Make Way For A New Diversity Training Book

Open My Eyes Open My Soul: Celebrating Our Common Humanity, is a special collection of poetry and stories, with contributions from people of all walks of life. The book includes entries from celebrities such as Maya Angelou, Margaret Cho, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and others, along with a diverse group of contributors.

I am very proud and humbled to have been a part of the creation of this wonderful anthology, along with my co-creator, Yolanda King, who is the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King, who graciously wrote our books foreword.

It excites me beyond words to see this book being used in ways we didn't even perceive, during itsí creation. Since the book was published, in December 2003 by McGraw-Hill, we have received much feedback on the many ways they are using our book, as a teaching tool.

Diversity trainers, in the areas of Human Resource, jumped at the chance to purchase many copies of the book and start using it as diversity training material for their organizations.

Roger Rosas wrote us this message: " I just finished reading your book "Open My Eyes, Open My Soul" and I would like to tell you how magnificent your book is. I am a Diversity Project Manager for Liberty Mutual and your book has make me see Diversity in a total different prospective. I am also a member of the Houston Human Resources Association and member of the Diversity Committee. I am plan to give your book as a gift to each member of the Committee. I know that they all will enjoy it as much as I do."

In addition to the workplace, people are using our book in churches and many classrooms nationwide.

Shanedria Ridley, M. Ed wrote us this note "As a national educational consultant (and former schoolteacher) who is frequently called upon to devise solutions to instructional challenges, I am constantly seeking materials and sources that can positively impact our great and troubled generation. Illiteracy and intolerance continue to gnaw away the foundation of our educational institutions, the training grounds for our future leaders. Your book serves as an antidote to both of these societal ills."

This response has prompted us on a journey to create a study guide and online courses for diversity training as well as a curriculum for educators, in the classroom.

Both Yolanda King and I have been able to creatively build keynote presentations, on the topic of diversity, pulling from just a few entries in our book each. Yolanda pulls from her skill of an actor and dramatizes the readings of Muhammad Ali, and Stevie Wonder. She also turned one popular poem "Agape" by Jimmi Ware, into a rap song.

I use humor from my own diverse cultural background and I created a silent film from one of the stories "Danny", who was a foster child that was loved by and then taken away from his best-friend, Abby Warmuth.

We have happily found the possibilities to this book.... endless.

I even used the book to conduct a four hour employee diversity training, for a Fortune 500 company's diversity council, on communication skills, pulling heavily from an entry by Lynise Harris titled appropriately "The Perfect Lesson".

I was also able to engage the audience by soliciting volunteers to act out some of the other readings in the book. I feel the bonds we formed that day, learning together as a team, will last us a life time.

The messages in our book touch people on what I call a heart level. When the emotions are stirred and new perspectives are shared, people tend to sit back and reflect on the message. They are not being preached to, but enlightened to a new way of thinking. Then they can do their own self-examination of their soul and find areas where they can make positive and proactive changes. Often times the stories resonate with the reader because they have had similar situations occur in their life.

Our approach is different than preaching or mandating new regulations. Not that there isn't a place for those tactics, but using this book, Open My Eyes Open My Soul, seems to inspires a common sense way of treating all of humanity with respect. I am not talking about treating everyone the same, but with the same level of respect.

I believe the lessons in this book enlighten people, who may not have known they were treating others different than themselves, so that they can connect and create more harmonious relationships.

Obviously, you may think as the co-creator, I'm just a wee bit biased. However, what you may not know is how much I have learned from our contributors and how much I feel I have grown as an individual, since taking this project on.

I can honestly tell you that I had no foresight into being a diversity trainer prior to the creation of this book. However, I am loving this experience and I plan to continue spreading the word of the benefits, when using Open My Eyes, Open My Soul as a diversity training tool.

© Copyright 2005 Elodia Tate all rights reserved. Permission to reprint granted with full article reprint, author credit and a link back to my site.

To contact Elodia Tate visit http://www.elodiatate.com, http://www.openmyeyesopenmysoul.com, or email info@elodiatate.com

Elodia Tate is a best-selling author and professional speaker, who is known for using humor & story telling to connect with her audience. She enjoys speaking to small groups as well as large audiences. To learn more about her book visit http://www.openmyeyesopenmysoul.com

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