Clarity First Newsletter,
June 12, 2020

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”   – Lao Tzu

Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

Here’s some of the good news I found this week.  Happy Friday.


Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha Philosophy

“Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) inspired the world when he ended over 200 years of British occupation without violence. His nonviolent movement was called satyagraha, from the Sanskrit words satya (truth) and graha (holding firmly to).

“Sat, meaning being, suggests actions based on one’s true self: uninhibited to love fully and care deeply for others. The word sattva in Ayurveda comes from the root word sat and employs diet, behavioral, and lifestyle modifications to live in, as Gandhi put it, satyagraha.

Gandhi describes satyagraha this way: “Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement ‘satyagraha,’ that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase ‘passive resistance.’”

“In his book Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha Movements, David Traboulay writes, ‘Gandhi found the principal source of his idea of nonviolence in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain teaching of Ahimsa, and also in Christianity, especially in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Gandhi’s definition of nonviolence signified not only not harming others physically, but also not violating their essence and respecting the truth in them. Nonviolence also embraced the larger notion of love and compassion. As an instrument in political struggles, Satyagraha meant the readiness to suffer injury, but not to inflict injury.’”

Article: Gandhi’s 13 Rules for Nonviolent Protest.

Community, Learning

Are we really going to wake up or just play a game of waking up?

“Buddhist practice is not meant to be comfortable, says Soto Zen Buddhist priest Tenku Ruff. We have to keep pushing our edges — and that includes waking up to the reality of deeply rooted white superiority.”

Article: No One Wakes Up Until We All Wake Up

Activism, Storytelling, Film

We all know the story of Rosa Parks’ fateful bus journey—but there is much more to her story at large.

“‘Today we find ourselves within challenging societal circumstances similar to the ones experienced by Rosa Parks, someone whose work came at an enormous risk—and a personal price,’ Eido Creative Director Joash Berkeley writes in an email. ‘Throughout her life, Rosa Parks repeatedly challenged racial violence and the prejudiced systems protecting its perpetrators. We animated this film to tell her story.’

“The Huntington Beach, CA–based Eido—’a motion graphics studio focused on crafting thoughtful people and work, in that order’—brought the inspiring film to life for TED-Ed.

Article: The Hidden Life of Rosa Parks, Animated and Illustrated

Community, Civics, Learning

“Defunding police” means refunding services that support the disenfranchised, rather than criminalizing them.

A Camden County officer grills hot dogs for one of the department’s pop-up neighborhood parties.

As a brand and messaging guy, I’m not sure that using language like “defunding the police” is an effective communications strategy. Especially since Republicans, starting with Richard Nixon, have used fear to justify that we need military-style police to defend us from a certain “dark menace”.

Personally, I like the concept of funding a Peace Force. And if we want to learn how to do it, Camden, NJ already has.

“The city dissolved its police department in 2012 and replaced it with an entirely new one after corruption rendered the existing agency unfixable.

“Before its police reforms, Camden was routinely named one of the most violent cities in the US.

“Now, seven years after the old department was booted (though around 100 officers were rehired), the city’s crime has dropped by close to half. Officers host outdoor parties for residents and knock on doors to introduce themselves. It’s a radically different Camden than it was even a decade ago. Here’s how they did it.”

Article: This City Disbanded its Police Department 7 years ago. Here’s What Happened Next

Branding, Social Messaging 

Social justice issues impact your customers, your team members, and your business. Silence about these issues does more harm than good. Here’s how to speak up.

“Business is about belonging. And for your customers to feel like they belong with you, you have to demonstrate that you see them, you value them, and you care about the fundamental issues that concern them, especially when they are being treated unjustly.”

Article: Your Brand Shouldn’t Stay Silent About the Killing of George Floyd

Community, Civics, Learning

“We need to be asking why: Why are people that poor, why are people that broke, why are people that food insecure, that clothing insecure, that their only shot is to step though a broken glass window to get what they need?”.

If you’ve been wondering from the comfort of your couch why some distort the potential of a purely non-violent protest, Kimberly Jones has a pretty simple answer: “Because they are so hopeless that getting that necklace, getting that TV, getting that bed, getting that phone, they see looting as their only opportunity to get it.”

She observes that there are three types of people on the streets right now. “The protesters are there because they actually care about what is happening in the community, and they want to raise their voices in protest. You have the rioters who are angry, who are anarchists, who really want to fuck shit up. And then you have the looters.

“And the looters are almost exclusively there to do just that, to loot. Now, people are like, what did you gain, what did you get from looting? I think as long as we are focusing on the what, we are not focusing on the why, and that’s my issue with that. As long as we’re focusing on what they’re doing, we’re not focusing on why they’re doing it. And some people are like ‘well, those are not people who are legitimately angry about something, they are just people who want to get stuff.’

“OK, let’s go with that. Let’s say that’s what it is. Let’s ask why in this country the financial gap between poor blacks and the rest of the world is at such a distance that people feel that their only hope and only opportunity to get some of the things that we flaunt and flash at them all the time is to walk through a broken glass window and get it.?”

Video: How Can We Win

Community, Learning

An accidental social experiment

Noam Shuster-Eliassi

The Dan Jerusalem is a luxury hotel and spa in an upper-crust neighborhood of a biblical city. But in March of this year, the Israeli military declared it a place to quarantine people who might be contagious of COVED-19.

From mid-March through early May, the Dan Jerusalem hosted about 180 patients, all forced to live together until they were no longer infectious. They could only leave after they tested negative twice.

The guests came from many walks of life — Israeli Jews, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, religious, secular — and they all had a blast.

Article: ‘Everybody’s Getting Along Here’: How ‘Hotel Corona’ United Israelis And Palestinians

Inclusion, Learning

Bias is devilishly hard to eliminate. But it is not as difficult to interrupt.

“Companies spend millions on anti-bias training each year. The goal is to create workforces that are more inclusive, and thereby more innovative and more effective. Studies show that well-managed diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones and are more committed, have higher collective intelligence, and are better at making decisions and solving problems. But research also shows that bias prevention programs rarely deliver. And some companies don’t invest in them at all. So how can you, as an individual leader, make sure your team is including and making the most of diverse voices? Can one person fix what an entire organization can’t?

“Although bias itself is devilishly hard to eliminate, it is not as difficult to interrupt. In the decades we’ve spent researching and advising people on how to build and manage diverse work groups, we’ve identified ways that managers can counter bias without spending a lot of time—or political capital.”

Article: How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams


Erykah Badu has released a new studio concert. Say no more.

Video: Erykah Badu Quarantine Concert Freestyle

Image of the Week

The image of the week was shot by Jorn Tomter. It is of a model showing the work of Helpful Engineering, a global volunteer organization of more than 3,400 people, including engineers, medics and scientists, who have come together to support the world in coping with the crisis of Covid-19. Their Hackney Hub pulled together locals from various backgrounds to produce and deliver face shields.

This is just one image from a beautiful photo essay complied by The Guardian about how industries and factories adapted to the Covid-19 crisis.

The global luxury conglomerate LVMH created hydroalcoholic gel for hand sanitiser in the facilities normally used to make cosmetics for Dior and Givenchy.

Article: Manufacturing in the Pandemic – in Pictures

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.

If you get value from Clarity First, please pass it on.

Not a subscriber? Sign up here.You can also read Clarity-First on the web.

Leave a Comment