Where I've been writing lately:
Dear CEOs of America,
Let’s start with a hard truth. We’re living in a dark time.
No matter your party affiliation, it’s hard to ignore the increasing social upheaval and corresponding activism, driven in part by our political moment but undergirded by the bigger trends of globalization, automation, and a historic distrust in our public institutions.
Public life is in crisis. And when public institutions fail, it affects all us, especially the most vulnerable.
So why are so many of you, many with incredible influence over our everyday lives, sitting on the sidelines?
In so-called “normal” years, many companies use the Super Bowl to create a halo effect around their brands, taking advantage of the massive audience to talk about our common values. (See: Proctor & Gamble’s #LikeAGirl, among other recent examples.)
A Syrian brain surgeon and two women in Chicago unite to stop a humanitarian disaster.
This past weekend, I stood outside Terminal 5 at O'Hare, protesting along with thousands of other Chicagoans the treatment of Muslim immigrants and refugees by the current administration. As we enter a dark stretch in this country's treatment of refugees, I wanted to get a first-hand account of someone who's been an advocate of those fleeing Syria, and how she used online media to shine a spotlight on the tragedy.
Wendy Widom is a two-time Emmy-award winning social media manager at CBS 2-Chicago, and the co-founder of #StandWithAleppo, the highly visible online advocacy campaign. Wendy and I have been exchanging messages about her experience. Read more below.
If you’re like me, the past month has caused a bit of an existential crisis — and made you fired up and ready to do something.
But if you’ve never been involved in the kinds of fights you’re interested in, it can seem overwhelming. I’ve had many conversations over the past few weeks with well-intentioned people who see big problems and a big, intimidating white space before them in terms of where to start.
One of the things I loved about being a history major in college was getting to step back and look at the big picture. The study of history shows you how things — people, communities, religions, leaders, ideas — interact and influence each other. It made me appreciate that everything is connected, but it also showed me that if you pay attention, patterns emerge. “History repeats itself” is a trope that has a certain truth to it.
In mid-October, not long after Donald Trump drew attention for his 3 a.m. tweets, I received an email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign inviting me to help canvass voters in Iowa, a short drive from my home in Chicago. The message noted that “1,500 of Hillary’s best supporters” had headed to neighboring states the weekend before, and now they wanted me to do the same.
I have an ache, right now, in the top left corner of my right calf. It’s a specific pain, like if my calf muscles were a rowing crew, and one rower got a migraine in the middle of a race. Everything still works, but that one guy isn’t very happy about how his team needs him to keep going.
It's because of people like you who have stepped up—in ways big and small—that progress over the past few years has been possible. And as we roll into the final months of President Obama's last term in office, it's going to be up to folks like you to help make sure we aren't held back by those trying to stop progress.
Technology is a wonderful thing — until it starts to get in the way.
2014 was a year of automation failures. Oreo had an auto-reply slip up. The New England Patriots had to apologize for accidentally tweeting a racial slur. Facebook stirred up memories that people would like to forget.
See: Good intentions gone bad.