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Entries Tagged as 'Diversity and Civil Rights'

Helping Hands

Helping_HandsThere is an outstanding article in the PTO magazine, January 2017.   Article author Debbie Koenig says, “Working together on a community project is a surefire way to create a sense of togetherness within your school.”

I speak at schools throughout the country promoting understanding, diversity and friendship, I believe when students of all ages are involved in a community project, they are learning communication skills, team work, and they come to understand , respect and support everyone involved.

Debbie also says “it is best to look for a project that will allow students to learn a new skill or learn more about their community.”

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to an Optimist International Youth Conference.
Each individual club shared their projects they were involved in that were geared to improve their community. It didn’t matter where they lived, or their social and economic status, but what did matter was that each club was proud what they accomplished as a team and what they learned.

What I noticed that the members of all the clubs had a strong bond and close friendships. I observed students interacting and supporting each other. It didn’t matter if they were students with special needs or part of the National Honor’s Society, what did matter was how happy they were to have worked together to help with a beautification project, support of an outside charity events or help a local family in financial need.

If you are looking to improve your student interaction and promote understanding, diversity and friendship then I suggest a yearly helping hands school wide community project.

Diversity Awareness Month

April is Diversity Awareness Month, a celebration of our different races and cultures that make up the United States of America.

Many schools, colleges and organizations are planning  events to promote understanding and respect of all races and cultures. As a bully prevention specialist, I see the value of diversity awareness. The more we understand, the more we are tolerant of each other.

February is Black History Month and April is Diversity Awareness Month. Both inspire us to want to learn about one another.  Desmond Tutu once said: “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”  The more we learn about each others cultures and beliefs the less likely we will believer our underlying assumptons, prejudice and mis-information about our neighbers.

I was speaking at a high school not too ong ago, when I arrived I was trying to locate the school office to sign in. I approached three girls in the hallway to ask for directions. They took one look at my right arm and screamed.  (I have a birth defect, a short right hand with only two fingers.) After I finished my program on diversity, understanding and tolerance, all three girls came up to me with tears in their eyes apologizing for what they did.  This is a perfect example of why it is important to offer up diversity awareness; once these girls learned who I was, they were able to understand and respect me as a person.

Multiracial Hands Around the Earth Globe

Multiracial Hands Around the Earth Globe


“Respect is a critical element in all healthy relationships. When students respect others, they treat people with consideration and courtesy and do not violate them physically or verbally.” Wise Sklls Resource

If we want to put an end to the  conflicts and bullying in our schools and in our workplaces, everyone must be committed to creating and implementing an ongoing  diverse and all inclusive environment.  When our school administrators, business leaders and parents at home climb on board with an on going message of understanding and respect will our diversity peacefully thrive.

Diverstiy Awareness Month and Black History Month both are heritage celebrations and are vitally important reminders that our learning is continuous and involves a variety of races and cultures with experiences, identities and characteristics that our the foundation of the United States of America.

 “America is not like a blanket… America is more like a quilt with many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven together and held together by a common thread.”  Jesse Jackson


If we focus on our diversity for more than two months out of the year we will continuously refresh our commitment to bully prevention, equality and social justice.

Copyright Richard Paul 2015


No Room For Hate


“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

I am on my way to a school in Pennsylvania and they are kicking off their “No Place for Hate” program at their school.

Since 2001 many schools have implemented this policy in their school.  It is a daily message that every student needs to understand.

The more we hate the more we hurt feelings and could be bullying others.

The more we hate the less likely we will make new friends.

“True confidence leaves no room for jealousy. When you know you are great, you have no need to hate.”

Nicki Minaj

Most of our disrespectful or hateful thoughts and words towards others come from our lack and understanding or confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

We can’t be someone else but we can be ourselves.  The more we work to better ourselves, love ourselves and recognize our greatness, the better our life will be.


Nelson mandela

Be so busy loving your life, loving your family, loving your friends, loving your neighbors, loving your dogs, loving your teachers, loving your world that you have no time to Hate.

Copyright Richard Paul 2015


Thank You Dr. King!

When I present my diversity program at schools I remind the students how thankful I am for what Dr. Martin Luther King did for me too. Being a person born with a birth defect in 1957 was much better than let’s say being born in the 1920’s. Back then people like me would have never had any opportunities I have had in my life.



There were many times when I had my share of people with their own lack of knowledge assume things about me that weren’t true. My shop teachers in junior high school and high school for example, wouldn’t let me use the table saws because they thought it would be too dangerous for me, and assumed I couldn’t hold the wood in place with my shorter right hand. A driver’s education instructor that said I couldn’t drive a car because my right arm was too short for the shifter.  I also remember trying to get a shoe salesman job in the early 70’s only to be rejected several times.  Here I was demonstrating that I was a go getter, that I had the drive to be that store’s best salesmen, but store manager only offered me a stock boy job, even though the sign in the window clearly said they were only looking for a shoe sales positon.

Thanks to Dr. King he not only helped men and women of color but he also helped people like me too.

I now have all the opportunities and freedoms as anyone else with regular arms and ten fingers.

Robinson Photo shoot 2008 230

As I explain during my middle school and elementary school diversity assembly programs, there are still a few people out there who don’t know me that may still be making some assumptions about what I can or can’t do. Thanks to the civil rights movement, the civil rights amendment and diversity training in schools, students and adults are less likely to make judgment. Thank you Dr. King!