Diversity in Money – Blog 4: Honoring Women and People with Disabilities

About two years ago, I introduced myself as a numismatist (collector of money) and published three blogs that intersected my hobby with my profession as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant.

In June, 2020 – “Black Lives Matter and the $20 Bill – an Awful American Travesty,” I recounted the very sad story of how the approved plans to place African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on our $20 bill got derailed.

In July, 2020, I followed with – “A Black Lives Matter and an American Coinage Travesty – blog 2,” I recount the sad story of a Ku Klux Klan-inspired coin.

Then in December, 2020 – I connect our nation’s monetary currency to diversity issues: in “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” I recount how Republicans during the Great Depression attempted to censure this song.

Now I am pleased to share two areas of diversity highlighted in coinage and paper money.

The first is the next set of quarters now being issued in the USA celebrating women. For the past few decades, the United States Mint has issued 5 quarters a year with different reverse sides. For 11 years it was general facts about the 50 states and territories, and then after that, 11 years of Nationals Parks and Monuments. Now in 2022 a new cycle of 20 quarters has begun – celebrating diverse famous women of the USA. This year’s five are:

• Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
• Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space
• Wilma Mankiller – first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
• Nina Otero-Warren – a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
• Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood

I already have my first two that are already out. With only men gracing our major coinage and paper money, it is about time to include women on our circulating money.

Second is a cool article in the May, 2022 issue of the Numismatist Magazine titled “Deaf Numismatics” by Kenneth S. Rothschild. The byline of the article is “Members of the deaf community have achieved success in many fields, as currency worldwide attests.”

Too often, people with disabilities have not been fully included in diversity discussions and recognized for overcoming their challenges to achieve great things. Deaf people (and their supportive allies) on worldwide money have included:

Cecilia Grierson, the first woman doctor in Argentina and pioneer for the education of the blind and deaf on their 5,000 peso note.

• Australia’s great story writer Henry Lawson on their first $10 bill
• Famous blind and deaf American Helen Keller on the American 2003 state quarter series
• Blind artist Pinturicchio, who lived in Italy over 600 years ago, on the San Marino two euro coin
• Denmark’s Alexandra, wife of England’s King Edward VII became deaf in later years and is honored on Papau New Guinea’s 100-kina gold coin
• When North Carolina printed its own money during the American Civil War, it was printed at the North Carolina School for the Deaf, and the attribution is included on some the bills.

This comprehensive article includes many more, and I do hope The Numismatist follows up with some additional articles on other segments of the people with disabilities community.

The Surge in Corporate Diversity Initiatives – Real and Longstanding, or a “Flash in the Pan?”

Is this really the origin of “Flash in the Pan?” Check down at the end of the blog.

Check at the bottom of this blog for the meaning and derivation of “flash in the pan”

It’s now been about a year since the COVID pandemic started and nine months since George Floyd’s death. Now let’s look back and look ahead.

In late April of 2020, when we entered into the second month of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I wrote a blog asking “Will corporate diversity initiatives go down the tubes during and after the pandemic?” I shared the fear that diversity initiatives would be set back decades as every diversity training session I was scheduled to lead and all my diversity consulting gigs got cancelled. I even had one client cancel a series that was already scheduled be done remotely via the web.

I also shared the concern that the stoppage may not be temporary, as when things started picking up again and budgets needed to be cut, that diversity, equity and inclusion work would be one of the first items trimmed or eliminated. I was basically resigned to it being a very poor year business wise.

George Floyd’s killing led to worldwide “Black Lives Matter” rallies including this one in Brussels.

And then George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was chocked to death by police in Minneapolis. As the same time, other murders of black and brown people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor came into public view, and since that time, additional unjustified killings of people of color have come to light. This led to a quick renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement, and protests in dozens of cities across the country and even across the world.

Then all of a sudden, the diversity topic that had been shoved under the carpet was now out again in full force, with most corporations and non-profits knowing that they had to take a stand. And the stand had to go beyond just making some kind of nice public statement, but truly addressing issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and more impacting organizations. Corporate leaders once again began to understand the compelling business rationale for a well-funded diversity strategy leading to impactful action. And business-wise, I have been busier than ever!

It is both sad and great that these awful events across our country lit a fire under organizational leaders. But now the main questions are:
• Will these efforts lead to real systemic change with metrics and measurements showing that real progress is being made?
• Will these efforts now be ongoing, or will things slowly simmer down and die, or be cut the next time an organization has a little financial blip and needs to cut something to increase profit?

Hopefully, the answer is that diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will now be long-term and driving real systemic change in businesses and non-profits, and hopefully having lasting positive impact on society as whole.

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“Flash in the Pan” means a sudden spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing.  The origin? Flintlock muskets used to have small pans to hold charges of gunpowder. An attempt to fire the musket in which the gunpowder flared up without the bullet being fired was ‘a flash in the pan‘. The term has been used since the late 17th century.

Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBTQ+ diversity strategy and training, Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity strategy consulting or training for your organization to help assure your diversity efforts are not a “flash in the pan,” or pass my name onto your HR department. [email protected]