President Dudley Thompson called the 5,359th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m. He welcomed all Rotarians and guests as all previous presidents have done for 113 years.
Mike Mowery offered a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that related to the speaker's discussion of housing discrimination: “We are tired of living in rat-infested slums. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children."
President Dudley led the audience in the recitation of the Rotary Vision.
Past-president and Speakers Committee chair Robert Kidd introduced Gene Slater, chair of CSG Advisors of San Francisco. Gene has 40 years of experience structuring financing, development programs, and real estate transactions for public agencies throughout the United States. His book, entitled "Freedom to Discriminate" is available through Amazon, Heyday Books, or at your local bookstore.
Mr. Slater reviewed the role played by realtors in segregating American communities and in shaping modern conservative ideology. In the early 20th century, neighborhoods were racially mixed. The first model for residential segregation was created by developer Duncan McDuffie in Berkeley. McDuffie imposed deed restrictions (covenants) on buyers of his high-end homes in Berkeley. These covenants included prohibitions on non-Caucasians from living in the homes (except as servants).
In 1916, single-family zoning was implemented in Berkeley which was used to establish low-density neighborhoods only open to wealthier, white families. In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal for local government to use zoning for purposes of racial segregation but allowed restrictive covenants. In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts could not enforce restrictive covenants. In 1963, California passed its first fair housing law, the Rumford Act. This resulted in a campaign by realtors to pass Proposition 14 which nullified the Rumford Act and allowed property owners to continue racial discrimination. [Editor's note: the California Supreme Court later ruled that Proposition 14 was unconstitutional.]
To defend all-white neighborhoods, realtors invented the concept of "colorblind freedom" that allegedly allows anyone to discriminate as a matter of individual choice. Conservative politicians used these arguments to lay the groundwork for many of the current conservative strategies.
President Dudley announced the death of member Marion Sims and asked for a moment of silence. Marion was a three-sport athlete at McClymonds High School and a three-sport star at Santa Rosa Junior College. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Marion served as the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland for 27 years and was a 24-year Oakland Rotary member.
Professor Dudley presented his lecture entitled "Oakland Rotary Charitable Campaigns Made Easy." Dudley reviewed the differences between the club and the endowment and highlighted the fundraisers coming up this Rotary year. He also reviewed the differences between Rotary International and its charitable arm, The Rotary Foundation.
ORE president Leeann Alameda hosted the recognition of the club's new Paul Harris Fellows. The Paul Harris Fellow is named after Rotary's founder and acknowledges individuals who contribute or who have contributions made in their name of $1,000 or more to The Rotary Foundation. Multiple Paul Harris Fellow recognition is extended at subsequent $1,000 levels and those who reach the $10,000 level are deemed, major donors.
Lane College Food Pantry
The Laney College Food Pantry project is back. Kerry Hamill reported that an energetic group of members met at Laney College to pack 200 bags of food from the Alameda County Community Food Bank for distribution to Laney College students. Members must sign up in advance on the Club website calendar page. Then join this hands-on service project taking place every Tuesday from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Coat Collection Project
Renia Webb announced that this year's We Lead Ours (WELO) coat collection drive has started. Please bring a new or gently used coat for a man, woman, or child to a Thursday lunch meeting in October, November, or early December. Hats, scarves, and gloves are also needed.
Community Service Day at St. Vincent de Paul
President Dudley substituted for Community Service Committee chair David Kittner and urged everyone to save Saturday, October 23rd for a service day at St. Vincent de Paul in Oakland. Participants must be fully vaccinated. Sign up on the club website calendar page in the listing starting at 8:30 a.m.
Click here to watch Gene Slater video segment
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