ALLISON CAGLEY (Friends of Sacramento Arts) offered welcome to the following guests:
- Jennifer Martindill, of Cambria Solutions: Information and Technology Services;
- Lea Miller, CEO -Habitat for Humanity, guest of PAST PRESIDENT SUSAN SHERIDEN;
- Jud Riggs, Manager of Teichert, guests of PAST DISTRICT GOVERNOR FRED and NANCY TEICHERT.
JAMIE FURLONG (Bangerter Financial Services) shared her thought for the day, a short poem by Nikki Giovanni, author of 28-some books, called Allowables:
I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her
I don’t think
To kill something
Because I am
JAMIE suggests we not be frightened, because fear kills creativity and collaboration. For example, if we fear public speaking and avoid those engagements, we miss a multitude of opportunities. Safety should not be our goal, we need to be brave and to take advantage of the many opportunities that come our way. JAIME provided a practical illustration by describing how to safely remove a spider from her garden with a paper cup – without harming the spider. JAIME’S seemingly simple thought for the day has very profound implications when this fear is related to competing political beliefs or different ideologies or race. This is explained further by our speaker MS. CASSANDRA PYE, as she discussed ho to combat racial and other bias or prejudice.
In other very exciting news, rather than lead the club in the pledge, PRESIDENT KEVIN noted that today’s meeting was truly special. Early that morning, PRESIDENT KEVIN witnessed SULAF AL-AJEELI (Rotary Club of Sacramento – Staff) and her family: husband Saad Al Azzawi, daughter Anne Al Azzawi and son Mohammed Al Azzawi, take the oath and be sworn in as American citizens. Then, KEVIN called upon SULAF to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, which brought the mists to this writer’s eyes.
PRESIDENT KEVIN reminded the club that the longest-running fundraiser in all of Rotary worldwide, Golf 4 Kids, is damning the COVID19 torpedoes this Friday in a new and different guise – PRESIDENT KEVIN encouraged everyone bid on great bid items and, of course, to golf in social-distanced, staggered fashion. He also reminded that there is a special putt opportunity – with the winner who sinks the putt extracting $250 from PRESIDENT KEVIN’S wallet in support of the cause. There are time slots still available, so come out and have some fun with us and benefit kids in our community!
The first special Club Announcement for the day came from the Diversity/Inclusivity Committee; a reminder that the Inaugural Meeting is August 11, 2020, at 4 P.M. via zoom – contact ALLISON CAGLEY, if you’d like to participate!
The second special announcement came from Loaves & Fishes – PRESIDENT KEVIN noted with admiration that we have a full crew to serve meals this week! PRESIDENT KEVIN commended those serving for their untarnished resolve to serve the homeless and less fortunate in our community despite the ongoing pandemic.
Recapping the good news of the day, we have the following Rotarian who gifted today, overwhelmingly in honor of Sulaf and her family becoming US Citizens.
- Crooked Mile $1,000
- Excalibur $500
- Golden Egg $250
- Pirate $100
- Magic Beans $25-$99
- STEVE HUFFMAN (Huffman Strategy, retired) committed $100, saying that the new RI president is a gent from Germany, who, allegedly, is a “fun guy.” While wondering if that was possible, he suggested that our local fun guy (or fungi?), PRESIDENT KEVIN SMITH-FAGAN, was every bit as good – and, to drive that point home, STEVE and PRESIDENT KEVIN spoke like pirates. German pirates? I think not.
- JOHN GORALKA (Goralka Law Firm) contributed $250 to become a Golden Egg in honor of SULAF.
- FRED TEICHERT and NANCY TEICHERT each contributed $250 in honor of SULAF.
- TOM ENGEL (Sacramento Airport, retired) contributed $100 in honor of first great-grandchild, and another $100 in honor of SULAF.
- DIANE WOODRUFF (CA Community Colleges, retired) – did her best pirating sans eyepatch to honor SULAF with a $100 contribution.
- RIVKAH SASS (Sacramento Public Library) contributed $100 to honor SULAF, but opted to wait for ‘Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day” in September.
- MARK LUHDORFF contributed $100 honoring SULAF and another $250 to celebrate starting a new job.
- BOB MILLER (First American Community Credit Union) acknowledged that his beloved Dodgers and a Giants Little League team battled to a draw, so he’s in for $100 for Golf 4 Kids and he’s also adding an extra $100 toward his Eddie Mulligan in honor of a recent work promotion.
TINA REYNOLDS (President- Uptown Studios, Inc.) provided the introduction of CASSANDRA PYE, sharing that she’s brilliant and experienced, and that TINA is her “#1 Fan Girl.” Tina asked us to help her welcome an award-winning writer, a savvy politician, and TINA’s friend!
CASSANDRA PYE (VP Lucas Public Affairs) opened by acknowledging friends in the crowd – RIVKAH SASS and FRED and NANCY TEICHERT.
She began her comments by asking the attendees to reflect on George Floyd. His murder confirmed fears many African Americans knew already, but for many it was a jolt, revealing our country’s continuing bias both conscious and unconscious. “This is a wake-up call,” CASSANDRA said, noting that this experience made her even more aware of her own vulnerabilities. CASSANDRA has had to “lean in,” in ways that she and others in the African American community are tired of doing yet again. She offered several slides suggesting actions leaders could and should take, if they’re serious about addressing our country’s history and acceptance of racism.
CASSANDRA PYE: What you can do to combat bias:
- Business leaders – this is a moment of reckoning and responsibility.
- Edelman Trust Barometer: Survey in 28 markets: 63% of adults in America are very concerned or extremely concerned about systematic racism and racial injustice.
- Brands/companies issue statements of support, but action is vital. Brands must ‘get their own house in order’ – set an example, reflect full diversity in their communications, make products accessible and suitable to all communities.
- What to do first? Understand bias, inclusion and belonging and how they impact your company – everything from who gets hired, who gets promoted, who sits on the leadership team.
- Look inside and take an honest and transparent look at your operation. Do you reflect eh communities where you operate?
- Look outside – where are there new opportunities to recruit, hire, education, train people of color?
- Accountability: are you rewarding leaders for driving change or rewarding the status quo?
- What next?
- Get trained – especially around implicit bias
- Learn about structural racism
- Think about where you invest
- PYE suggests this will be hard – and, if it’s not, we’re not taking on the job as seriously we should. We are all here with a lot of privilege and thus we’ll need to acknowledge and sacrifice that. Ms. Pye also offer the follow quote: “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” -Charles Barkley
- PYE then suggested we have an open conversation. PRESIDENT KEVIN curated questions from the club: He opened by noting there are several reasons the club would want greater diversity among its members, yet asked what would make African American leaders want to be part of our club. Ms. Pye suggests “strength in numbers” – we can’t bring in one or two; there needs to be intentionality to bringing in several members as essential parts of the fabric of the club. If we can’t, we won’t succeed. She also suggests we look to “the next generation,” getting younger people engaged. The “oldheads” need to make room for the younger generation and to be prepared to listen and learn from what this new generation thinks and feels and engaging in more cross-generational discussions. She challenged each of us to show our leadership and engage in those discussions – do it here, now, in the next 48 hours.
PRESIDENT KEVIN noted our new Diversity/Inclusivity Committee and asked about books MS. PYE could recommend for the club to consider. She’ll suggest some resources, but she also called out a PBS Documentary: The House We Live In.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE about the house we live in.
He asked how Sacramento compares to other cities in integration, diversity and inclusivity. MS. PYE loves Sacramento and notes it is diverse, but there are real, but insufficiently taken, opportunities to build a more diverse and inclusive leadership. It will take all of us, including organizations like Rotary, to commit, persist, and act to get there.
- PYE suggests we “call in” – inviting people into conversations, rather than to “call out” behavior or speech that reflects poorly and/or is unproductive. She says, “We’re all swimming in the same polluted water.” She recommends we all take the Implicit Aptitude Test at Harvard:
PRESIDENT KEVIN thanked MS. PYE for her observations and an excellent discussion. We hope to use this food for thought to make an immediate positive difference. PRESIDENT KEVIN reminded us that we are to respond to CASSANDRA PYE’S challenge in the next 48 hours to show an act of leadership, and he concluded the meeting at 1:03 pm with a recommendation, reflecting JAMIE FURLONG’s Thought for the Day, that we not kill something because we’re frightened.
Mark your calendars for next week’s meeting to hear our special guest speaker Lauren Gustus give us a journalist’s scoop on Legitimate News Source in a Fake News Era. Lauren Gustus hails from McClatchy Publishing Company, who partners with our local Sacramento Bee newspaper. CLICK HERE to read Lauren’s Article on why the transition to digital will not save local news – and what you can do to help. She is sure to give us some food for thought in this era of mass media!
CLICK HERE to read more about Lauren Gustus!