The Cancel Culture at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina ⋆ Politicrossing
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The Cancel Culture at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina

Making a federal case out of a 20 second, honest mistake

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American Thinker — The USA, the land of the free and home of the brave. With its weaponized DoJ and FBI, are we truly free? And what about  tyranny at the state level? As part of their pro-LGBTQ+ agenda, the House Democrat Party in Michigan has passed a law to fine or incarcerate residents using the wrong pronouns in addressing another person.

The bill, HB 4474, criminalizes making somebody “feel threatened” by terminology including employing the wrong pronouns. The proposed legislation would replace the current Ethnic Intimidation Act.  If enacted, it will be a felony hate crime in Michigan, with up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine, for causing protected classes to “feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened,” regarding gender identity or sexual orientation.

I Am a Fugitive from Justice

I am blessed to reside in North Carolina, not Michigan, where my recent crime is not yet a felony.  My letter, directly below, to the Artspace Board of Directors and, below that, the correspondence leading up to my letter, spell out the grievous sin for which I am guilty!  As you will see, clearly, I am a lost and nonredeemable soul:

Greetings Artspace Board Members,

I am a six-year volunteer with Art Space of Raleigh, having started in March of 2014, and serving through March of 2020 until COVID-19 shut us down. I resumed volunteering once the “First Friday” visitors were back in swing.

During my time as a volunteer, I was on site, perhaps 60 to 64 times, missing about 10 First Fridays due to my travel as a professional speaker and cruise ship speaker. My volunteer experience initially included serving wine and beer. I then became the food server for many years. The supervisors, including Mary Kennedy, were glad because I was one of the few who never consumed the Artspace food!  

During some First Fridays, I stayed on for a second 3-hour shift, on short notice, when other scheduled volunteers did not appear.

In addition, I served as a volunteer on some weekends during Family Days directing a variety of activities for kids. I also volunteered at the annual benefactors banquet – a black tie affair with lavish hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.

After COVID-19, I was assigned to the education room. During such sessions, parents with children or children on their own would create some type of art or craft. The new supervisor was David, who praised me on several occasions during my nights of volunteering, as I always arrived early, took few breaks, did not require refreshments, and handled crowds of all sizes.

In March 2023, I was a volunteer once again. Then, I was traveling on the first Friday in April and in May, so I was not available again until June.  hen I signed up for June weeks later, I saw that my sign-up had been removed. When I re-signed, I was informed by David via email, out of the blue (see below) that I had committed a grievous sin 10 weeks before and could no longer volunteer. Ten weeks.         

I have included, verbatim, sequential correspondence between myself and David.

Jeff Davidson

 

Hi Jeff,

I apologize for not responding to you sooner. I am going to politely ask that you no longer volunteer with Artspace moving forward. We have appreciated your support, but my colleague Danny reported that you used inappropriate language that could’ve made attendees feel uncomfortable while volunteering during March First Friday.

At Artspace, we’re striving to create a space that people from all walks of life can feel comfortable in and we need volunteers who reinforce that culture.  Again, thank you for the support but I feel its best if you no longer volunteer with Artspace.

          Best, David

 

Greetings David,

I did not knowingly use any inappropriate language at any time. Before you came on board, I was a volunteer for 6 years every First Friday at Artspace, and was widely acknowledged as an asset on First Fridays.

Now, I hear this kind of accusation. What specific language does Danny have to report? I would be most interested in knowing the specifics as opposed to some general accusation. If you’re going to make an accusation, let me hear what it is.

 

Jeff,

I’m happy to give you a call later today to discuss. However, as the Director of Community Engagement and the person who manages Artspace’s volunteer program this is my final decision. Please let me know the best time to call you today.

          Thank you, David

 

David,

You can call me anytime {he never did, I had to force a call}, I’m interested knowing a couple of things:

          * What does Danny say that I said, verbatim?

          * Next, if I happened to say something that he thought was inappropriate, why did he not tell me at the time?

          * Why does it take 3 months to find out such news?

          * Also, don’t be concerned that I’m going to attempt to continue to be a volunteer.

          * Nobody, including me, wants to be around anybody that does not like them.

I received praise from you the times we’ve encountered each other, and now you’ve taken the word of an associate that I’ve done something so terrible that I must be banned forever from Artspace, without even first talking to me about it.

This is leadership?

          Jeff Davidson 

 

No News by Phone

On the phone, I could not get him to give me any specifics or even anything of substance, just vague utterance about some terrible faux pas that merited instantly canceling me. So, I called to his boss, who he had not informed. She was surprised because she had seen me many times on the job and knew that I was on asset. To follow up, I sent her the email trail:

 

Greetings Ms. Jones,

Here is the email trail [all included above] leading to the phone call in which David would tell me nothing and when I attempted to gain any useful information about the alleged faux pas, he hung up on me. In my 20+ years of volunteering for WUNC, the Flower Shuttle, Tunnel to Towers, Cystic Fibrosis, March of Dimes, and the NC Museum of Arts, I have never experienced anything remotely like this.

Thanks for your attention, Jeff Davidson

At the request of his boss, David sent me a formal letter, now adding on other previously unannounced “multiple reports on your inability to follow instructions during volunteer shifts.”  You and I have seen this before: someone has a weak case so they throw in more vague, (bogus) assertions to “shore up” their argument. Then, when they stonewall you by phone and you get upset, they throw that in as well.

Case closed: looked at all the infractions!

 

Dear Jeff,

Thank you for your six years of service to Artspace. Our organization appreciates your continued support over the years assisting with First Fridays and other programs. Unfortunately, we no longer see Artspace’s volunteer program as a good fit for you, and we will no longer need your assistance as a volunteer.

We have come to this decision after we received multiple reports on your inability to follow instructions during volunteer shifts. A staff member reported you made inappropriate comments related to gender in reference to a family visiting Artspace during First Friday on March 3, 2023. Everyone is welcome at Artspace and our staff strives to create a safe space that is welcoming to people of all ages, abilities, genders, and backgrounds. We want to retain volunteers who will reinforce that expectation and respect the culture that has been established.

Not only did your comments make that staff member feel uncomfortable, but dismissive comments related to gender identity could have jeopardized that family’s positive experience at Artspace. The hostile behavior you displayed when confronted about this incident over the phone only further displays that it is time for us to part ways. For those reasons, I am respectfully requesting you no longer volunteer with Artspace moving forward.

We thank you for your service and hope you find success volunteering with another local organization. Please know you are still welcome to visit Artspace and attend our community programs.

 

David,

Multiple reasons? Hardly. Thanks for your continued non-explanation. If you’re referring to the two little kids, dressed in bright colors, with long flowing hair, giggling at the back table for over an hour, who I mistook as girls, it was an honest mistake that anyone could have made. There was zero malice on my part.  I was seeking to help them with their art project, as all other youths required, roughly, only 30 to 40 minutes.

I said to them, verbatim, “Ladies, can I help?” They had been unsupervised for at least an hour, and then a parent, apparently their parent, seated nearby said, “They’re boys.” I immediately told them I was sorry for their error.  Not the world’s worst offense, and highly likely not the first time someone has erred in relation to them.

I then went immediately to Danny and asked him about the two youths and he said they were boys. I told him that I had mistook them. That is the whole incident.

You, David, apparently want to make this a federal case, and make defamatory statements as if I’m some type of troglodyte with a history of bad behavior. I strongly sense that you were looking for a way to depose me as part your personal brand of cancel culture.

As for the phone conversation, you were intentionally vague and unresponsive when I had a legitimate right to know what I had done that was worthy of your punishment. I asked for any type of detail and you offered next to nothing. And you kept accusing me of pressing you, and then you hung up on me. Even now, it has taken several more weeks to get any kind of information from you and I had to go to your supervisor, at that.

For shame, David.

  

Cancellation Celebrations!

And that, folks, is how cancel culture, the cancer that it is, now lingers at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina. Who will be the next in line?

I have laid bare my first cancellation experience and the grievous sin I have committed.  Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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Business

Work-life Balance: The Enduring Quest

Organizations today recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity

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Thank goodness that organizations today increasingly recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity. As such, the corporate quest for work-life balance, harmony, and integration has gained great prominence.

Key Aspects

Here are 12 key aspects of this pursuit gleaned from a variety of programs:

1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work schedules, remote work options, and part-time opportunities allows employees to better balance their professional and personal lives.

2. Have Clear Policies: Establishing clear policies and guidelines regarding work hours, overtime, and expectations helps employees manage their time effectively.

3. Support Mental Health: Providing access to mental health resources, counseling, and stress management programs can address employees’ emotional well-being.

4. Give Leave: Offering generous paid time off, including vacation, sick leave, and parental leave, allows employees to address personal and family needs without fear of repercussions.

5. Prevent Burnout: Encouraging employees to disconnect from work-related technology after hours helps prevent burnout and supports work-life separation.

6. Support Workload Management: Ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and realistic deadlines prevents excessive stress and long working hours.

7. Provide Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness initiatives, such as fitness facilities, nutrition programs, and health screenings, promotes a healthier work-life balance.

8. Enable Employee Assistance Programs: Such programs provide confidential counseling and support services for employees facing personal challenges.

9. Promote a Culture of Balance: Company culture plays a significant role in work-life balance. Leaders should model a balanced lifestyle, and the organization should celebrate accomplishments beyond work.

10. Maintain Continuous Communication: Engaging in open dialogues with employees about their needs and concerns regarding work-life balance fosters a supportive and responsive corporate culture.

11. Empower Workers with Training and Education: Providing training on time management, stress reduction, and resilience equips employees with the skills to better balance their lives.

12. Leverage Remote Work Policies: Crafting clear remote work policies and expectations ensures that remote employees have a structured work-life balance.

Bringing in the Hired Gun

As the world’s only holder of the title, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” as issued by the USPTO,  I am often summoned by organizations to enhance work-life balance for their troops. In all, I’ve delivered programs and spoken to 960 groups. Below depicts an encounter with a company who shall remain nameless for reasons of confidentiality. See if this squares up with your experience in your organization.

The following responses were derived as a result of my sending a questionnaire to the conference meeting planner where I was to be their keynote speaker. I requested the names of 10 people who would be in the audience. I called each of them to discuss their current challenges. Here are their actual replies to three of my questions:

1) If you could magically resolve a work-life balance issue, what would it be?

* Have more breathing room between high-level projects.
* Accomplish more during the workday and leave mentally free.
* Hire more staff!
* Take vacations and time off with no big pile ups when returning.

* Be allowed to take some Fridays off and catch up on much needed appointments.
* Reduce the number of pop-up requests and questions flying at me all day long so that I could ACTUALLY do what I need to do each day.
* Be approved to work from home or adjust my hours. My personal time isn’t respected.

2) What do you seek to derive from attending a session such as mine?

* Manage my time more effectively.
* Gain tools to embrace life while living it
* Develop stronger skills.
* Make work-life balance a reality in our company’s work-first culture.

* Acquire strategies, tips, or ideas to re-think my approach.
* Learn to change my focus, to be more productive, balanced, and focused.
* Be able to balance the few things that I do control during my day.
* Discover tips for keeping my staff in balance.

* Gain a realistic expectation of what we can achieve or experience.
* Develop a more positive outlook for the group.

3) Are there any observations you could offer?

* Work-life balance is a huge topic organization-wide. We are high performers who want to do a good job. We compromise our personal lives to meet work demands. We have to keep pace with the leaders and teams we support. If we don’t, we’ll be deemed unresponsive.

* A frenetic pace seems to be inherent in this company. Our team does a good job of emphasizing work-life balance; the problem lies with the surrounding divisions that thrive on working all the time, for no good reason. Yes, we are in a global space, working in different time zones, but some of these people are beyond the pale.

* What I love about this organization are the people. They are dedicated to the cause and truly want to deliver reliable, affordable, dynamic, and versatile solutions to our customers. However, our frenetic pace isn’t necessary. Not every project is the most vital. Not every problem is an emergency. Not every request has to be filled now.

* If in charge, I’d implement a more efficient, logical pace organization-wide. If we all took a breath and reevaluated how we work, in a more focused environment, we might find that we could produce better results with less stress.

Resonates Strongly

As you can see, the topic of work-life balance resonates strongly among today’s career professionals. Going forward, may more organization recognize and acknowledge the critical role that employee wellness and work-life balance has on the organization’s overall effectiveness.

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