NEXT MEETING: August 29, 2014
West County Reads!
West County Reads! (WCR) was founded in 2001 and is a collaboration of volunteers, key educational institutions, libraries and other organizations seeking to improve children’s literacy in Richmond and West Contra Costa. WCR currently collects and distributes about 10,000 books per year at community events and through innovative “Take One, Leave One” bookshelves at a number of locations where families gather. Richmond Rotary spearheads programs to address literacy needs, and Rotary and WCR collaborated on the Richmond Tales Fest. Despite these initial successes the needs are still great. The question is: Where do we all go from here to achieve greater improvements in children’s literacy in the area?
MEETING OF August 22, 2014
President Stoney Stonework called the meeting to order and asked Fred Collignon to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Sid Chauvin’s thought for the day was a quote from the Dalai Lama who said: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” Stoney called for a silent prayer for freedom, peace and justice on earth.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
There were no announcements at the last meeting so be sure to stay tuned!
Happy and Sad Dollars
Cops and Robbers
Pam Jones introduced Jinho “Piper” Ferreira, a rapper, actor and screenwriter. Piper is part of the group Flipsyde, an internationally acclaimed trio that toured with the Black Eyed Peyes and Snoop Dogg, and composed anthems for the 2006 and 2008 Olympics.
Piper grew up in Oakland and went to SF State University for Black Studies. In 2010, after touring and performing, he decided to join the Bay Area Law Enforcement Academy. The paradox of being a member of the Black community and a hip-hop artist, while simultaneously working in Law Enforcement, inspired him to write his solo play, Cops and Robbers.
Piper showed a music video called “Believe”, focused on two young children headed on the path to disaster until they were saved by the Reach Youth Center in Alameda County. He noted that cops were portrayed in a positive light – a first for a rap video!
In Cops and Robbers, Piper plays 17 characters and hopes to show a number of different perspectives that are believable. He wants audiences of all ages and backgrounds, including young people and those in prison, to see the people on stage as people, to make it possible to start the conversation about the issues in the play. We can’t begin finding solutions until we can talk about the problems, which include popular culture, economics, the education system and law enforcement. He ultimately hopes the play can be filmed so the message can reach a wider audience.
Piper also gave kudos to Richmond Rotary for ensuring a group of local youth will attend his show at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley on Friday, September 12th.
President Stoney added some thoughts at the end of the program about his experience living in Chicago several years ago while working for McDonald’s Corporation. He remembered the worthwhile initiative taken by local business leaders to go into school classrooms throughout the area to talk directly with students about alternative, positive pathways to productive and successful lives.
Stacey Street, Rotating Editor