When first penned, Rhyme & Reason’s values included to “wear your passion on your sleeve.” In time, we came to realize that “passion” wasn’t something that everyone had, nor was it something we felt everyone had to have. So, instead of pressuring people into feeling passionate about work, we removed it.
Even though we withdrew the value from a work perspective, the concept didn’t disappear. Instead, it was translated into who we are and what we do outside of the office. It is the “life” part of the work/life balance and it now shows up in the places, people, organizations and activities that we invest in when we aren’t on R&R time.
Though this blog is often a place to shine a light on our work and the six other values we practice and preach, we wanted to take a moment to raise awareness for the “life” part of our team.
Therefore, in this blog and others to come we will be sharing where we have been putting our time and our money to support diversity, education, the arts, black lives matter, the fight against hate and more. Our hope is that together, we can be, create and do more awesome at work, in life and for the world.
Organizations We’re Passionate About:
Cori Wallace – Girls, Inc. of Greater Atlanta
Girls, Inc. of Greater Atlanta has been uplifting girls in the Atlanta area since 1874 and works to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. More than 6,500 girls a year participate in research-based programming delivered by trained professionals. These key adults focus on the development of the whole girl, supporting, mentoring and guiding girls in an affirming, pro-girl environment.
Symone Sanders one of these girls, Her autobiography and activism manual recounts the beginnings of her leadership journey as a Girls Inc. participant. We need to support girls in urban areas as we attempt to ensure fair and equitable access to leadership development programs.
David Reid – ACLU
ACLU advocates for criminal justice reform, voting rights and prisoners’ rights among many other things—all of which I believe are necessary for us to create a system that allows for equality and equity for all people. Until we fix some of these areas of our society, we will have people of color and other minorities working at a disadvantage from the start.
Emily Rieders – Campaign Zero
Campaign Zero’s mission is specifically focused on putting an end to police violence at a local, state and national level. I really appreciate that they take a three-prong approach—first doing an in-depth analysis of policing practices, followed by research to identify effective solutions to end brutality and then finally developing legislation and advocacy to end police violence across the nation. The organization’s website also thoroughly tracks legislative changes related to police violence so that donors can stay involved and follow progress against racial inequality in the long term, which is the other half of the battle!
Heather Daniel – City of Refuge
City of Refuge (COR) has always held a special place in my heart. Through volunteering and video storytelling, I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact they are having on community. COR intentionally operates in one of the most historic, yet impoverished zip codes in Atlanta. The area not only has one of the highest crime rates in the city, but also nearly 40% of the residents live below the poverty line. The organization is not only a refuge for those in crisis, but they also provide education, job training, local opportunities, assistance programs and above all, a community to count on. In 2019 alone, COR placed 485 people in jobs, housed 455 people and served more than 350,000 meals.
Karen McKenzie – The Equal Justice Initiative
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) challenges poverty and racial injustice, advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system and creates hope for marginalized communities. For more than 30 years, EJI has provided legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in state jails and prisons. EJI works with communities that are marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment. The organization is committed to changing the narrative about race in America.
Lauren Castro – Creative Reaction Lab
Creative Reaction Lab was created by Antoinette D. Carroll, a woman who started her career as a graphic designer, but then wanted to expand away from the computer and use her skills to impact the community around her. As a person who has also grappled with my creative power and greater purpose, I am inspired by her use of creative skills to propagate real change in the community.
CRXLab’s work is based on the belief that systems of oppression, inequality and inequity are by design; therefore, they can and must be redesigned. They also believe that everybody is a designer—design is not restricted to people who have pursued it as a career path.
With those beliefs as a foundation, they are giving historically undervalued youth an opportunity to be heard, supported and included in opportunities that amplify their power and work, therefore creating equity-centered communities. I think this work is powerful and important, and it speaks to me, my beliefs, and what I hope/want to see more of.
Scarlett Rosier – Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in 1913 in response to increased anti-Semitism and bigotry. Fast forward to today and you’ll find that the ADL continues to fight hate for good, with the ultimate goal of creating a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.
As a member of the Atlanta chapter’s Glass Leadership Institute, I learned about the many resources and tools the organization offers to our local and global community to combat hatred. I was introduced to the work in a classroom setting and, as an Atlanta-based agency, we were able to see the impact of this organization in real life when #HB426 the Georgia Hate Crimes bill was signed into law on June 26. This moment, though historic, does not end the fight. It is a reinforcement for all of us to work together, to see the impact of good work, good people and good trouble in order that we might see a better, hate-free world.
Shannon Madden – Black Girls Smile
Black Girls Smile is an organization founded by Lauren Carson in 2012 based on gaps she found throughout her mental health journey as a young African American female with clinical depression. With everything going on in the world today, it’s so incredibly important to remember to check-in with yourself and remember that your mental health is still important. I absolutely love that Black Girls Smile not only provides African American females with resources and support to lead healthy mental lives, but it also creates a positive community and encourages healthy lifestyle choices.
Shea O’Connor – NBAF: National Black Arts – NextGen Artist Program
Artists have the unique ability to share stories about people by portraying them on a canvas, on a stage, in fashion, on film, etc. Black artists and voices, in particular, need to be heard. The NBAF’s NextGen Artist Program provides resources for emerging black artists to have access to the tools they need to creatively express themselves. The skills they learn from workshops, classes, lectures, mentorship programs, business/professional development programs, and more can carry on throughout their artistic careers. The NBAF was founded by the Fulton County Arts Council and has been doing good and important work in the Atlanta art community for three decades.