President Dudley Thompson welcomed Rotarians and Guests to the 5,392nd Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland, and pointed out that this is the last meeting he will preside as next week is his demotion. In keeping with the Alameda County Health Department’s indoor masked mandate, President Dudley asked members in the ballroom to keep masks on when not eating or drinking. For those members participating via Zoom, President Dudley encouraged the use of the chat function.
Past President Sean Marx, provided the thought for the day (or some may characterize it as self-promotion!). Sean shared that he completes his Yoga Certification tonight after significant hours of work. He shared the most important concept of Yoga is ahisma or non-harmony. This concept is especially significant given the recent gun violence throughout the country, the war in Ukraine, and the threat to women’s reproductive freedom.
Jim Boessenecker introduced two visiting Rotarians present in the ballroom; Michelle Ingram of Alameda, who is considering joining the RCO and Roger Inverarity, a retired engineer from Adelaide, Australia. Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen, participating via Zoom, was happy to introduce Concha Delgado. President Dudley’s wife.
Keith Uriarte introduced our newest Rotarian, Ricka White-Soso. Ricka is a licensed clinical social worker with a master’s in social work.
Bruce Nye shared that he has been selected as the next chairperson of the Community Service Committee. He invited Rotarians to join the committee which meets the first Wednesday of the month.
President Dudley recognized Keith Uriarte for his work this past year. He served as membership coordinator and served on the Communications and DE&I committees. Congratulations Keith and thank you for your service to the club!
CJ Hirschfield introduced the speaker for the day, Lance McGee – Unique Derique, sharing his unique dual roles of a Trauma-Informed Wellness Coordinator and performance clown.
Lance began by asking the audience to participate in “fun faces and foolishness” which he uses as a warmup when working with a group. He then invited us to participate in a mindful moment where he led us on a guided meditation suggesting that we explore what we do for self-care, gratitude, and living toward a peaceful, happy and healthy life.
His journey began at home when he met a friend’s mother who invited him to attend clown class and he was hooked. He joined the Pickle Family Circus, attended college where he studied circus arts and received his BA. He focused on vaudeville and slapstick which informed his performance style. Lance met Sammy Davis Jr. at a performance. Sammy offered to manage his career and Lance opened for Lou Rawls and performed at the Apollo Theatre.
Eventually, Lance became disillusioned with the life of performing and went back to school in drama therapy. After graduating he went to work at East Bay Agency for Children where he observed children being punished in the classroom. He decided to revise his focus to work with staff and teachers as a Trauma-Informed Counselor. He advises teachers and staff on how they can bring a trauma-informed approach to the classroom and their work.
Click here to watch Lance McGee – Unique Derique's video segment.
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