Oakland Rotary News

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Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,381st Civic Thursday meeting of the third oldest Rotary Club in the world. We are a diverse group of some 270 business, professional and community leaders dedicated to Service Above Self. Together we recited our vision statement, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”

Thought For The Day - Dawnn Hills

Dawnn Hills reflected with appreciation on the many contributions women have made to history, culture and society and asked Rotarians to stand in awe of all the women upon whose shoulders they have stood in honor of Women’s History Month which began in Sonoma County as Women’s History Day in 1978 and was later recognized as a Month in 1987.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Robert Kidd introduced and welcomed Past President and Assistant Governor of Area 4A, Dianne Dorn from the San Leandro Club; Lisa Lorenz, Lt. Governor from Niles/Fremont Rotary Club; Hung Wei, Lt. Governor and District Governor Nominee – Rotary Club of Cupertino; and Oakland Rotary member and Assistant Governor Area 1, Joe Goralka. Allison Bliss introduced her guest and soon to be member, David Warner. President Dudley introduced his wife, Concha Delgado Gaitan.

Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign

Past President Ces Butner thanked Leeann Alameda for her work on this year’s Oakland Rotary Endowment (ORE) Campaign. He noted that we have distributed over $1.6 million in the past 6 years locally and internationally and have sponsored many projects and contributed to the Saroni-Lena scholarship fund. Gary Flaxman presented a short film about Enterprise Institute, a camp where high school juniors learn to write a business plan, learn about entrepreneurship and career choices they may have and just one of the many projects our Club supports. Ces noted we are about $20,000 shy of our goal of $100,000. Hands began to fly, and the following Rotarians rose to the challenge and made pledges as follows: Shannon Hackley, Fred Morse, Joycie Mack, Joe Goralka, Pauline Fox, and John Malick. Their generosity brought us very close to our goal.

Ces announced there is still time to make a gift. Now is the time to donate so committees can fully resume their activities post-pandemic. To pay online go to www.oakland-rotary.org/donate . Choose Oakland Rotary Endowment for your donation. Or mail a check to the Rotary office; an envelope was sent to every Rotarian earlier in the month.

District Governor’s Remarks – Richard Flanders

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced District 5170 Governor Richard Flanders who is making the annual visit to the club. District Governor Flanders has been a member of Pleasanton North since 1995, served as his club president in his third year of membership, and has also served as Assistant District Governor.  He has been the recipient of many Rotary awards for his many years of service including, the Lead the Way Award, the Richard King Award and the Karl Stucki Award. 

Governor Flanders noted that today will mark visits to 58 clubs, with just four more club visits on his list. He acknowledged that dealing with the COVID pandemic for the past two years has been challenging for Rotary nationwide. Many clubs have not had the opportunity to meet with one another for the past two years. He encouraged all of us, now that meetings are once again in person, to reach out and let members know they can attend meetings, and engage them to bring guests to meetings so that they can learn all the fine things that Rotary does in the community and around the world. 

He thanked our Club for our generous contributions to The Rotary Foundation that exceeded $175,000. We have also given $30,000 to Polio Plus and $6,000 to provide wheelchairs to those in need. He also thanked the club for our Feed The Hungry campaign and for funding scholarships. He invited us all to attend the upcoming District Conference at Blackhawk Museum in Danville on April 22 through April 24.  As part of the musical entertainment, we can hear our own Oakland Rotarians, Jason Wizelman and Linda Hamilton perform. There will also be interesting speakers and a House of Friendship on the 5th floor of the Marriott Hotel where we can mix and mingle with Rotarians from the District.

Governor Flanders concluded by sharing a heartwarming personal story about the worldwide reach of Rotary. When he was 11, his father died and his mother had the body cremated and interred in a Buddhist temple in Taiwan. His mother told him that she and his father one day would be together again. Six years after Mr. Flanders joined Rotary his mother died, and he and his brother undertook a journey to Taiwan to gather their father's ashes. Not being fluent in the  Chinese language, Mr. Flanders reached out to a friend in Rotary who contacted a Rotarian in Taiwan. This Rotarian met Mr. Flanders and his brother at the airport and drove them to the temple where their father's ashes were sitting on a table. The monk at the temple was unsure about presenting the ashes to Mr. Flanders until the friendly Rotarian took the monk aside. Twenty minutes later the monk handed the urn to Mr. Flanders. The friendly Rotarian was named Gary Huang, who later became the Rotary International President from 2014-15.

Speaker for the Day – David Montejano

President Dudley Thompson introduced our speaker, Professor David Montejano, who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and from Yale University with a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology. The professor has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of New Mexico. He is the former chair of the Center for Latino Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous scholarly tracts as well as three books: Angelos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, Sanchos Journal: Exploring the Political Edge with the Brown Berets, and Mexican Merchants and Teamsters on the Texas Cotton Road 1862 to 1865. 

Professor Montejano focused on the theme of how markets supersede war and gave examples of how commerce continued during the civil war. Southern cotton was sent to New England mills during the war to make Union uniforms. This was made possible by Mexico being neutral and the somewhat dubious machinations of a businessman named Charles Stillman who sold guns to Confederates and cotton to the Union by not labeling the goods, writing very little correspondence and taking advantage of British and French ships claiming neutrality by docking ships in the Rio Grande. Some of the goods were shipped to Havana, then transferred to another ship, then on to Liverpool and from there to New York. Stillman seemed to understand the concept of realpolitik before the term was invented. Professor Montejano’s books will continue the story. 


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:30 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, April 7 – Dilip Sarkar – Yoga and Western Medicine

Debo Sarkar announced next week’s speaker will be his brother, Dilip Sarkar, MD, FACS, D.Litt (Yoga) a retired vascular surgeon who holds certificates as a Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist. He is recognized as an expert in the integration of western medicine with Ayurveda and yoga therapy.

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