had shoved under the bed.

We are in a season where to call is not for arms, but for hearts.

Hearts open us up to hear each other’s stories. Hearts open us up to embrace a new food that comes with a grandma story. Hearts help us see mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and families that make up the human village. There is an African proverb that says: “It takes a village to raise a child.” I offer that it will take a village to save the values, the hopes, and the dreams we so delicately place in our children for safekeeping.

What can each of us do now?

We see the seams unraveling.

We feel the smoldering conflict of values.

We see the threads dangling at the hemline of our nation.

Does anyone have a needle and thread???

Are we standing by letting the cords rip?

 

It’s not too late to consider: What is one small step to reach across lines of difference so that we can sing at least one song in harmony? Perhaps the song has a simple refrain: “I SEE you and you matter to me.”

Tamara S. Hamilton is an experienced and sought-after speaker on diversity and inclusion whose wise words lift the spirit, hug what hurts, and models hope and resilience. She is an eloquent and heart-centered communicator. Contact Tamara for consultations, speaking at your event, group facilitation or coaching.

Stay inspired with Tamara’s 7 Steps to Building Bridges.

Before Age Twelve: Reflecting on My Socialization around Race, Part 1

Race Pride Socialization around Race

Today an article came across my desk about raising race conscious children. I clicked on it because my six-year-old grandson is sitting across from me playing video games. As a grandmother, I am committed to him being equipped to live in a diverse and complex world. As I read through tips and stories, advice and commentaries, I paused to think about my own socialization around race. It influences who I am today.

“No one is better than you.” Those words were branded on my young mind as one of my earliest memories about race. My parents never said White people will try to make you feel they are superior, but it was what they meant. Around the dinner table or while ease dropping, I heard adults talk about Dr. King with sheer adoration mixed with sadness, always fearing for his life. My conversations with my father stand out vividly because he always seemed like it was urgent for me to get certain lessons from him. From the age of seven to eleven, I worked with him to earn extra spending money above my allowance. He cleaned an office building on Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles. While I emptied ash trays and dusted the desks, he vacuumed the floors and emptied the trash cans, always exhorting over his shoulder some lesson for that day.

He drilled me on what ifs. “What if someone stole your wallet, what would you have left? “My education” was the proper answer. He cherished education and migrated his small family to Los Angeles so that I would avoid a Jim Crow life in Montgomery. Later in life I learned I was one of 3.5 million African Americans who left the South between WWII and 1970. It was 1957 and I was almost five when we settled in our new land of opportunity—the place where education was free.

He would tell me that most people were good, including White people but he quickly followed up that there were “some mighty bad White people, too.” He urged me to treat people well and to become a citizen of the world. He told me White people respected education and I needed to get all I could.

He sought out opportunities for me to be with White people because there were none in our neighborhood around Central Avenue (the Black Hollywood of LA) and 23rd Street. The only differences I saw were the Mexicans who sold buckets of oranges from door to door for fifty cents a bucket. My mother was always ready to accept a bucket and hand over a fifty-cent piece. There was little eye contact from either party, just genuine politeness. The Japanese people did not live in our neighborhood but were there every day trimming hedges and manicuring lawns. As kids, we thought that’s what they do. I did not know all had lost homes and businesses during WWII, during the internment period. Eddie and Tony, the Koreans, owned the small grocery store on 25th Street where I bought comic books and the magazines with all of the pop song lyrics. They called me “Little Girl.” Frank drove the Helm’s Bakery truck a few days a week and he was the only White man I would see regularly in person other than on television and in stores.

Television was a trip. If a Black person appeared on television the phones blew up with: “Hurry! There’s a colored person on channel 2.” You knew to call all friends and neighbors. It showed how invisible we were and how powerful the medium was. To see ourselves on television was nothing short of a miracle. It dominated the playground news for the next day.
I first came face to face with differences when my father sent me to the Hollywoodland Camp for Girls. There was a sea of blonde hair, freckles, and braces. I don’t remember feeling different until it was time for bed and all the girls where brushing their flowing hair and I as putting mine up in pink sponge rollers. They asked if it hurt and I said no. I asked if the braces hurt, and they said sometimes. Many had acne and pimples and spent a ritualistic evening with Noxzema and Clearasil. I had clear smooth skin that they seemed to admire. I made some friends for just the week we were there. Once we came back to the real world, I never heard from them or thought of them again. I think we instinctively knew we were in an artificial land at camp.

Hair was an issue, though. I wanted to swim every day and was good at it. Back home the summer was not complete without a daily trip to Twenty Second Street Playground where there was a nice size pool. When I left for camp, my mother’s parting words were probably: “You better not get your hair wet.” Once coarse black hair was wet, nothing could tame it but a hot straightening comb. I was not of the age to use one and was totally dependent on my mother to tame my wooly and unruly hair once it was wet. I often wondered what it would feel like to a Breck Girl who could get her hair wet and shake it off.

I am grateful I grew up with race pride that did not have to demean another group for me to feel worthy. My parents dreamed of a world where my friends would represent the real world. If only they could see me now.

~~~
*Years later when my husband and I bought our first home from a Korean family, we discovered a covenant in the documents: illegal to sell to Negroes and Indians.

To be continued…

Speaker on Conflict Analysis Takes a Journey as a White-Haired Graduate Student in the Age of Blackboard

speaker on conflict analysis basks in learning

When I began the out-of-body experience of returning to “school” in January of this year to study conflict and race at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, I had no idea of the wonderment of the journey. At 65, I was filled with the fear of the unknown: what would it be like to be in class with my grandchildren??? Would I remember how to read academically? Could I still write a research paper? What if I am just too slow? In our senior years, the brain cells are not what they used to be.

I remember the first day of the Conflict 600 class and hearing students talk about the reading assignment. I had arrived early for a seat in the front—the old-school way. I had a new spiral notebook and colored pens. Most had laptops and iPADS. They chattered about the syllabus.

“Excuse me.” I summoned the courage to intervene in lightning fast conversation.
“Uh…you already have the syllabus?” Gulp.
“There was an assignment already??” I must have sounded incredulously out of touch. That’s when I realized Blackboard had to become my best friend. Everyone had logged in, downloaded the syllabus, prepared the first assignment, and entered ready to go. I sat in silence as the discussion swirled around me. The invisible dunce cap was a perfect fit.

One student, all of twenty-four years old, sensed my dread and whispered: “Don’t worry. I will help you with Blackboard.” She emailed me articles that escaped me no matter how I searched.

When I missed a class, another shared her notes. For a final group project, my partner was twenty-one and had graduated from my children’s high school. But, our team work was genuine and the result pleased the professor.

The Happy Report after a few short weeks:

The “kids” were amazing! My white hair was an instant magnet. One day I was late, a classmate approached me after class and said: “We get nervous when you are late. You drop such pearls of wisdom every time you speak.” I just melted. All of my fear and angst floated away—even my fear of Blackboard!

As the weeks rolled by, I adapted to the pace of learning. I always felt behind in the reading until I relearned how to read research articles again after forty years. My questions got better and the angst subsided. I went from drowning to floating to swimming through the material by the last week of classes.

The professors treated me like living history. Rich Rubenstein, who wrote books on urban unrest, saw me as a valuable oral historian as I described the nights I watched Watts burn from my back porch. Many times, he would say: “You guys won’t remember this because you weren’t born, but Tamara does!” We would then go into an enchanting dialogue about James Baldwin, the Black Panthers in Los Angeles, and the gentrification occurring in Watts and Crenshaw. The class sat in wide eyed wonder.

Tehema Lopez Bunyasi gave me the honorable title of “The Forest Gump of the Class.” I wear it proudly as someone who has lived a full and adventurous life: teaching poetry in a minimum men’s prison, living in a German village for seven years (no military), traveling with female ex-gang members as they taught courses in nontraditional careers for displaced and battered women, to teaching public speaking skills for the Obama White House.

The icing on the cake:

I was humbled when my name was called to receive the James H. Laue Scholarship Endowment. Dr. Laue was a founder of the field of conflict analysis. He stood on the balcony with Dr. King that awful day in April 1968. The recognition fueled my passion to contribute to the field and continue being a speaker on conflict analysis and resolution.

This whole experience remains magical. I am not wondering what I will do when I grow up and graduate. I am basking in the joy of learning and being without the pressure of what’s next?

As the new school year approaches, I look forward to empowering experiences with Blackboard.

Expert Panel Provides Tools for Successfully Navigating Race in the Workplace at Local Conference May 15-16

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The “3D Global Coaching Summit: Dimensions of Diversity Dynamics” Offers Open Discussion and Workshop for HR Representatives, Managers and Business Professionals Alike

WHAT: It’s no secret that race is a confusing and difficult topic for most to discuss and address in the workplace. Award-winning leadership and diversity speaker, Tamara Hamilton of Audacious Coaching, LLC will be creating a safe place to talk about race May 15-16 at the 3D Global Coaching Summit: Dimensions of Diversity Dynamics. The two-day event, led by Hamilton and a panel of experts in this arena, will equip working professionals at all levels – as well as other community members – with a better awareness of the invisible nuances that go unnoticed by the many socio-cultural groups which make up our country’s very diverse melting pot.

Chair of Health and Wellness for the Coalition for Change, Arthuretta Martin and MBTI specialist, Dr. Dennis Slaughter, join Hamilton to lead a case study in tandem with breakout sessions to challenge participants to stand in their own power. Attendees will walk away feeling empowered and confident to employ these newly learned tactics to discuss topics of race with their colleagues, families and friends. Guests attending the event can also receive ICF credit and SHRM recertification credit.

WHO: 3D Global Summit produced by Audacious Coaching, LLC

WHEN: Monday, May 15: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.   

Tuesday, May 16: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m

WHERE: Embassy Suites Dulles Airport – 13341 Woodland Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20171

3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

Conference Room Embassy Suites Herndon, Virginia

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Reserve your room for 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

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Spring 2017 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

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Arrive early for the May 15-16 2017 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

Embassy Suites Herndon, Virginia

Welcome to 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton at Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

Exterior Embassy Suites Herndon, Virginia

MORE: Founded in 2012 by Tamara Hamilton, Audacious Coaching, LLC helps organizations address issues of diversity, bullying, and macro-aggression, which many see as the new face of racism. Helping workplaces be safe places, Tamara Hamilton uses inspiration, humor and story telling to help facilitate tough conversations and discuss the un-discussable. The full 3D Global Coaching Summit details and schedule can be found here.

MEDIA Elizabeth Ackerman

CONTACT: Decibel Blue Creative Marketing & PR

Cell: (360) 927-6712 | Office: (480) 894-2583

elizabeth@decibelblue.com