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Just You & Me

[They] drew a circle that shut me out

Heretic, rebel, thing to flout

But love and I had the wit to win

We drew a circle and took them in

- Edwin Markham, Outwitted

On Friday, January 28, 2022, I had what I hope was the beginning of a world-saving dialogue with the hosts of a podcast called Hold My Drink (co-produced with Counterweight), hosted by Jen Richmond and David Bernstein.

"World-saving?" Really, Carlos?

The world won't get no better

If we just let it be

The world won't get no better

We got to change it

Yeah, just you and me

-Victor Carstarphen, Gene McFadden, John Whitehead, 1975

In addition to the podcast, Jen and David are also leaders of an organization called The Institute for Liberal Values (ILV). ILV arose out of the founders' concerns over what they consider to be an “illiberalism” across the United States, including what is commonly called DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) training and education, which they feel is sometimes practiced misguidedly with harmful effects.

I met Jen and David a couple of weeks ago. We had the chance to get to know each other sufficiently to agree that there might be value in trying to have a constructive conversation about our views on what DEI is and isn't, and what it should be and shouldn't be. This led to Jen and David inviting me to be a guest on their podcast and YouTube program. They came with their questions, concerns, and, most importantly, their open minds and warm hearts. I came with questions and concerns about what ILV stands for and, most importantly, a desire to share what I know to be the power of DEI to create common ground, forge common purpose, and catalyze constructive collaboration.

You can see what this led to in this recording of our conversation. Did we save the world? Well, saving the world is a complicated process. A prerequisite to getting that big job done is the willingness of people who don't necessarily see eye to eye (or who don't think they do) to engage with each other with hope, trust, empathy, compassion, candor, curiosity, humor, and a desire to keep drawing and re-drawing circles in which we all can respectfully and lovingly coexist.

Of all the positive things that happened in our conversation, perhaps the most positive was that we left it with mutual eagerness to keep talking together. Stay tuned for Part II.



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