Diversity Week was quite a week for news. For those of you wondering if the industry’s baby steps toward a truly diverse workplace have really amounted to anything, consider these national news items: Colin Powell breaks ranks The big news was that three Republican senators with glowing military records went public with their opposition over President Bush’s terrorist detainment policy. But when Colin Powell joined them, through a letter that read, "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," it merited a little more than a sidebar. Think about that: an African American publicly challenges President Bush on the issue of morality, a man who has been known to treat the moral high ground like his own, private, gated community, and no one says a word. I don’t know about you, but I find that amazing -and in no small way, comforting. Ann Richards passes Most people remember Ann Richards as the white-haired, no-nonsense keynote speaker with the razor-sharp tongue, who said of the first President Bush: "Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." But for all her memorable sound bites, this former school teacher’s legacy might be this: she brought an amazing number of blacks, Hispanics and women into public office, she appointed the first African American regent to the University of Texas, and she installed the very first blacks and women in the state’s police force, the Texas Rangers. Thank you, Ms. Richards and may God welcome you with open arms. Mayor vetoes Chicago’s "big box" minimum wage Last week Chicago Mayor Daley vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage for big box retailers in his city. The story was fascinating because it crystallized much of the debate around the rise of retail superpowers like Wal-Mart. Do they take advantage of employees by underpaying and not giving them benefits? Or do they provide jobs to minorities and working-class people, and save them millions of dollars in low cost food, products and services? At this point, I’m not sure. But thanks to the good people of Chicago, the debate will no doubt start working its way toward Capitol Hill. Cold Spring Harbor played Roosevelt High In Long Island, Cold Spring Harbor, a public school from a largely white, upscale community, opened its 2006 football schedule by facing off with bitter rival, Roosevelt, a school of blacks and Hispanics, so struggling that in 2002 it was taken over by the state. And while the juxtaposition is obvious, the reason the game made front page news was because, when it looked like Roosevelt would not be able to raise funds to field a team, the booster club of Cold Spring Harbor rode to the rescue. They raised money for Roosevelt, going door-to-door for donations. Some Cold Spring players gave up weekends and joined their rival’s benefit car washes. Then, at the 11th hour, with Roosevelt’s season in the balance, an anonymous Cold Spring businessman sent a check for $20,000. With all the horror stories you hear about hockey dads and cheerleading moms, it’s nice to know you can still find, deep within the trash heap that we’ve made out of youth sports, a life lesson for us all. (And in case you were wondering, Roosevelt won the game, 7-0.) OK, OK, I know: none of these news items can be directly attributed to cable’s diversity efforts. But Symonds says they are reminders that even the biggest elephant gets eaten one bite at a time, and that through Kaitz, NAMIC and WICT, this industry is slowly but surely digging in. Curtis Symonds can be reached at curtissymonds@yahoo.com.

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