President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,385th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland. Founded in 1908, Rotary has over 36,000 clubs in 200 countries. Due to the recent surge in COVID, especially among some club members, this meeting is being held as a remote-only meeting. President Dudley encouraged the use of the chat function to all members and guests.
Past President Robert Kidd, filling a last-minute void, provided the thought for the day. Quoting T.S. Elliott, from the Waste Land, in recognition of the preceding month shared this: “April is the cruelest month, breeding/ lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/memory & desire, stirring/ dull roots and spring rain.” Thank you, Robert, for your willingness to always help when you are needed!
Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen was happy to introduce Keith Uriarte’s guest, Barry Donelan as well as Lance Knobel, CEO of CitySide.
Oakland A’s Game & Tailgate—Rumor had it that President elect-elect, Tom Limon was stuck in a store and unable to reach a computer to zoom into the meeting (hmmm…interesting excuse, Tom!) so President Dudley pinch hit and shared that we have 100 tickets for the A’s v. Boston Red Sox game on Sunday, June 5th, and, although he is pretty sure that Past President Sean Marx is good for about 50 of the tickets, he encouraged people to purchase tickets through the Club Website Calendar. As an incentive, Tom provides an excellent tailgate and Dudley is going to bartend! The tailgate starts at 11 am and the game at 1:10 pm.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee—Chair Celeste Gordon shared that Inclusion Consultant, Viva Asmelash, will facilitate our meeting on May 12th. This is a very special opportunity for members to shape the future direction of the committee’s work. The meeting is for members only and members are asked to pre-register for the meeting on the Club Website Calendar. Look for messages next week to prompt attendance and registration. Alternative, virtual sessions will be held on May 12th at 5:30 pm and May 19th at 5:30 pm. There is also a survey in development that club members will be receiving.
Bike the Bridges—Mark Rosen shared information on the upcoming bike ride, Saturday May 14th, that will travel over both the Benicia and Carquinez bridges. Interested members can register on the Club Website Calendar and should plan to meet at 8:30 am. The ride starts at 9 am.
Epic Hike, Part Three—Saturday, June 25th, Past President Robert Kidd will lead a hike through the Oakland Hills. This is the third of the four-part hike. Register through the website.
District Leadership Training—Rotary District 5170 is sponsoring District Leadership Training from May 16th—19th.
Safety Alarms Distribution—In collaboration with The San Francisco/Chinatown Rotary Club , San Francisco Rotary Club and Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, we will distribute safety alarms on May 28th and June 18th to residents in Chinatown. More information will be coming.
Nancy Williams introduced our newest Rotarian, Davey Warner. Davey, a former Rotarian in his former home, is a music communications graduate where he focused on guitar. However, he spent his summers facilitating wilderness and outdoor experiences leading to a career in outdoor recreation. A year ago, he followed his wife to the Bay Area where they are celebrating their first anniversary on May 15th. Welcome Davey! We will give you standing ovation when we are back together again!
Isaac Kos-Reed introduced our speaker of the day, Tasneem Raja. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Oaklandside, a new nonprofit newsroom serving Oakland, California that amplifies community voices, shares information resources, and investigates systems, not just symptoms. She was a senior editor at NPR’s Code Switch, a reporting team that investigates issues of race and identity in America. She founded and led a data journalism team at Mother Jones that built the first-ever database of mass shootings in America. She co-founded The Tyler Loop, a nationally recognized nonprofit community journalism and storytelling platform in East Texas. She lives in Oakland with her husband, her daughter, and two imperious terriers.
Tasneem discussed with us the importance of local news. Research has shown that local news strengthens democracy and builds healthier, local communities. The need is huge as 2,100 newspapers have folded in the last 15 years. Large hedge fund owners take over local newsrooms, make significant cuts and the newspapers then fail. To quantify the importance of local newsrooms, research also shows communities with local newsrooms have higher voter rates, less corruption, lower municipal bond rates, less polarization, and stronger, more engaged communities.
Their big idea is to strengthen democracy and community through a nonprofit that focuses on local news network that’s built to scale, serve and last. Currently they have an audience of over 500,000 who visit monthly and 53,000 newsletter subscribers. Built to amplify community voices, share information and resources and investigating systems, not symptoms they listen to Oakland residents.
After taking a few audience questions, President Dudley thanked Tasneem for her presentation and honored her with a contribution to the ESRAG.
Click here to watch Tasneem Raja's video segment.
Missed our meeting, but interested in checking out the next one? Click below to learn more. https://www.oakland-rotary.org/calendar
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