PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE:  27 September 2018
When I started my first meeting as your Club’s President, I went out of my way to talk about the importance of diversity.  In fact, the very first item on that first day’s agenda was the reading of a children’s book titled “The Crayon Box that Talked.” Diversity is one of the many themes embedded within the story.  The secondary theme of that same meeting was membership.  Being the smart Rotarian that you are, I know that you were able to make the connection between diversity and membership and my goals for the year.
As a white, Christian male with an advanced degree from college, you probably wouldn’t guess that I have lived in a country where I experienced the life of a minority.  In fact, the official percentage of citizens in that country who were Christian was 0%, there was not a single official Christian church of any denomination, and my looks made it obvious that I was foreigner.  This experience helped me to learn empathy and gave me some limited insight into what life as a minority might be like. 
So how does this personal story relate to diversity?  What I have found is that we have to put in effort if we want to increase our diversity.  For example, last week, many groups, including our own, scheduled events on Yom Kippur.  This most holy day for the Jewish faith is overlooked by many.  In contrast, not too many people schedule meetings on Christmas Day.  Early on in my career, I learned that if you bring up a problem, you should also present a solution.  So, here is my simple solution to start our Club on the path of becoming a little more diverse.
My concept begins with a simple technological fix.  If you use an electronic calendar, add in religious holidays.  For years, I have had the official holidays of the United States downloaded on my electronic calendar.  However, this list does not include many religious holidays.  After a quick ‘Google’ search, I learned that religious holidays from the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, etc. can be downloaded too.  In other words, these holidays will be reflected on your calendar exactly like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, etc.  Obviously, there is more we can do after taking this initial step.
Do yourself a favor and go ahead and add these relevant calendars to your electronic calendar today.  If you use an old fashioned paper calendar, the most significant religious holidays are probably already included, but you should still check.  This simple exercise has the potential to save you some future embarrassment.   I use Microsoft Outlook and the attached image (you may need to magnify the picture) shows how simple this is.  If you need help, please let me know.  (As an aside, the background picture is of my boys in their Naval Sea Cadet Uniform.  If you have children or grandchildren, you should look into this on their behalf.  It is an amazing program.)
Changing topics, last week I had you read Bill Hoel’s District 6250 newsletter instead of viewing a short video.  This week I continue the short reading selection in order to complement this week’s message on diversity.  This link takes you to a brief history on Yom Kippur as told by the History Channel. 
The educational video that I am recommending this week is a TED talk titled ‘How to speak up for yourself’ by Adam Galinsky.  This video is 15 minutes long.
As a reminder, one of the reasons that I am including these links is that if you happen to be sitting with a table of Rotarians that you don’t know, but you have all experienced the same content, then the table will have a common experience with which someone can utilize in order to start a conversation.  Second, these links can be interesting, educational, funny, and/or address many topics and issues that are relevant to our lives.
Finally, invite someone to our Club’s meeting this week.  We have money set aside to cover the cost of your guests’ meals.