NEXT MEETING: April 29, 2016
The Y Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
After working for the YMCA for 33 years, Richmond Rotarian Don Lau will be retiring in December 2016. The West Contra Costa Y has been serving this community since 1918. What started out as a single facility on Macdonald Avenue has grown into a $15 million dollar operation, with 470 full and part-time staff providing services at 40 sites daily. The Y is for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility and provides a wide variety of youth and family programs that focus on those core objectives. Don will talk about the Y’s past, its current role and its future in our community.
Alan Baer is the presiding over the meeting in President Alan Blavins absence. Tom Waller was really happy to be here and to lead the pledge. George Egan led the moment of silence for Peace in the world. Sid’s thought for the day: Don’t die a virgin. Seriously there are terrorists waiting for you up there.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Jon Lawlis’s “guest” was Darlene Quenville.
Happy and Sad Dollars
The Tanita family experience during the WWII Internment of Japanese-Americans
Our speaker was our very own Richmond Rotary legend Dan Tanita. Dan spoke about Executive Order 9066, which ordered the internment of the Japanese Americans on the West Coast, regardless of citizenship, during World War II. Fred Korematsu was one Japanese American who fought the internment and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in a 6-3 vote held that the internment was constitutional. It was not until 1983 that the United States government finally cleared Fred Korematsu of the charges for not voluntarily going to the internment camps. Dan was involved in the committee to change Portola School to the Fred Korematsu School. After many meetings and explanations of who Fred was the school board approved the name change.
Dan also spoke about his family. Dan’s grandfather was a citrus farmer but after attended a revival he converted to Christianity and at 37 decided to become a Methodist Minister. He also talked about his uncle who never shook the idea of being arrested even though he was an American citizen and was attending college at the time of the internment. He was shocked that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor and saw the reaction of the American government to intern Japanese American citizens as fear and racism. He would equate the reaction to Muslims in Europe after the attacks recently there to the internment. The college his uncle attended contacted him at 86 years old and offered an honorary degree to him since he had been affected by the internment and he accepted it with honor.
Dan also told us that the executive order was only for the West Coast and his family was not directly affected since they lived in Arizona. He also mentioned that there was a big population of Japanese Americans living in Hawaii but there was no internment camps started there because the economy would have been greatly affected if the camps were started there.
- Henry Moe, Rotating Editor