Being a good ally to those with disabilities

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

What we can accomplish when we embrace diversity

A mother adjusts the strap on her son's new prosthesis.
A mother adjusts the strap on her son’s new prosthesis.

By K V Mohan Kumar, charter president of the Rotary Club of Bangalore, Prime, India, and an ambassador of the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation

As members of Rotary, we can show our support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) not only by our words, but by our actions. The way we design projects and include people of all backgrounds as volunteers and recipients speaks louder than words.

In 2021, three members of our district came together to plan a medical project that fitted individuals who had lost hands with free below-the-elbow prosthetics at a camp in Dharwad, India, in October. All three of these members were from different occupations and backgrounds; one a microbiologist, one a business entrepreneur, and one an IT project manager. Together in Rotary, they blended their unique skills to lead a project benefitting people from all backgrounds.

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Vaccination education for all our neighborhoods

Members of the Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA, spend Saturdays distributing information about vaccinations on door hangers in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

By Alex Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA

From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.

Most people have access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. But we discovered many minority residents do not. Motivated by a wish to help our fellow citizens, we partnered with our city government to inform this group.

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What you can do to make your club more LGBTQ+ inclusive

Grant Godino and members of the LGBT Rotarians and Friends Fellowship.

Grant Godino

By Grant Godino, president-elect of the LGBT Rotarians and Friends Fellowship and member of the Rotary Club of Strathmore, Australia

As I have started to share my ideas, opinions, and stories about LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, queer, and questioning) inclusion in Rotary, I have heard so many of our leaders say to me: “We’re a really decent club/district. We don’t have any bad people. So, we don’t have a problem. Right?” I’ve also heard things like “Why is Rotary doing something so political” and “There are no gay people in my community.” Continue reading

Rotaractors promote diversity, equity, and inclusion

A screenshot of the video Big West Rotaract created for the 2020 Rotaract Post Convention.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Rotary’s DEI statement, what DEI means, and how you can put it into practice in this 15-minute course in the Learning Center.

By Janel Breen, member of the Rotary Club of Cupertino and Rotaract Club of Silicon Valley, General Secretary of Big West Rotaract Multi-District Informational Organization

Let’s play a game. I’m American. What assumptions have you just made about me? My parents are Filipino immigrants. How have those assumptions now changed? 

Without realizing it, we make assumptions of people on the little we actually know about them. Everyone has some prejudicial beliefs. It’s how society taught us to think. After all, how did societies like mine define lighter skin as the universal truth for “beautiful”? But we CAN change it. We CAN confront these beliefs if we are intentional about it, but we can’t get defensive. We have to accept that our understanding of the world is changing and to do better with our new knowledge. Continue reading