DEI is a difference maker

Kumar leads discussion in front of a room full of other members
Mohan Kumar, right, leads discussion sessions in his club designed to let everyone share their ideas.

By Mohan Kumar, charter president, Rotary Club of Bangalore Prime, India

I was given the opportunity to establish a plan aimed at increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our club as the chair of our DEI taskforce.

We have found that when we approach millennials or women to join Rotary, they look at the level of diversity in our club. We are a four-year-old Rotary club with 34 members, seven who are women. For the current Rotary year, we also have women serving as president, secretary, and treasurer. We have just one member below the age of 40 and six members in the range of 40-49. Through this lens, we knew that we could do better and be more relevant in the communities we serve.

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Ending racism, building peace

By Geoffrey Diesel and Kathy Doherty, co-founders of the Racial Equity Project

The two of us met as Rotary Peace Fellows during the inaugural cohort of Peace Activators in North America. We made a commitment to provide training, education, and support to the Rotary family on the framework of Positive Peace. The initiative grew out of Rotary’s strategic partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think tank dedicated to measuring Positive Peace defined as the “attitudes, institutions, and structures that uphold peaceful societies.”

Peace activators in the US were already addressing racism in this country, but the murder of George Floyd in 2020 served as catalyst for further action. In October of that year, we co-founded the Racial Equity Project (REP), a subcommittee of peace activators in North America, committed to studying ways to create a more peaceful society through antiracism.

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How I found a sense of belonging in Rotary

Maricler Botelho de Oliveria, left, takes part in a program promoting Rotary in Brazil.
Maricler Botelho, right, takes part in a program promoting Rotary in Brazil. Maricler says the support and acceptance she has found in Rotary has given her a sense of belonging and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to inclusion.

By Maricler Botelho, a member of the Rotary Club of Marilia-Pioneiro, and assistant governor of District 4510

When I share my Rotary story, it is one of recognition, support, and acceptance. I believe it also tells the story of Rotary’s commitment to inclusion.

I was born in Tupi Paulista, in the countryside of São Paulo, and grew up in the northern part of the state of Mato Grosso, in the city of Juara. I come from a simple family that set a high value on respecting others. I had to move about 600 miles away from my town to pursue my desire to be a lawyer. I’m the first on my mother’s side of the family to get a college degree. Our socioeconomic status created real limitations, which is why I grew up accepting a feeling that I didn’t really belong. Then I was introduced to Rotary.

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Pioneering diversity and inclusion in Cupertino

Rotary Club of Cupertino
Members of the Rotary Club of Cupertino during a visit by 2021-22 District Governor Richard Flanders.

By Hung Wei, past president of the Rotary Club of Cupertino, California, USA, and District 5170 Governor-Nominee

When members in my district think of past district governor Don Allen, we remember a generous, kind, and intelligent person. This gentleman was a pioneer in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) by growing Rotary’s impact through encouraging Rotary clubs to reflect their community.

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Creating a welcoming club environment

Tom Gump at IA
Tom Gump addresses incoming leaders at the International Assembly in January.

By Tom Gump, past governor of District 5950, and a Member of Rotary International’s Membership Growth Committee

I love August because it is the time of year when Rotary looks seriously at the topic of membership. We are a membership organization and as such, we need members to grow and expand our impact. Service is the avenue by which we make a lasting impact in our communities and how we keep our members engaged.

There are at least three methods of strengthening membership. We can pour energy into attracting new members. We can focus on engaging existing members. And we can form new clubs that serve distinct needs and serve as a magnet for attracting still more members. At different times and places, our Rotary International presidents have focused on all of these aspects of membership.

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