Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Beyond FINESSE: iCelebrateDiversity

Tracy Jackson, another mom with children of mixed-race heritage, not only talks about diversity, she acts on it. Her site offers an impressive collection of resources that promote understanding and acceptance of racial and cultural differences:

Shop: Decor, jewelry, apparel, stationery, dolls, music, even diversity jelly beans! Since the colors and flavors of these jelly beans don't coincide, they prompt discussions of what can happen when people judge based on appearances.

Educate: Resources for educators of multicultural issues. Includes links to magazines on diversity.

Community: Lists of on-line and in-person support groups covering international and transracial adoption as well as biracial, interracial, and multicultural issues and diverse abilities.

Inspire: Features "Action Takers": people, schools, and organizations that promote tolerance and celebrate diversity. Also includes a list of Diversity Quotes. My favorite is Mahatma Gandhi's "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Tracy Jackson is doing just that.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Beyond FEATURES: The Colorblind Society

"Beyond FEATURES" posts will highlight media stories on tolerance initiatives and/or a disturbing lack of tolerance in our world. I will continue to turn to sites like The Colorblind Society blog for overviews of recent media accounts on the latter. The insightful list of recommended reads alone warrants multiple trips to this comprehensive resource.

News reports of racist attacks continue to be published and broadcast and yes, some are violent and difficult to digest. But the reality remains that racism remains, 40 years after the Civil Rights Movement. This is an issue I discuss with book clubs here in Denver; some people have witnessed or suffered from prejudice and understand the need for broad discussions of these touchy issues; others want to believe racism is a thing of the past. It's not. Just take a look.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Beyond FUN: Gumbo Kids

Check out Gumbo Kids for products that help teach children about diversity. According to their site, Gumbo Kids Company was created by stay-at-home mom Monica Morgan-Simmons in an attempt to address a painful yet inspiring experience suffered by her three-year-old daughter Journey. Having recently moved from a very diverse neighborhood to the suburbs, Journey was told by a young classmate that she wouldn’t play with her because of her “brown skin.” Unsuccessful in her search for products that address diversity issues creatively and realistically, Monica decided to produce the very products she could not find on the market. “I was surprised by the lack of multicultural educational products out there that addressed the needs of parents...who try to raise...children with open minds and self-confidence,” she said.

For more information (and a photo of Monica with her daughter!), refer to this article from Colorado Parent magazine. Gumbo Kids is based in a suburb south of Denver, in the same neck of the woods as yours truly. We're busy out here in the 'burbs!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


"MAVIN Foundation is committed to creating a society that recognizes the complexity of race, racism and identity. We support the right to self-identify, and think it's important for mixed heritage and transracially adopted people to strengthen their involvement in existing ethnic and affinity communities."

So reads a segment of the mission statement from, a terrific first stop for anyone interested in interracial resources. The word "mavin" -- translated as "one who understands" -- effectively describes MAVIN founder Matt Kelley. As a freshman at Wesleyan in 1998, Matt Kelley published the debut issues of MAVIN magazine; MAVIN became a nonprofit Foundation in 2000. In addition to its magazine, MAVIN also publishes a book for parents of children of mixed-race heritage, hosts college interns, and promotes various campus and community programs designed to increase awareness of "America's mixed-race baby boom." According to MAVIN, in cities like Seattle, Sacramento, and San Antonio, one out of every six babies born is multiracial.

Look for more profiles of people like Matt Kelley and organizations like MAVIN in additional "Beyond THE FUTURE" posts. They'll direct you to a variety of inspiring pioneers devoted to a more tolerant tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What's the Fuss

Welcome to BEYOND Understanding. As you can see by my (lengthy!) profile, I'm a novice at this and I'm undertaking a significant project with this blog. Progress will be slow but hopefully steady. My goal is to compile a comprehensive list of resources (i.e., people, organizations, web sites, forums, books, products, even recipes) that cross cultural boundaries and promote understanding and tolerance. Please feel free to post any suggestions. I'll be happy to check them out while I plow through my own (again, lengthy!) list of favorites. Ciao for now...and wish me luck!

Monday, August 22, 2005

First day on the job