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It’s fair to say that DEI is under attack. States continue to propose and enact laws targeting DEI training programs and impose restrictions on discussions of systemic racism and gender identity by cutting funding and slashing roles from public libraries to prestigious universities. These legislative efforts pose significant challenges to organizations striving to create inclusive workplaces and communities. 

Because without the freedom to be one’s authentic self in the workplace, an organization’s psychological safety is destroyed. 

Rallying against backward progress, Wanda Lee Florestine is a dynamic advocate whose rich life experiences and unwavering commitment to social justice have shaped her into a powerful voice for change. With a background rooted in the largely segregated communities of Detroit, Michigan, she brings a unique perspective to the conversation surrounding diversity in the workplace. 

Born during the era of the Civil Rights Act, she’s a self-proclaimed “first-generation African American” being among the first to legally experience freedoms and rights previously denied. Her personal journey mirrors the evolution of American society, from the struggles of segregation to the ongoing fight for equality and representation. 

With a passion for storytelling and a keen ability to connect with others on a “hueman” level, Wanda inspires individuals and organizations to embrace diversity, challenge unconscious bias, and foster environments where everyone feels valued and included.

Here are some of the top takeaways from the episode:

  1. DEI in the workplace is not just about policies and programs; it's about recognizing historical context that still affects us today and striving for true equality.

  2. Think on the “HUEMAN” level. If you don't have anyone in your network or family that doesn't look like you, you're limiting yourself. Engaging each other by listening and learning more openly is a powerful tool in breaking down bias.

  3. Wanda shares her transformative experience visiting museums dedicated to civil rights in Montgomery, Alabama, to illustrate the profound impact of experiential learning in shaping perceptions and fostering empathy. 

This conversation with Wanda was so insightful and wonderful - I know you’ll love it too! 


What was your biggest takeaway from this episode?


Wanda’s Website

Wanda’s Book, 50 YEARS OF ASSIMILATION: From the Midwest to the "Woke" West and All the Blackness & Whiteness In Between

Civil Rights Activist Ann Atwater, referenced in Podcast 




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Aaron Levy: Wanda. I'm so excited to have this conversation. We talked just a few weeks ago and there was a plethora of areas I wanted to dive into. I know we're not going to get to all of it today, but I'm really excited for everyone to learn about your experience and your journey and your unique perspective on the workplace and on the world.

And I guess maybe the place. I'm curious to start about because last time we talked, this came up is you recently moved from people development after a long and successful career in recruiting. And those are two very different spaces. Like what inspires that change? 

[00:00:33] Wanda Lee Florestine: First off, Aaron, thank you for having me.

And yes I did do the recent move. And mostly it's because I am community, like I am relationship. With the recruiting world, I was primarily making the connections for the perfect hire, right? Find the perfect person for this perfect role. And I would have to say goodbye. There was no relationship building in that beyond the interview process, right?

Occasional check ins for [00:01:00] career tracking for folks that I really thought were really great and wanted to keep close contact with as they evolved in their careers, but primarily no real relationship. So I have trained my degrees and organizational behavior. And I do love training. It's one of my second loves or third loves, whatever order it is, it fluctuates from time to time.

And so this is an opportunity to get back to that, to be able to put myself in a position to pour into people to share all the skills and experiences and knowledge that I've gained over the years and also to just help lift them and help them reach their career goals. So it's just something that I love doing.

And part of it is. It's probably an extension of motherhood in some ways, and now that my kids are adults, I don't have them, so I need other people. 

[00:01:52] Aaron Levy: What was it like, , we constantly work and strive to. Develop mastery and expertise and what we're good at. [00:02:00] And, in all intent and purposes, you've done that in your career.

And then you said, let me do something different. What was it like to change directions, even though they're both technically in the HR people space, they're very different. What was it like to make that pivot and what's it been like for you? 

[00:02:15] Wanda Lee Florestine: It's been a little scary. I don't ever call myself an expert in anything because I feel like I'm a life learner that I'm always learning as we go.

Because the moment you consider yourself an expert, I think you cut off the opportunity to learn more. So I did it. Basically, again, based on my innate abilities to relate to people, there was an opportunity that was there. I said, I read the job description. I'm like, that's pretty much everything I do.

Anyway. I'm just not called that in addition to recruiting and it's I'm not accountable for it, but it's. To step into the accountability for it. It was huge because people will come in with their own set of experiences and years of work and expertise. And so who am I to say [00:03:00] I can develop you further.

But I think there's always something in the exchange for everyone. So it was scary little bit, but. Not too much because of my reputation with the organization, I guess that made it a little softer landing for me. I was able to be introduced into the role and received warmly from the majority of people that I knew that I'd be interacting with on a daily basis.

So that made it a lot easier than it would have been. Had I come in off the streets to a new organization, I think having a little bit of your reputation preceding you makes it helpful. 

[00:03:36] Aaron Levy: Yeah. And that reputation, I think, is probably beyond just your work reputation. Cause you've had these two and probably more than two lives, as a mother, as a parent, as a friend, we all have multiple lives, but you've had definitely two distinct lives from a career standpoint that we could look at as an author. You wrote 50 Years of Assimilation, you write and you do workshops and you have more and more around the DEI and racial inequity and [00:04:00] racial and all of those things going on.

And you had these two like almost different streams going on. I think you've talked about this in the past, but I guess I have two questions in here and that's a bad way to be an interviewer, but it's just, there's two hanging. It's like, how can we provide a workplace where we don't have these two separate lives where we don't have this.

I'm a recruiter who does a good job here and I'm not speaking for how you showed up or didn't show up in the workplace, but I'm also, a passionate advocate for racial justice and equity and an expert in that space. How do we create a space where people don't have to switch back and forth between who they are?

And I'm not saying that you did. I'm just, it's bringing up more for me here in this idea of your journey.

[00:04:40] Wanda Lee Florestine: It's multi layered, isn't it? It's all these layers of life, right? It has to be the racial cultural component is embedded in us, right? Who we come to the plate who we are with our learned experiences with our education and with our knowledge about particular subject matter [00:05:00] and people and how they operate in the world and how they're received in the world and a grid. We like to say, bring your whole self to work. But what does that look like? That looks like not hiding out who you are wholly not necessarily sharing all your personal details of your personal life, but taking the risk of sharing your other interests.

Yes, you're hired for a role. And you're accountable for the deliverables for that role. But there's other aspects of your life that actually contribute to it. I do know old school thinking was that it was a distraction, like anything else that you were doing outside of the work, outside of living your life, or living with your family was a distraction, right?

So you would shy away from sharing with your employers that you're doing this other thing. And would put it on something like LinkedIn and everyone can see it and comment on it. And but it was embraced. I was fortunate enough to be with an employer that was not afraid of their employees having [00:06:00] other interests in the actual company, right?

As long as you maintain what your goals were, like, if you met your goals, then your life is your life there's no competition there. It's like you're a whole person, you have whole interests, you have whole experiences, you have, friends, family, organizations that you belong in, participate in, whether they agree with you or not on various aspects of life.

 You're a complex being and you shouldn't have to box in yourself, even though you do check the box on what the government says you are, you shouldn't have to box yourself into one way of living and expressing that interest at work they actually gave me the opportunity. It's been two years now, I think to do a presentation for Black History Month, which is really powerful for me to share with my whole organization, those that attended the presentation.

And purchase books for me, it's this was, it was great. Yeah. And. It's very relative. We're all trying to figure out how to get along with each other so we can stop [00:07:00] this, the segregation. And so we can stop the racism. And so we can stop the oppression. So we're all trying to figure out ways.

So any tools that we have at our disposal, I think should be utilized because it's not one mindset. It's going to fix the problem. You can't solve the problem with the same tools that was used for oppression. You have to be open to new things, new ideas, new perspectives, 

[00:07:22] Aaron Levy: new people. I'm just, I'm so glad that you have an organization that supports that , and not only supports that, like advocate for you in that.

 Which is wonderful. And yeah, like I have this conversation with leaders all the time. We never know what somebody else's situation is. We never know what somebody else's whole life is. We never know what's going through their brain. We only have a snippet of our experience with them, even if we think that's their whole story.

It's not. And so the more we learn about each other and the more we listen to each other, the more we are able to share our full selves, the more we're able to see some of myself in you or you and me and vice versa. 

[00:07:55] Wanda Lee Florestine: Yeah. I think if we get to the place where each of us [00:08:00] can't stop needing to categorize, I'm like, we haven't been chased by saber toothed tigers for eons, right?

And so that flight or fight response of unknown things, it's just overactive. It's unnecessary in today's world. Like we should allow for the person to tell us who they are rather than immediately jumping to categorize them in order to reach that level of safety. 

[00:08:27] Aaron Levy: Super interesting that you say that because. Part of it is I find myself doing this all the freaking time. In any situation, and it's not necessarily categorizing someone as black or white or Jewish or Palestinian or like you name it, or a Michigonian or Illinoisian. Yeah. Like it's, that person is a brown noser.

That person is somebody who needs all the answers before they can make a decision. It's in our subconscious to categorize and bucket things that we don't know to better understand the world. Otherwise, it's hard to move around the world. [00:09:00] It's like a great, brilliant way our brain works, but it has this like horrible side effect of unconscious bias, right?

Like we're not even talking about let's talk about Hey, everyone's assuming positive intent. We have a ton of unconscious bias of all this categorization that we do. I guess what I'm curious about in your work, , or in your experience. How do we get around that? How do we break through that?

 It's just I feel like it's everywhere. I like, I'm doing it based on the, the sign or the blinds behind you or the earrings you're wearing. I don't know, I'm doing it and I'm doing it. 

[00:09:28] Wanda Lee Florestine: We've all been doing it. We've been programming ourselves for decades, right?

And it's hard to let go of. It's almost like , how that saying goes looking at the world through rose colored glasses. It's like we almost need a pair of. Bias, reducing glasses that we can wear, 

[00:09:43] Aaron Levy: those would be big sellers on Amazon. That's the billion dollar idea for the new year.

[00:09:48] Wanda Lee Florestine: Someone is listening to probably produce that. I don't know. It's all brain science at this point. Because I believe, just like you said, it's [00:10:00] embedded, it's in our unconscious and it's a hard, it's a hard thing to deprogram and to let go of. This term is a side, it's a side note, but it was interesting and it's relative to this point, so I'm going to share it.

Please. So we have a Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue dog. So it's, I think it's mixed with Lab and some other breed, right? That we took ownership of probably a couple of years, almost two years now that we've had him. He's three years old. And his name is Clyde, and he's about 75 pounds and it's a nice tan brown color.

And last year for the first time, sometime around July, window washers came to the house where my daughter was house sitting with him. And he freaked out, and he freaked out that his ridge actually popped up and for those of you that don't know, Rhodesian Ridgebacks were lion hunters in Africa, and they have a ridge that turns [00:11:00] colors when they feel threatened.

And so his ridge popped up and my daughter didn't know what was happening because she forgot about it. We forgot that's why he's named that, right? And he freaked out because there were a bunch of men around windows, like washing the windows. So it looked like they were trying to get in.

He didn't know him. So he's barking and they came out and she filmed it and it was really cool. And so then a couple of months later, she was taking him for a walk. And there was a statue of a lion again. He started barking ferociously he didn't learn that from us. Like he hasn't been in Africa his whole life, right?

So how does he know what a lion looks like? A , right? And so his defenses came up with the creature that has in been embedded in his DNA. That is a threat. So it was just so interesting. And then that, when she shared that with me, that blew my mind because I'm like, wow, unconscious bias is deep.

[00:11:58] Aaron Levy: And we're constantly creating [00:12:00] it. I find myself creating it based on new knowledge as I, Have more data points on experiences in a podcast or a meeting I then I'm able to create different buckets for people to fit in that makes sense to me because it's my way of making sense of a situation or experience.

I know you've said in the past. That for hiring, for instance, you don't think we should be masking candidates backgrounds or pictures or names, but then we talk about this topic and it's how do we, like, how do we combat all the past experiences that I have about someone named Wanda or someone that looks like you or someone that had went to the university that you went to that I now have a bias of , how do we approach that? 

[00:12:39] Wanda Lee Florestine: I think the stripped down has a little bit of a benefit in that maybe the first round, just to get the majority of applicants that qualify in, into the thereafter, if we continually stripped down and have it be like a blind interview process we lose the opportunity to [00:13:00] retrain ourselves.

Just because you interview with people doesn't mean you're going to work with them on a daily basis. And some folks have interview teams of people from other departments just to diversify the interview process so interviewee has a better sample of who the organization is and who the people are.

And so that the interviewers. Don't lean on their perspectives only, right? So we have interview teams in order to make the process, hopefully a little more equitable and fair for everyone involved, not just the interviewer. And so I think if we don't ever. Allow ourselves to be confronted with our unconscious bias.

Then we never get trained and we never learn how to go beyond that. So maybe you can structure the questions in a way that filter out your biases so that you're not having that organic interview. It should be a planned set of questions so that everybody. Gets the same treatment in that regard and not to say that the entire interview is going to be scripted in that way [00:14:00] because you will, drift to organic components of the interview where you're talking about things that you didn't really ask for, but it just came up in the subject naturally in the conversation naturally.

you always want to go back to those questions so that you can keep it as fair as possible. So I think that. Yeah. Removing ourselves from the opportunity to train and learn is not a good thing. And it's not a good practice.

[00:14:22] Aaron Levy: I love just the core of that, right? You said allow ourselves to be confronted with our biases and it's almost like skipping out on growth and learning by saying, you know what, let's eliminate any opportunity for bias.

And what you're saying is let's live with bias and try to get better from it by learning. The curiosity I have is how do we get better? , what are things that you've put into practice or that you've trained or learned yourself to know when those biases are there to confront them or to be productive around them?

If I'm a people officer listening and saying yeah, okay, great. That [00:15:00] sounds great. But like, how do you act, how do we actually do that? How do we live with and confront our biases? And how do we help our teams to do that? 

[00:15:07] Wanda Lee Florestine: There's a myriad of ways. Cause it's, there's no two people the same and there's no two processes that's going to flow the exact same way.

 And we're fallible, right? It's never going to be a perfect process for anybody anywhere on the planet. I guess we, and just basically accepting that 1st is the 1st step, I would say. And the 2nd, 1, again, to put those structures in place to support the outcomes that you want, as opposed to letting it just free flow.

[00:15:35] Wanda Lee Florestine: And then I would say, yeah. Constant review. Everything evolves. You can't assume that what worked for the team two years ago is going to work for the team this year. We continually learn, as you say, you're always confronted with new things and challenges. And so you're always evolving, hopefully.

And so you have to constantly put some feedback loops in an order for you to re, [00:16:00] evaluate. Yourselves and see how you're doing. And sometimes that requires outside folks. We're at a point in society. Now we can actually have AI do all the interviewing, but even that's has its unconscious bias in the actual programming, depending on who the programmers were of that particular piece of the platform. 

It's just a constant review and the constant feedback and not being afraid to ask yourselves the hard questions. Is this not about your comfort level? It's about the expansion and the growth of the organization and. Creating a space where people actually want to come to work and where people can thrive and prosper .

So you gotta continually put structures in place to support yourself and the teams, to evolve and not to get stuck in a certain way of doing things. 

[00:16:48] Aaron Levy: I'm really liking this process. One, accept that we're fallible. That's like a, just a life principle. It's going to happen. We're going to fuck up.

I'm going to do it a bunch. Pardon of my language; accept that we're fallible; [00:17:00] put structures in place to create consistency in the process, which is nuanced, but really important so that you have some of that consistency, which can help support, as you said, the bias that will come through to limit what I'm hearing is that limit some of the bias that'll come through.

It's not going to prevent it, but it'll limit some of it. And then reevaluate with feedback loops introduced. Can you share an example of. A time where that process came to fruition for you.

[00:17:26] Wanda Lee Florestine: We've been doing the work for quite a while. 

[00:17:29] Aaron Levy: And it could be in something outside of work too. Just curious to hear how it comes to life. 

[00:17:35] Wanda Lee Florestine: I don't know if this is a good answer but when I was it 2019 grid received the grant in order to take members of our team to Montgomery, Alabama and Montgomery and Birmingham and all the spaces are like the ground zero for civil rights in the U. S. And we were going to [00:18:00] Bryan Stevenson's organization the EJI, Equal Justice Initiative.

He created two museums down in Montgomery. One is called the Legacy Museum, and the other one is called the National Center for Peace and Justice. And the Legacy Museum's dedication is for the observation that slavery never ended, if the pipeline to prison system is still active and it is evolved for lack of a better word form of slavery.

And then the National Peace and Justice Center or Memorial, if I'm saying the name right , is is dedicated to honor the folks that were hung throughout the South post antebellum to give them names and presence that they existed on the earth, and also to bring our awareness to how much of it happened.

And, , I call myself sometimes a blackety black person because I grew up in Detroit, Michigan in the 60s and 70s, the city was primarily African American for[00:19:00] , a large portion of my time there. I would say somewhere between 70 and 80 percent African American. I had a big family of eight siblings, six brothers and two sisters, and my whole neighborhood was African American with few others. And my elementary school as well as my high schools were pretty much majority African American. So I tease, folks when I'm sharing who I am like, yeah, I'm one of the blackliest black people that I know based on that. And I, and we grew up with black history being a thing.

in the schools almost weekly. It wasn't a month. We had it yearly and our teachers, the majority of our teachers were African American, et cetera, et cetera. So I thought I knew everything to say, I thought I knew everything and going to these two museums just blew everything I thought I knew out of the water.

They Are so powerful that I wish all of America could go, actually the world and visit it because I truly believe that you cannot be the same human. Walking [00:20:00] in that you are leaving if you experience those two museums because it sheds so much light on how all of this , unfolded over time and how we treat each other as humans and I think that it would cut the conversation so much shorter.

We'd be at a better place if more people understood the true history. I know that a lot of people that have also visited Germany, they compared with what Germany has done with the Holocaust. And so I've not been to Germany myself, so I can't compare it personally, but from the experience that they shared with me, it sounds like a similar thing and much, much more impactful because it's here at home.

It's like what happened here in the U. S. 

[00:20:49] Aaron Levy: What I'm taking from this story is, from a business standpoint, but also from a human standpoint is the importance of learning about people or systems or processes that [00:21:00] you don't know.

If you're challenged with something, learn about something that you don't know. Get curious about it versus thinking that you know it. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yeah. And in your situation, even ones that you think, that might be the biggest opportunity to say, I don't know. What if I don't know?

[00:21:15] Wanda Lee Florestine: Cause you heard about the things, but you didn't know about the things, if that makes any sense, like you heard about it and then knowing changes you . thinking about it and talking about it. I can get emotional. I have to bring myself in because I feel you could still feel the effects that had it is that powerful.

I would highly recommend it and what ended up happening with all of us going it was twenty, twenty-two of us went from different departments and different levels of experience and work and also at different ranks within the organization. And I think that catapulted so much. Of a deeper dive into our diversity, equity, inclusion work that it it's, I'm not going to say a second nature because, corporations always change [00:22:00] staff changes.

People come back in and you have to restart the needle for some, but it was huge. It was a huge benefit to the organization to get that level of. Experience history and learning in such a short period of time, but with the biggest impact that any other program, afterwards That was huge. And we have another group going again this spring. So we're excited about that because it's the first time. First time since COVID that we're able to go back. So 

[00:22:35] Aaron Levy: yeah, that story. And, we were talking briefly earlier today about the 60 years since the civil rights act and Martin Luther King day 

and it reminds me and I might be butchering this story. So if you know it better please help. But I heard it on a podcast and it just is ingrained in my brain of how we as humans can start to uncover our biases and be better. And it was about a civil rights activist in the sixties[00:23:00] was on the school board planning committee with the head of the KKK and in their region.

And they both were in this, like trying to plan for their school over the course of a week, what was going to happen and how they were going to run stuff. And I think her, let me, her name was Xernona Clayton. For those of you who are interested looking it up, I believe that's her name. (Note from Editor: The correct name of the Civil Rights Activist is Ann Atwater.)  

And what came to be was after a week of deliberation the head of the KKK had to denounce his role in the KKK and said, I just can't. Be a part of this organization anymore. I don't believe these things anymore after working with and let me pronounce her name, hopefully correctly, Xernonia and when I looked into it and they dug into it deeper in the podcast, it was talking about how she didn't say, this is the benefits of civil rights. This is what it means to be a black person. This is what it means to be formerly enslaved in America. No, no. No. She just listened to him.

She just listened to him and he was able to understand and see that she was a human [00:24:00] being too. And we're all human beings, at the core, we're all very similar. Yeah. And so when you. When you talk about this, it just, it brings that up to just the importance of listening and learning to each other.

[00:24:11] Wanda Lee Florestine: Listening and learning but without an agenda to just the agenda is to learn to like, understand more, right? Not to necessarily pass a law, not to stop doing a certain action, not to anything. Let's go in open. Experience what you experience and take away what you take away I just feel like for those two museums they're treasures for this country.

And if we can just get more people down here, I feel like that's going to be a quick fix for a lot of. Folk I did not know about the Xernona Clayton story. I hadn't heard that before.

[00:24:43] Aaron Levy: Yeah. I might have the name wrong. So I apologize if I have it wrong, but you could probably Google civil rights activists and KKK and find the story.

And we'll add it to the show notes as well. But yeah, you use this word in some of your writing hueman. Can you tell us about the meaning [00:25:00] of that or what it means to you?

[00:25:03] Wanda Lee Florestine: So I'm a punster, right? I love a good pun. And I love a good acronym because I'm an author. I like titles. And so I do, I spend a lot of my time playing with word games and playing on words.

I don't even remember how it came up. I feel like I was in a speech training or something when I first said it. And I remember the instructor saying, you need to trademark that because I changed the spelling for humanity and human to H U E M A N and H U E M A N I T Y. And when I physically did that and saw it, it opened up the world to me.

It was just like, whoa, this is the coolest pun ever, right? I, did everything short of writing Webster saying, Hey, we need to add this, change the spelling for humanity because it's [00:26:00] hue. We're all different colors, right? So it's let's. Make it more accessible and inclusive to everybody by, cause, in all the medical books, the humans are, that same color that the first emojis were in the little golden peachy, band aid tone.

[00:26:17] Aaron Levy: Yeah. How long did it take to get skin color band aids? Exactly. I just, I feel like I only started really seeing him in Target two years ago. Like, how does that? 

[00:26:26] Wanda Lee Florestine: I remember a couple of years ago, I forget his name, he was a Nigerian medical student that did an illustration of the fetus, and the woman was a black baby, and that blew my mind, I was like, whoa, when you see those things and it rocks your world, it's of course, it's the first humans were found in Africa, so yes that's what should be represented or included in those medical journals, and it's just, that's what We're a majority people of color planet

and it's [00:27:00] just time to recognize that and stop pretending otherwise. And I'll just leave it there. 

[00:27:06] Aaron Levy: I'm taking so much richness from this conversation. I think the things I'm feeling the most coming out of this are this idea of like openness, let's be open to learning, like the concepts of listening to learn, you didn't say it, but Letting go of judgment is what I felt in this conversation.

It's Hey, let me learn something. Let's not judge that we did this one where it's just, let's learn and let's explore and let's accept that we're going to get stuff wrong. And in doing that, we're going to get better. I'm just feeling a sense of potential in this conversation through the language that you've been using and the tone and the openness and willingness to learn and encouragement.

I think that is a great, I'm guessing you probably bring that to work every single day because you clearly brought that to our conversations together is the importance of doing that, of listening, of learning, of asking, of exploring, of challenging.[00:28:00] 

[00:28:00] Wanda Lee Florestine: The world is rich, right? We have no problem with it when it comes to food and flowers and decoration and furniture and all this.

And why is there this stopgap with humanity? It's like, why must we continue this for yet another century to be divisive based on exterior perceptions.

[00:28:20] Aaron Levy: So I have a challenge for those of you who are listening to explore your biases by finding someone or something that you're not quite sure of, you're uncertain about.

And. Asking some questions and learning, asking a what or a how question, not a why question, but a, what or how, and it keep it open ended and explore and learn something about somebody else. Cause I, for me, that's one of the things I'm taking away from this is that we're all different and yet there's a lot to learn about each other and it brings connection.

[00:28:52] Wanda Lee Florestine: Yeah, on that human to human level, and I will say it again, H U E M A N level. I think it's important that if [00:29:00] you don't have anyone. In your network or family that doesn't look like you, you're limiting yourselves, right? You're cheating yourselves. And until that happens until we start engaging each other more openly there's never going to be an emotional connection.

And so there will always be the other. So it was really an inside job first before you even come out the house and go to work. If we don't have an emotional connection to what we're calling the other, then they're always going to be the other, always, it's just going to be something you read about or you saw, you heard about, or you passed by.

It's it's never going to be this person that you could care deeply for, or that could enhance your life Exponentially. Who knows? 

[00:29:46] Aaron Levy: Yeah. I love this idea that the other is broken down when there's an emotional connection. Go connect with somebody else.

Ah, I love it. This has been a wonderful conversation really just opening for me. So [00:30:00] I'm grateful for your time and your energy. And I'm excited that we got to do this to kick off the new year. 

[00:30:05] Wanda Lee Florestine: Yes. And this year you mentioned it early, so I'm gonna do some shameless self promotion if that's okay.

You guys should read my book. You would love it. It is called 50 years of Assimilation. From the Midwest to the woke West and all the blackness and whiteness in between and this book is my dream report to Dr. King. We hear other folks that come over from other countries when they have their children here and they're called themselves first generation.

I'm actually first generation free African American, right? So I was born during the civil rights act, right? Civil rights act of 60 years old this year in June, and I was born one year before. So I grew up with the notion of desegregation, right? And so I'm, I call myself first generation African American really, because my [00:31:00] mom and my grandparents didn't have the freedoms that I. Was legally supposed to have, right? 

So we have our own set of experience in this country as a first generation group of people. Those of us that were born during that era. This book is my dream report sharing my experiences moving from a pretty much Black and white world of Detroit, Michigan to the multicultural Bay Area, San Francisco region.

So, It is my dream report. I did a decade by decade sharing the experiences with Dr King of how his dream played out in my life. It is A series of letters that I write to him in the very last section. I write a series of letters to everybody. I think it's something that you will find very interesting, something that you can see yourselves in and something that you can share with others.

And I hope that it helps move the needle on all of our collective unconscious biases and allow us to be. More in humanity, HUEmanity, and [00:32:00] as opposed to separate. 

[00:32:01] Aaron Levy: I thank you for sharing that. I'm glad we will be putting the link to it in the show notes. So link to being able to buy the book encourage you to do so to take a read and take a listen and learn learn a little something new.

Cause that's what we're learning is the key to breaking down some of our biases. So grateful to have you on. So grateful that you're out there sharing. Not just in your work, but you're sharing it out in the world that you're doing the work in the community around this topic. We need more and more of this continually, and we need people to keep their ears open and to open their mouths, to ask questions, not tell things.

So thank you so much. 

[00:32:34] Wanda Lee Florestine: Yes. Thank you, Aaron. Really appreciate the opportunity. 


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