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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, June 9th, 2022

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.”

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.

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. 

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.

Click here to watch Fred Palmer'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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