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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, November 18, 2021

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,365th Civic Thursday meeting of the 3rd oldest Rotary Club in the world. Members continued to prove how flexible they are with the greatly improved, but not ideal, sound system. When the podium mic didn’t work, and Zoom participants couldn’t hear the meeting, President Dudley used the one portable mic which he held throughout the meeting, sharing it with Rotarians who introduced their guests from their seats in the Ballroom. Kudos to Pres. Dudley, and the AV Team who spend 3½ hours Wednesday night in the Ballroom setting everything up with the guidance of a consulting team skilled and experienced in working with other Rotary clubs and their hybrid meetings.

Lewis Griggs provided the thought for the day from the writings of our speaker’s book “The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice”.

Lewis Griggs returned to the Zoom podium to introduce our speaker, Fania Davis. Dr. Davis is nationally renowned for her role in restorative justice. Restorative justice is based on a desired set of principles and practices to mediate conflict, strengthen community and repair harm. She is a long-time social justice activist, Civil Rights trial attorney, writer, scholar and the author of “The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing and U.S. Social Transformation.”

She explained that Restorative Justice asks who was harmed, what are the needs and responsibilities of all affected, and how to bring all affected parties together to address needs and repair harm. Restorative Justice is also rooted in indigenous practices. It is reparative, inclusive and balanced.

Dr. Davis identified three core values: respect, relationship and responsibility. A paradigm shift needs to take place in how things are handled. She shared an example of changing the prevalent “school to prison pipeline” – when a student exhibits adolescent behavior, they don’t get a suspension, which can ultimately lead to expulsion, and arrest. Instead, the issue is addressed up front in a reparative way.

Past President Sean Marx shared the inspirational story about how Global Grants have served two communities in Kenya. Called WASH projects, the most recent grant totaling $63,686 was a collaborative project with the Rotary Clubs of Los Angeles and Louisville, Kentucky as well as the Suna Rotary Club in Kenya. Oakland Rotary’s financial investment was $18,750. We saw a short video that showed prior to the project, the girls (not boys) fetched buckets of water every day from the lake to their village. The water was polluted and the latrines were unhealthy. This project provided two water systems to extract and clean the water from Lake Victoria for two villages totaling 28,000 inhabitants. Previous grants have included focusing on schools.and students’ needs such as providing desks.

This is the final meeting highlighting The Rotary Foundation annual campaign held every November. The Every Member donation goal of reaching 100% participation by December 31st will be matched by a challenge grant of $50,000 made by six club members. Sean Marx made a donation to provide a second level Paul Harris Fellow to Renia Webb.

Pres. Dudley shared a couple of stories about the influence Rotary International has had in world affairs. In 1948, they were one of the founders of the United Nations and still have an important relationship with it. Some years ago one of the countries where polio was rampant was Sudan, which was at war in 1997-98. A four-day ceasefire was negotiated so children could be accessed and given polio vaccine. The challenge was buying the vaccine on such short notice. Moraga resident Cliff Dochterman was Rotary Foundation President at the time. He was able to authorize $400,000 to pay for the vaccine ($500K was the limit) on the spot, and the project moved forward successfully.

Renia Webb presented 350 articles including gently used coats, scarves, hats and gloves to We Lead Ours (WELO). Accepting the donation were Dwayne Aikens, Executive Director and Andrea Smith, Board Member. Renia gave a shout-out to everyone who donated items and especially thanked Teresa Weyand who knitted 100+ caps for families.

Arriving just before 1:30 pm, the Cal Straw Hat Band made their annual appearance in advance of the Big Game against Stanford on Saturday. Instead of the usual three musical songs, the 20+ student musicians treated us to an expanded program and a new repertoire plus some dance moves for nearly 20 minutes. As always, their enthusiasm, energy and musicianship were well received. Go Bears!

With the club now in overtime, Pres. Dudley quickly reminded everyone of several upcoming activities.

Click here to watch Dr. Fania Davis video segment

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

Click here to learn more: https://www.oakland-rotary.org/calendar

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