NEXT MEETING: March 17, 201

The Mindful Life Project

The Mindful Life Project was founded in 2012 to help address the deeply rooted social and emotional problems that plague inner-city schools. The project does this through training in mindfulness, expressive arts, yoga, and mindful hip-hop. Its goal is to empower students and teachers to develop a strong mindfulness practice that supports educational ecosystems where compassion, empathy, and kindness are the norm.

JG Larouche, executive director of the project, will describe how Mindful Life programs have helped thousands of students to develop self-control, elevate their self-esteem and experience more satisfaction in their schools and communities.



President Josh Surowitz called the meeting to order. Henry Moe led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Herb Cole asked for a moment of silence of peace, freedom and justice on Earth. Sid Chauvin had a thought for the day: Hospitality is the art of making your guests feel at home, which is where you wish they were.

Visiting Rotarians

  • Alan Test, from the San Francisco evening club, who has just moved to Marina Bay.
  • Mac Lingo from Berkeley.

Rotarians with guests

  • Jan Brown brought her husband, Byron
  • Jeff Mulvihill brought his wife, Sue
  • Jerry Feagley brought retired Richmond Fire Chief Al Nero, who has applied to join the Club!
  • Darlene Drapkin brought Matt Lewis, the ED of the Richmond Convention and Visitor Bureau.


Pam Jones encouraged sign-ups for the District Convention, March 24-26, at the Marsh Arts Center in Berkeley. Friday afternoon there will be assembly of backpacks for CASA, then a party. Backpack assembly is free, the party costs $15.

The Conference really gets going on Saturday the 25th. Among the speakers will be our own Mark Howe who will be talking about the Rotary Peace Garden. Rita Moreno is the luncheon speaker. Saturday night at 5pm there will be a beer reception, followed by dinner. Sunday will be the farewell performance of Mr. Rotary, Cliff Dochterman.

Josh Surowitz reminded everyone to check your emails for his announcement about Richmond Rotary’s school library project. There are opportunities to meet with school administrators to find out what their libraries need.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Syrian Children in New York City, 2011.

Syrian Children in New York City, 1911.

Immigration Policy under President Trump’s Executive Orders

Our President and immigration lawyer told us all about the recent turmoil and controversies surrounding immigration law and policy.

The “Muslim Ban”
President Trump’s first executive order did the following:

  • Barred all refugees for four months
  • Barred Syrian refugees indefinitely
  • Barred everyone from 7 mostly Muslim countries

This was rolled out without providing any training to the folks in the field, which resulted predictably in chaos and the stories we heard about lawful residents being denied re-entry into the country and visa holders being refused entry. Trump’s executive order was struck down by the courts because it discriminated by nationality, which is barred by Federal Law (although there is a law permitting the President to bar “groups”, which might conflict with the other law), and because is singled out Muslims. The latter was interesting in part because the Courts entertained evidence of statements made outside of the official process of creating and executing the executive order, such as Trump’s campaign promises to bar all Muslims from entering the country. The executive order, itself, gave express preference to “religious minorities”: Trump said that meant Christians, so the religious discrimination was not difficult to find.

The new executive order, issued in March, names only seven countries; Iraq is off the list. There is no religious minorities preference, Syrian refugees are not treated differently than refugees from anywhere else, and permanent residents are explicitly excepted.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
During the campaign, Trump said the first thing he would do is rescind President Obama’s executive orders creating DACA and DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. But he has not done so. Perhaps he is concerned about deporting children who have lived here their whole lives and about separating families.

Expedited Removal
Expedited Removal is the deportation of undocumented immigrants with no due process. It was created during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and applied to people caught within 100 miles of the border who had not been in the US for more than two weeks. The Trump administration has expanded it to people caught anywhere in the US and those who have been in the US for more than two years. Josh is concerned that people who are under the law entitled to due process will be removed expeditiously because they won’t be able to prove, within 24 hours, that they’ve been in the US for more than 2 years. Expect stories about US citizens being deported expeditiously.

- Josh Genser, Rotating Scribe