Oakland Rotary News

You are here


Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,390th Civic Thursday meeting of the 3rd 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– Derreck Johnson

As a member of the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Committee, Derreck Johnson encouraged all of us to practice the DEI principles - use respectful language, be supportive, foster a welcoming and inclusive environment and celebrate diversity in our daily lives. He also wished everyone a Happy Pride Month.

Visiting Rotarians & Guests

Kristine Watson introduced and welcomed Michelle Ingram from the Alameda Rotary Club. Renia Webb introduced Janani Ramachandran who is running for Oakland City Council District 4. Gary Flaxman welcomed his guest, Jerry Lazarus.

Meeting Sponsor – Lorna Padia Markus – Mowat Mackie & Anderson

Past President Lorna Padia Markus reminded all of us that being a meeting sponsor is a terrific way to promote your business or non-profit and contribute to the club. CPA’s are busy all year long, consulting, planning tax strategies, trying to understand and make sense of new changes to the tax code and how that applies to their clients. She also emphasized the value of working with a tax professional who can assist with future planning and making sure you are following current tax laws. She observed the profession has suffered some attrition due to COVID and requested that if any of us know accountants who work to contact her. She noted that the reason her company, Mowat Mackie & Anderson, has been successful for the past 40 years is because of the care and attention provided and nurturing relationships with clients.

Saroni-Lena Scholars

Committee Co-Chair Steve Blair announced first and foremost, the committee has been renamed the Oakland Rotary Scholarship Committee awarding the Saroni-Lena scholarships. This year’s recipients, their high school, their nomination for an outstanding teacher, their college of choice, intended major and Rotary mentors who are committed to seeing them through four years of college are listed here: 

1. Nazario Ambrocio Jimenez attended Skyline High School and nominated Ms. Monica Vu. His mentor is Steve Blair.

2. Amanda Chieng attended Oakland Tech and nominated Ms. Ray’Von Jones. She will attend UC Berkeley and major in psychology. Her mentor is Janice Brickley.

3. Elizabeth Dang attended Oakland Tech and nominated Ms. Ray’Von Jones. Her mentor is Riza Hernandez.

4. Paula Pablo attended Oakland Unity High School and nominated Mr. PJ Nguyen. Her mentor is Diane Schaffer.

5. Lorenzo Drilleau-Craft attended Oakland Tech and nominated Mr. Jeremy Sutton. He will attend UC Irvine and hopes to major in literary journalism. His mentor is Pat Williams.

Dreyan Paul attended McClymonds High School and nominated Mr. Satoshi Suga. He will attend San Diego State and study nutritional science. His H.O.P.E. mentor, Gary Flaxman, will continue to be his mentor.

Adrian Segura attended Oakland High School and praised his teacher, Raven Mangiante. He will attend UC Berkeley and study computer science. He is interested in getting a teaching credential at Cal Teach. His mentor is Fred Morse.

Jose Valencia nominated Ms. Fukumoto. Ralph Sklar will be his mentor.

Bryce Walker attended Skyline High and nominated Ms. Monica Vu. He will attend San Diego State and is interested in obtaining a degree in African American studies. Gary Flaxman will be his mentor.

Fanny (Jeanne) Zhu attended Skyline High School and will attend UC Berkeley to study sociology. She nominated Mr. Shane Durkan and her mentor will be Kristina Brouhard.

Before the Rotary meeting today started, students, teachers and Rotarians enjoyed a little celebration party. Congratulations to all of the scholarship students!

Epic Hike – Part 3

Past President Robert Kidd invited all Rotarians to join him on the third leg of the Epic Hike. On Sunday, June 26th, the hike will be 6+ miles through Redwood Regional Park. In August, the fourth and final leg of the hike will be from Chabot Regional Park to San Leandro. Please sign up on the Club Website Calendar.

Summer Solstice Mixer

Jesse Schmidt, chair of the Business Development Committee, invited everyone to attend the Summer Solstice Mixer on June 21st from 5:30-7:30 pm at the home of Giovanna Tanzillo.  The event is co-sponsored by the Business Development Committee and Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce. As a special treat, there will be a live performance by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Please sign up on the Club Website Calendar.


Oakland Chinatown Personal Safety Alarm Distribution: President Dudley reported we recently distributed 350 safety alarms to residents of Chinatown. In collaboration with the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Asians United, San Francisco Chinatown Rotary and the Rotary Club of San Francisco, we will be distributing additional safety alarms on Saturday, June 18 from 10:00 am to noon. The Oakland Police Department will offer a training presentation on personal safety and the collaborative organizations will distribute the personal safety alarms. We need volunteers at around 9:30 in the morning to affix lanyards to the alarms and stay to help show recipients how to use the alarms. Sign up on the Club Website Calendar to volunteer.

Rotary King Pins: Pres. Dudley also encouraged us to come out and bowl with the Rotary King Pins for six weeks starting on Wednesday, July 6th at The Plank. All levels of bowling experience are welcome. Contact Dudley for information and to participate. Last year the team came in 4th out of 15 teams.

Blood Donations Needed: He also reminded us to give blood when we can as the blood banks are always in need of contributions. Contact the American Red Cross for information.

Program for the Day – Fred Palmer

Greg Knight provided some background about our speaker today, Fred Palmer. Mr. Palmer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communications with an emphasis in marketing and business management from San Francisco State University. He is the founder and publisher of Outword Magazine, an award-winning LGBTQ magazine in its 27th year. He is the original founding member of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and the Rainbow Chamber Foundation and has served several terms as president on each board. He's worked with many community organizations doing special events and fundraisers; including PFLAG, Davis Pride, Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Sacramento LGBTQ wedding Expo, all helping to raise awareness for LGBTQ issues and bring in necessary funding. 

Fred and his team also created Sacramento Drag Queen Bingo, which has raised over $350,000 for local charities and is now managed by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. 

Mr. Palmer shared with us that he was raised in upstate New York in a military family and youngest of five boys. Despite a strict upbringing, his family supported him when he came out. He attended San Francisco State University at the height of the AIDS epidemic and became an activist. He discussed his struggles working in the telecommunications industry and initially having to live a double life; a boss suggested that a picture of his dog instead of a picture of his boyfriend on his desk might be more appropriate. He discussed businesses who actively solicited the LGBTQ community and advertised to them but also discussed pink washing, a practice in which companies pretend to be interested in the community.

He spoke about the origins of Pride Month and how it arose from the Stonewall Uprising in New York the summer of 1969. He emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion and why using pronouns are supportive of people who are transitioning. In addition, he shared his thoughts about the freedoms the LGBTQ community currently enjoys and how those may be at risk in the current political climate. He also shared his passion for providing scholarships to students and watching the amazing change in their lives.

President Dudley thanked him and announced a contribution will be made in his name to this year’s Rotary focus on the environment – ESRAG – The Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group.


Kristine Watson rang the bell for the Oakland Rotary Scholarship Committee.

Lorna Padia Markus rang the bell twice for the students and mentors honored today.

Steve Blair rang the bell for donors to ORE and the Scholarship Committee.

Dudley Thompson and Ruth Stroup rang the bell for Lorna Padia Markus.

Elida Scola and Greg Knight rang the bell for Fred Palmer and the LGBTQ community.

Our speaker, Fred Palmer, rang the bell three times for our scholarship program


President Dudley thanked everyone for participating and adjourned the meeting at 1:25 pm reminding everyone to Serve to Change Lives and don’t keep Rotary a Secret.

Next Meeting, June 16 – Joel Makower

Past President Michael Bruck announced next week’s speaker will be Joel Makower, CEO of GreenBiz, an Oakland company helping businesses transition to a green economy.

And on June 30th, you don't want to miss the demotion of President Dudley Thompson

Add new comment