By Marcos Farto, president of the Rotary Club of Marília Coroados, Brazil
As a member of Rotary for 11 years, I’ve seen how members put Service Above Self. Never has this been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we all became aware of how vulnerable life can be and how much we depend on each other.
Many have stepped forward. And out of that need to help, a beautiful story of collaboration and partnership emerged.
I first met Brett at the Rotary International Conference in Atlanta back in 2017 when he was strolling through the House of Friendship with a surfboard under his arm. Brett, a native San Diegan and Past President of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, recalls that the moment we met “I knew we’d become friends and that we needed her on board.”
By Katey Halliday, Rotaract Club of Adelaide City, South Australia, Australia, and a member of Rotary International’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce
As a leading community service organisation, Rotary absolutely has a role to play in advancing reconciliation efforts. We exist to serve the community, and to do this well, we must have an understanding and appreciation for Indigenous communities.
Australia is made up of hundreds of different Indigenous nation groups; each with their own culture, customs, language, and laws. Based on Kaurna land on the Adelaide Plains, the Adelaide City Rotaract Club are the first within Rotary to have developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), endorsed by the not-for-profit organisation Reconciliation Australia.
By Randy Bretz, Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
A woman from Africa and her six children will soon have a new home in Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks to our Rotary club and Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln.
Construction will begin soon on the home for Martha and her children, giving them a place to live that isn’t cramped and even with a yard for the family to enjoy. Martha’s salary can only afford a two-bedroom apartment, but with the help of nearly $40,000 from our club, Habitat for Humanity will be able to construct a three-bedroom home on a lot in Lincoln that she can afford to buy.
By Gundula Miethke, Specialist, Regional Content and Communication • Europe/Africa at RI Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA
Imagine Rotary” is the 2022-23 presidential theme that RI President-elect Jennifer Jones revealed on 20 January. She is asking Rotary members to dream big and take action: “We all have dreams, but acting on them is a choice. Imagine a world that deserves our best, where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.”
The logo for the theme was designed by Riki Salam, an Australian artist and graphic designer specializing in contemporary Indigenous art, design, and communications. He also created the 2023 Rotary International Convention logo which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, thus connecting the two by a shared visual language.
By S Marathe (full name withheld upon author’s request)
As a young Rotary member who has lived with a vision impairment, I have come to understand the importance of allies. An ally is anyone that actively aspires to be inclusive and is intentional through their thoughts, actions, and words to consciously promote a respectful and inclusive culture.
Many organizations are actively attempting to address the low employee representation across minority groups of gender, culture, and disability and are adopting a range of strategies. But many times, it’s the day-to-day actions that make the most difference. For International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December, I wanted to share some of the characteristics that make a great ally. Continue reading →
A decade ago, Jackie Huie and members of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, launched a program that has helped hundreds of local high school students learn more about their dream careers by connecting them with professionals in those fields. The program is still running strong. And Huie talks about the value of the program, and what she loves about Rotary in this podcast. Learn more about the program at https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-pairs-students-top-mentors
Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.
By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
Like countless others I imagine, I watched the compelling events to celebrate the birthday of Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, or as he is also fondly known, “The Arch.”
What struck me almost immediately was how the messages from the internationally respected leaders departed from the usual gushy sentimental birthday tributes so loved by celebrities. After short heartfelt tributes to their dearest Arch, South African Professor Thuli Madonsela; Graça Machel, widow of two heads of state (Nelson Mandela and Mozambique’s Samora Machel); and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and past UN Special Advisor on the Environment, all leapt straight in with some serious no holds barred truth telling.
By Kristin Brown, past president, Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse
We ride so that others may walk. I don’t know who said it first, but the phrase has become a tagline for Rotary cyclists around the world, pedaling for PolioPlus, logging miles, and raising funds in the global effort to fully eradicate this disease.
My husband, Mahmoud, and I are looking forward to returning to Tucson, Arizona, for my seventh and his fifth Ride to End Polio. It would be my eighth and his sixth ride if everything hadn’t ground to a halt with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. For all kinds of reasons, getting back on the bike this year is an important statement: of Rotary’s determination to finish what we started 36 years ago and of our collective determination to reclaim our lives after 18 months of relative isolation.
Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a task force charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principles throughout the organization. This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from DEI Task Force members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.
Jeremy Opperman joined the Rotary Club of Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2020. He was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a deteriorating eye condition which results in total blindness. He speaks, writes, and consults widely on topics including achieving disability confidence in organizations; making a business case for universal access; and taking a strategic approach to disability inclusion. Read his full bio.