Dec 03

Enough “#Pray For ___” and More “#Action For___”

I’m so sick of this.

rinse-repeatOur communities are in a cycle of “pray for’s” and I’m tired of it. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Some tragedy occurs in a community and it elevated to a nation story.
  2. We collectively pain over the situation, look to for ways to help/cope/share.
  3. A “#Pray For ___ ” hashtag starts to trend.
  4. Rinse. Repeat.


Our collective struggle isn’t based in some sort of false sympathy or misplaced compassion. It is so genuine, and so real. I’m not disputing it at all.

It just doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.

I’m sorry to be “that guy” saying it this way, but here’s the sorry sad truth: Nothing is changing, in fact it is getting worse and worse.

Vox shared a startling article that has a title that should make you sit up – “Guns Killed More Americans in 12 Years than AIDS, War, and Illegal Drug Overdoses Combined”


We have talked about this before, and judging by our standards we will be talking about this again (and again, and again).  But perhaps in the interim, allow me to suggest one small move to what I believe in a core value for me and my consulting: “GET ACTION.”

Let’s move away from the “#Pray For ____” hashtag, and move into the “#Action For ___” hashtag.

It’s a small thing, but if our national attention is indeed more and more landing on social media and hashtags to share, then maybe we can start getting our sympathy to move slowly into action. Action we can take. Action our political leaders MUST take.

I’m so sick of this cycle of words and no action. We have seen shootings all over this country, including against CHILDREN and now at a facility that supports Americans with DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.  East Coast, West Coast. Conservative leaning victims, Democratic leaning victims. All of us. ALL. OF. US.

The power of social media is amazing, and its reach is something to be utilized and capitalized on especially at times when our nation needs to heal..or at least talk about ways to heal.  But if we stop there, then we have done nothing but made ourselves a false sense of action (“I did something. I share that hashtag to my followers/friends.”)

Nope. Not enough.

Let’s encourage greater debate. Let’s demand more than talking points and poll-tested non-answer answers from politicians. Let’s move from PRAYERS and move toward ACTION. Let’s start NOW.


@dknight44 / @WeConnectDots

Oct 02

A Mass Shooting…Again.

Once again, our communities are about to proceed down the road of discussing guns, gun laws, reform of guns policy, the Second Amendment… and then end up with a whole lot of nothing.

The cynic in us all immediately goes to this sensibility, but that cynic is also that part of you that can remember. It can remember Virginia Tech. It can remember Columbine. It can remember Sandy Hook.

I am forever amazed by our cycle that seems to follow when these terrible tragedies occur. In this case, we point ourselves to Oregon and to Umpqua Community College. The media coverage begins, on scene stills and overhead helicopter video is presented, experts in law enforcement, FBI profiling, grief counseling, and advocacy (for the gun lobby as well as victims’ organizations) take their positions in the split screen along with show hosts juggling the interview with new information coming at them in their ear pieces. Then, the press conferences launch. Local law enforcement. Elected officials. Advocacy organizations. Faith-based support systems. Congressional leaders, with aids-in-tow, arriving in open collared shirts and fleece vests. American Red Cross and other impacting nonprofit organization mobilizes and call out for volunteers, monies, blood donations.

Congress moves to “debate” – but not where it counts (on the floor of Congress seriously considering policy improvements) but in the ratings arena. MSNBC and Fox. CNN and CSpan. And while all of this is happening, the new “news cycle” has been churning and churning – social media. Tweets, posts, blogs (just like this one) flood our inboxes, news feeds, and notifications.

ribbon_columbineThen… it ends. As quickly as it happens, we all collectively seem to go in a state of reset. Like someone just decides that this was enough time and energy and now it is appropriate to place this on the shelf, and charge its battery to be ready to go when the next “senseless tragedy” occurs in a place where no one would expect. In THEIR community.

Why are we challenged to make strides far beyond the latest PPP poll or Washington Post poll? How is it that a nation of leaders and laws cannot find itself the strength and perseverance to examine, in true honesty and soul-searching clarity, our policies and find ways to reduce these kinds of episodes?

I am not a fool. I fully recognize that these things happen for a myriad of reasons: gun laws, regulations, de-regulations, states’ laws v. federal laws, our mental healthcare (or lack thereof) in particular areas or socioeconomic classes, traditions, regional biases or norms, the list can go on forever. But these, ALL OF THESE, are but self-imposed barriers to impact. Our debates move the conversation from potential action to political rhetoric. It seems like the challenge is to position within a political ideology and represent a voting block base than actually “hear” the other side’s ideas and questions, or to at least try to understand the counter-position and find some kind of common ground to establish something – anything – that looks like leadership.

Ribbon_VTInstead, the two sides dig in. Score points with the proper talking points and ideology. Speak to the base. Enter the echo chamber. Rinse. Repeat.

President Obama has had far too many press conferences when his combination of sadness, angst, and pure frustration over no tangible changes that might – MIGHT – help reduce these unthinkable event from occurring show through. And before you pin me as being an “apologist” for Democrats or for this President, let me just say this sense of far too many press conferences would be that same if the President was a Republican. There are just too many. FAR too many.

Rhetoric become meaningless when it simply appears it is being said, but no one truly senses actionable passion behind it. We have all experienced this on the mundane level. When someone asks you “how are you?” in small talk, we know this isn’t really, truly, the time to express your deepest darkest challenges that you’ve been facing since last time you met your friend. It is rhetoric base upon the social contract of introduction, of small talk.

Sadly, this cycle inside this “senseless tragedy” narrative is becoming that way to many of us. To ME.

Yes, the democrats will empathize, then call for gun law reform, push for greater mental healthcare, and look to ban weapons that have no place in a personal arsenal (unless you DO think a AR-15 is needed to take down a deer..really?)
Yes, the republicans will empathize, then call for stricter enforcement of existing laws while also protecting the 2nd Amendment, positioning that it was a person, not the gun, that made the choice to rampage, and guns are a right for all for their defense.
And yes, somewhere else in the cycle, the fringes will demand ALL weapons be banned; while others will suggest arming EVERYONE under the guise of total protection… plus a million other ridiculous schemes.

Ribbon_sandy-hookBut do you know what’s really missing in all of this? LISTENING. True listening. To me, the essence of statesmanship. Being able to hear what the opposition is saying (and what they are NOT saying), then making a plausible, sensible counter-argument to move the conversation to resolution, negotiation or further debate. We don’t “debate” things like this. We argue without listening. We preach to the choir. We show our base how much we are with them in “our” camp.

These victims deserve better.

So I ask our local, state, and federal leadership to challenge each other to a debate. A TRUE DEBATE. Where we can force ourselves to face these terrible facts about guns, school shootings, and our society. Face it head-on, without scoreboard watching, but rather opposition LISTENING… and building better policy to protect our children, our families, and our communities.

I hope to see this soon. Because this cycle will eventually come to its end. And then we will wait. Wait, sadly, for the next Breaking News “Senseless Tragedy.”

Aug 18



Apr 29

Public Policy and Community

public_policy_aboutbipp580pxIt is a consistent adage that there is no “perfect” public policy. You could argue things like women’s suffrage and reconciliation to right the wrongs our founding fathers did (or more accurately didn’t do) regarding non-white races (the despicable “3/5th” compromise) should be no-brainers… but still there isn’t perfection. Someone, even those simply living with racist or sexist attitudes,  will criticize legislation stating some kind of imperfection.

But that’s the point. Public Policy will never reach a perfection. Legislation intent, wording, amendments, enforcement, repeal… our system is built with these imperfections into the systems. We actually need these imperfections to truly showcase our freedom, our democracy. Without them, we would have a dictatorship or an oligarchy… a system that denies imperfection because it can quell debate.

This is why it always intrigues me about local government and local ordinance/legislation issues. While we all, in some form of intuition, agree that laws/ordinance aren’t perfect, we often neglect that other component of public policy. Not the “policy part… the “public” part.

Laws are built and often they are in some kind of opposition to our own personal values. It’s inevitable. Ever see someone around April jumping up and down yelling, “Yee-Haa! It’s time to pay taxes! So fun!”

Um, no.

But it is done. It is done (perhaps grudgingly) because we know that the social contract we have as a community tells us that these rules (or these taxes) are used for the benefit of the common good.. or the common interest.  Putting it another way… it benefits community.

Community isn’t one-size-fits-all. It is debates, disagreements, consensus, joy, togetherness, isolation.. the works. But still, with all these things, community proceeds. It marches on. We can join it or retreat from it.

What amazes me is people who “personalize” public policy. What I mean by this is when take their personal opinion (or what they feel the effect will cause to “them”) and try to debate using that alone. They said things like the “the reason this is bad law is that ‘they’ will be hurt by it.” When pressed to identify who the “they” is, very often it is concluded quickly – there is no “they”… there is just a “me.”one_way_Economics-Degree-Public-Policy

Now understand, I’m not saying you not allowed to have a personal opinion or position. On the contrary, that is the right of every person. However, that personal opinion only fuels the public policy debate, not frames it.  Just because you don’t like something or feel something will “hurt” you, doesn’t mean it is an invalid policy. It just means you have recognized that is isn’t jiving with you personal opinion.

Now it’s your job to expand that out into the public. Other may agree with you, but you need to position your thoughts relative to that – at least you need to to be effective as an influencer.  Take politicians. No matter the level (federal, state, local) politicians build their argument by building coalitions. Strength in numbers. One politicians pushing a personal agenda is an easy dismiss. A coalition? Now that’s policy savvy.

Why is this on my brain? I was just witness to the perfect example of confusion between public policy and personal opinion AND policy versus political.  A local ordinance debate shifted to a “I’m hurt by this” discussion.

Yes, someone will have to adjust with new ordinances. Someone always does. If it is someone else, it just a thing. But if it’s YOU who senses to danger, then of course the law is terrible.

Bigger picture people are always needed to remind us all that these kinds of debates – about public policy – need to settle inside the realm of “what is strong for the community” and slide away from “it hurts me.”

“There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy,” said noted American political philosopher Noam Chomsky.
Indeed there is.
The challenge for us who want to be leaders and community change agents is to remind ourselves that the strength of community development is not in personal.. but in the public. It is in the approach to rise our level of debate beyond out backyard.. and to see all the grass around us. (sing it, Luda.)
Just my $.02 cents…. ~DK

Feb 05

Re-Welcome to the DK site!

Um, Bonjour! And a hearty “re-welcome” to my little slice of the Interweb! Also, wanted to invite you to check out my other slice of the World Wide Web… my new venture called “Connect The Dots Movement.”

The past has no power over the present(1)

Much love, y’all… -DK

Dec 04

join the .movement

it’s time to change what it means to be community. + .org + .edu + .gov = .community

join the .movement

Oct 06

Coming Soon… A New Movement in Community Activation

I know, I know… that title sounds like a terrible movie hype preview (with that guy with the “in a world” voice), but I am excited to launch a new venture here soon.coming-soon-2

It will be something that combines the best of what is… with the best of what can be.

Too often, our communities and their connections to those within it (whether is be to organizations, kick ass volunteers, government, supporters, or one another frankly)… these connections are based within a model — a system that doesn’t embrace collaboration fully, creativity completely, or innovation openly.

You’ve experienced this before. Asking yourself, “how do they know of that?” Or maybe it’s “how do they know him/her in that department?” “Who has the time?” “Is that how we should be doing business?”  Why. Not. Us?

This is especially important in the nonprofit and social enterprise segment of our communities. We battle for donors’ attention (and cash-ola), we are demanded to “do more with less”, and we court donors and funding based upon a set of systems that do not truly look to innovate – but simply revert to stale methods and processing of paperwork (if you’ve written a grant, then you know how little “wow” there is in the process I speak of)… our entire attitude toward nonprofits and the sector is counter-intuitive for community development. It’s who you know. Not as much on performance, impact, passion, and collaboration.  Diversity is nice to talk about… but diversity as a collaborative engine? Getting people, places, and processes to dance a new dance? Now we’re talkin’!

It’s time to connect this up. It’s time to Connect the Dots.

Systems, by their design and their historically operating (and terrible) cliches “it’s just how we do things”/ “it’s the way we always done it”, very often hampers activation of a community. This is what stifles creativity and limits the ability of a community to activate the very best from within and develop its collective character fully.  Simply put, the way we do things is dated. It doesn’t connect all the necessary dots.

We will connect the dots. .com | .org | .edu | .gov …it’s time to build a better “.community” for us all.

Stay tuned for more on this… and stay tuned to learn more about our movement to Connect The Dots.

Cheers… -DK

Feb 17

Phased In For A Bite (Blue Moon in downtown York, PA)

Time to hit the streets and find a place to nosh. Myself and my dining partner (aka “My Better Half”) went looking for that special combo that one often strives to find: a place that buzzes a bit with the sound of fun and energy, and combines a great evening out with yummy food…

Walking into Blue Moon at 361 West Market Street is one of those moments when a venture out for food turns into a “visit” – like stopping over a friend’s house. The atmosphere presents itself in a really interesting way. The moment you enter the front door, a peek around a center column wall gives you a nice view of an open bistro space of earth tones with patches of blues and the reds and yellows from the room’s  fireplace.  A warm welcome, a walk to the table, coats to the coat rack. It’s eats time.

The menu is full of great spots to make the jump off, but we are focused on kicking this off right, so appetizer-ville here we come.

Leading Off (coupled with Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys on the house sound) is the “Bang Bang Shrimp.” And just like the name suggests, this tasty portion is really a starting gun for the mealtime fun about to happen.

Boom Boom Shrimp (Boom. Mic Drop on this app.)

Boom Boom Shrimp (Boom. Mic Drop on this app.)

Romaine lettuce, diced red peppers and scallions are there at the party with you, but the headliners are those tasty little shrimp and the just-the-right amount of Remoulade-like sauce that complements the seafood. It’s an app solid for one, but most accommodating for two – even with the obligatory “battle for the last shrimpy” to which I am often the loser.




This salad has Bacon Jam as an amazing component. Bacon. Jam.

This salad has Bacon Jam as an amazing component. Bacon. Jam.

Next up (to the sweet sounds of “Be My Little Baby” by The Ronettes)… and “little salad” to share. Whew! Thank goodness this was a sharing situation as well, because this was an amazing salad. The Bibb Lettuce Salad is just chalk full of tasty bits. including Maytag Blue Crumbles, Dried Blueberries, Toasted Pecan Halves and finished with a Bueberry Vinaigrette (and let’s not forget the bibb lettuce). Then there is the Bacon Jam. Let’s pause for a second and think about these two words: Bacon. Jam.

Wow. Now that is a salad to spark conversation and a happy smile on one’s face.


Batting third in this delicious lineup was the main course (serenaded by the sweet sounds of Angie by The Rolling Stones). My better half went with the Flounder, sauteed in browned butter with fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Her review of this?

Flounder, sauteed in browned butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

Flounder, sauteed in browned butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

“Super yummy, DK. Super. Yummy.”

How can you beat that?









For Yours Truly dinner was featuring Pan Seared Diver Scallops. These tasty morsels were prepared with a red beet glaze, and came smartly with some roasted corn risotto and garlic broccolini.  The presentation was beautiful and colorful.  Risotto was cooked to perfection and didn’t move from “risotto” into “just some rice.”

Holy yummy, Batman. This is filled with deliciousness. Great scallops, crisy garlic broccolini, and wonderful risotto. Eat This.

Holy yummy, Batman. This is filled with deliciousness. Great scallops, crisy garlic broccolini, and wonderful risotto. Eat This.

The broccolini had a nice crispness to them (which I appreciate from the chef) and a good hit of garlic in every bite. These sidemen were beautifully blended and nice complements to the scallops.  Speaking of those scallops, wow. Headlining act for sure. Presentation and balance of the glaze was just enough.. and not to the point were we had a foodstuff drowning in sauce. This was a well presented and well balanced entree.




Finally, our clean up hitter was a taste powerhouse (coming full circle with another Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows”), Chocolate Empanadas.  There was certain appreciation for the main component, the empanadas, and its wonderful presentation. But for the experience, the secondary components were the stars.

Chocolately Goodness with some great dance partners: fresh berries, smooth whipped cream, and amazing hot fudge. This is a must.

Chocolately Goodness with some great dance partners: fresh berries, smooth whipped cream, and amazing hot fudge. This is a must.

The fresh chocolate hot fudge, amazingly bright and crisp raspberries, whipped cream ready to stand on its peaks alone, and some cool vanilla bean ice cream – these item were built to create an incredible final act.

For someone looking for a nice place with nicer people and with the nicest eats, York Blue Moon is one of those places that will cure what ailes you.  So whether your night out with friends and/or loved ones has a companion of a Full, Half, or Crescent Moon.. just be sure that it’s Blue Moon when visiting downtown York, PA.


Nov 02

#Heroes Wanted

Join The Hero Round Table on Nov 9-10, 2013 (

Join The Hero Round Table on Nov 9-10, 2013 (

This week I will be shipping off the Flint, Michigan where I will be honored to be one of the presenters at an extraordinary event: The Hero Round Table.  This Saturday and Sunday (Nov 9-10) speakers from many different industries and disciplines will come together and talk about Heroes.  This event is arguably, as the organizers say, “a conference to democratize heroism.”

Because that’s what we need today… more heroes.

Now, I’m not one to suggest that I have a all the answers to all the problems we face. I don’t think I’m the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m sure not the dullest. I have experienced many people and places, and have been lucky to see a good deal of our country. And it’s from this that I think I can safely say that we need, probably now more than ever, more heroes.

Our political leaders? Failing us. Our education system? Failing many of us. Our position in the world? Faltering around us.

Where have all the heroes gone?

They’re here. All around us.. in fact, you’re with one right now…  Because YOU are a hero.

We ALL our heroes.

The problem with our sense of heroism is “the big wait and see.” What is that? That’s the feeling that I think most of us have in terms of understanding our potential as “a hero.” We see the idea of a hero in a situational way. Wait for the moment when a hero would be needed… and see if you have “the stuff” to act as a hero in that time in need.  A fire in a building, do you rush in to save someone? Car accident on the roadside? Do you pull over to assist? Walk by a group of individuals accosting a innocent bystander? Do you move to protect someone from injury?

But the heroes that are needed, they don’t need to wait and see. They need to do and be seen.

Too often the very best in us is left on the sideline, waiting to be unleashed, but left “to someone else.” We spend a lot of time wondering how we would react, but never act. We watch heroes on television – and think those only happen because of great costumes and some good writing by the show’s producers. We skip over the obvious.

Heroes are needed in the everyday. Going to work. Teaching our kids. Showing by example what it means to be heroic in the choices made in daily life. The sense that heroic actions can’t happen daily… that is what holds us back.

So here is the challenge: Let’s make the good choices in life “heroic choices.” Now, this doesn’t mean I’m one of these “everyone gets a trophy..even you 9th place guy.” No, we’re not talking about “everybody wins” here… it’s celebrating when someone sees a need to step up… and does. No award needed.

That’s what The Hero Round Table is all about. Celebrating not just the potential of heroes, but recognizing that we are here… and we are doing good. Now. For others. For our communities.

Check out our list of speakers and most of all, check out our call to action. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You are a hero to someone, maybe more than you think… and maybe to more people than you think… It’s time to celebrate this. It’s time to celebrate YOU.


Oct 29

Paging DK. Mr. DK. Please Report to Your Blog.

In the immortal words of President William Jefferson Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman… Miss Lewinsky.”


Wait, what?

No, what I meant to say was “I’m sorry.” (Something the former President might have considered at the time of the above quote and presidential “wag o’ the finger”)…

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting regularly.  This is where many would throw out a list of reasons like moving, new client work, a new house, tons of speaking/working gigs, etc. But not me. Nope. Won’t do it.

I’ll just say I hope to get back on the writing horse here again and ride off into the prose sunset.. or something.

Anyway, thank you for hanging in there and enjoying the ride with me… Cheers to you all!

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