Feb 07

The KEYone is HERE.

I waited.


I took the hits from friends and family alike… saying,

You STILL have a Blackberry? They still make phones? And you’re waiting for a newer version?!? Weirdo.

Welp, jokes on you people… this kid’s got the KEYone.

Thanks Blackberry. We’re friends again. ~DK

Nov 09

Election 2016: So What Happened?

US_FlagToday is the 9th of November, and there are many many “what happened?” conversations starting around tables, office break rooms, and diners.

Let me first say this: we have a new President-Elect, Donald Trump. He won the Electoral College and IS the President-Elect. He will be the 45th President of the United States. THE President. OUR President.

Most of the conversations that I’ve already been in are filled with works like “unpredictable” and “nightmare.” “Fear” and “repudiation.” Let me add what I believe has happened.

People was a disrupted of MANY institutions: the political class, the media, the alleged “PC-ing” of America….even the fear that the “change” of President Obama and his policies truly made did not affect “them.” Back in the 1960s, President Nixon called it “the silent majority” – but even before this, there was Andrew Jackson.

I’ve been thinking about this since I just recently saw awesome author Jon Meacham here in York. Andrew Jackson swept change into the White House with a message of the “common man” and a sense that the political types weren’t looking after “us.” This I believe happened again.

The “us” of today felt things like globalization, multiculturalism, religious tolerance, LGBTQ Rights, Geo-political institutions…all these Washington-insider stuff… never considered “their” needs. It’s nice to consider world affairs, right up to the point where your job moved away and you feel (rightly or wrongly) that some “other” took it from you, a hard working American.

The sentiment can move people, and it did. Agents of change must be careful about those who resent the change… then pivot their resentment into “counter-change”.. moving the pendulum back closer to “them.”

I did not vote for President-Elect Trump. I do, and cannot, say he any more qualified or fit for this office than I thought last night or for this entire election. But he did win, and he is my President now. So what will I do?

Hold him accountable. He promised what I feel are dangerous and outlandish policies and initiatives. Hold him to what he believed. Push back again your elected officials who now, more than ever, need to DO THEIR JOBS. Not to obstruct for political reasons (we went through 8 years of a Do-Nothing Congress who feared an African-American President and his voice of change), but we need a Congress to remind President-Elect that he is head of the Executive branch, not the CEO of a private holding company.

We – WE – need to hold accountable what and how things are done. Federal, state, local… all. Not because we are filled with HATE or DESPISE this man, but because our republic DEMANDS that of us. That’s our role in this. In it to win it.

Lots of conversations happening today in America. But the largest one we must engage in… is our ENGAGEMENT in the public policy stage. Now, more than ever, we must see that millions of our fellow Americans selected President-Elect Trump on the promises of his words… now we must shepherd those words into what we will shape our country for these next four years. Stay shape all, don’t bail out or revert to war-like “us versus them” tactics. But rather, hold accountable. And lastly, gear up. Because in four years… we begin again with a message of change (again).

Just my immediate thoughts…~DK

Jul 26

A Special Day in History (and Her-story)

July 26, 2016… this is a special day in American history.PHL-DNC-logo-jpgRegardless of your political persuasion, your personal feelings toward politics, hell even if you are completely disconnected with politics in general… this is a special day in our American lives.

A big glass ceiling – sometimes called “The Marble Ceiling in Politics” – is shattered and gone.

Tonight, perfectly backdropped by the City of Brotherly Love of Philadelphia, PA, the Democratic Party has elected as their candidate Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.  The first female to be elected as a nominee of a major party.

This perspective needs a moment to take in. I know. I know. Secretary Clinton is polarizing. She has an alarmingly high “Disapproval Rating” for a nominee running for the highest office. Who was once part of an “outsider” group marching on to federal offices with her husband, Former President William Jefferson Clinton, she has been on the large, national political stage for so long she is now looked at as “establishment” and “inside the Beltway” insider type… but the truth is, this is magical.

Her work for decades in the public sector is well documented. Her battles over the years for children, human rights, women’s rights, healthcare, the New York City rising from the (literal) ashes of our September 11th nightmare (and the resulting need to fight for ALL brothers & sisters who worked on The Pile and began the rebuilding)… you name it in the ending years of the 20th century, Secretary Clinton was there in some capacity. These stories are well documented. But here’s the thing:

This nomination is far, far, FAR more important than that.

SenecaFallsThis is for Senaca Falls and Susan B. Anthony. The 19th Amendment and Geraldine Ferraro.  From the unknown women of the Suffrage Movement right down to my mom, Judith Helen Sasala, and her journey through the 1960s, raising my brother, sister and I, and the fights she had to be her own woman through it all.

My mom might not be getting the nomination this week by the Democrats… but she sure as hell helped build the pathway that brought Secretary Clinton to this moment in time.

For a time, my mom was the single-parent household champion for us. Working (a lot), cooking, cleaning (with piss poor support from yours truly as a kid), driving to and from practices, games, and performances… she was it all.

Don’t think this night doesn’t mean much to a guy like me…. think again.

Secretary Clinton does not need to align with my politics or my vote… she aligned with the strength of my mom and the strength of our culture here in America. And for that… for THIS MAGICAL MOMENT… I am proud of our nation.

There are young women across this country who will now know of presidential politics as a “natural” and “normal” place for women to strive for, and succeed. How cool is it that they will take this as nothing but a typical thing in American democracy.  For the future leaders and for the future readers of this era of history, this will be a milestone and a date to be remembered (especially November 8, 2016 should Secretary Clinton trade in titles for “President Clinton”).

But for me… this is a night to remember.

Congratulations Secretary Clinton…. and congrats Mom. You did it too.

My Mom, Judith Helen Sasala, at my wedding (Oct 10, 2015 | York, PA)

My Mom, Judith Helen Sasala, at my wedding (Oct 10, 2015 | York, PA)


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.

connect_the_dots_movment_logo.com + .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

Older posts «