NEXT MEETING: July 12, 2013
Cliff Dochterman on the Rotary commitment to service
Cliff Dochterman, Past Rotary International President and a man of extraordinary oratorical ability, will discuss Rotary’s contributions worldwide… and your role in forming that big picture.
MEETING OF June 28, 2013
Today was Jim Young’s last meeting as President. The “lame duck”, so-to-speak, was forced to ring the bell twice to get everyone’s attention. Once that was accomplished, Mark Howe led us in the pledge of allegiance and Jim asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth—and the eradication of polio.
We were graced by the presence of visiting Rotarian Dudley Thompson from Oakland Club, #3.
Rotarians with Guests
Jim introduced his lovely wife Linda and his eldest son Zeb, both visiting with us today.
Jim announced the unexpected passing of Howard Cohen, Cantor at Temple Beth Hillel Chone. David Brown was not in attendance today due to his presence at the funeral.
- Outgoing president Jim reported that he would be transferring $24,000 to Liliane’s administration upon his departure, four times the projected amount.
- Incoming president Liliane officially assumes the reins of power on July 12th. Congratulations, Madame President.
- The district conference will take place on July 13th.
- Despite Mr. “Outta the Box” Jim’s insistence on having a program on his last day as President, he will not wiggle out of his “roast”!
Rotary Peace Fellow, Dr. Lee-Anne Mulholland... and the Demotional Roast
Dr. Lee-Anne Mulholland, a Rotary Peace Fellow graduate from the Berkeley program, was today’s guest speaker. Dr. Mulholland is a barrister in Great Britain and practices law in California. Being a resident of Northern Ireland, Dr. Mulholland was closely involved in helping to end “The Troubles” that plagued the region for decades.
Living through this turmoil, Dr. Mulholland’s parents taught her that she would never achieve justice through violence. Instead they stressed that people really listen to you only after you’ve earned their respect. Justice, she learned, comes through peaceful means, not through guns and bombs.
The segregation of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland made retaliation the rule and violence commonplace. This social climate fostered her interest in human rights, and lead Dr. Mulholland to law school at Queens University in Belfast, where she studied alongside students with opposing political views.
In the city of Derry in 1972, the Catholic minority organized a peaceful civil rights march modeled after those in Berkeley. In response the government sent in war-hardened paratroopers who opened fire on the crowd, killing 13, including 7 teenagers. The events of “Bloody Sunday” lead thousands of otherwise peaceful citizens across the social spectrum to join the IRA, which openly espoused the use of violence. Because Britain refused to investigate the incident, many in Northern Ireland gave up hope for a peaceful resolution.
After Dr. Mulholland graduated from law school, she was accepted to the Rotary Peace Fellow program, and attended UC Berkeley. Here she immersed herself in the legal dimensions of human rights. She was invited to join an international team established to investigate the events of Bloody Sunday. This work led her to interview top leaders of the IRA and Sinn Fein, numerous witnesses to the event, and Britain’s Prime Minister. The final report concluded that the marchers had been unarmed and peaceful, and that they were fired upon without provocation. This finding lead British prime minister, David Cameron, to make a formal apology on behalf of the United Kingdom. This act of sincere acknowledgement and apology opened the door to peace in Northern Ireland.
Dr. Mulholland now works for a California law firm that tries human rights cases around the world. She praised the Rotary Peace Fellow program for the opportunity it gave her to help bring peace to her home, and for its contributions to peace around the world.
But alas, as fascinating as Dr. Mulholland’s presentation was, she was unable to upstage…
We learned many things about our very own Jim Young, as Tom “Merlin” Waller conjured up the past. The Merlin began by inviting us to ponder the mystery of Jim’s straw hat. We were all invited to assist by donning our own straw hats, thoughtfully distributed by the Merlin’s assistants, Don Lau and Alan Baer.
Next exhibit: a faded photo of a young boy, face smeared with blueberries. Not a few in the group voiced other theories. Are those really blueberries on Jim’s young face (or is that “Jim Young’s face”?) Whatever. But given his shaky eating skills, the now-older Mr. Young was fitted with a bib. Befitting.
Another exhibit truly astounded us: photos of train tunnels. A favorite stunt of the young Mr. Young was plastering himself against the sides of tunnels as trains zoomed past. Normal boyhood thrill-seeking — or missing gene? You decide.
Revelations continued. Wizard Waller exposed Jim’s early aspirations as a guitarist and crooner, in honor of which Joe “Swampy” Bagley strum and sang an original musical interlude.
The Wizard probed still deeper. Jim’s long (as in 6th-year senior) and illustrious career as a landscape architecture major at Cal Poly Pomona included a stint as student body president. This being the hippie era, the Wizard “illustrated” his story with the sight of Jim being topped by an Afro, crowned in a red bandana, and pasted with a Frank Zappa moustache.
In the late 60s a branch of the Bank of America in Santa Barbara was burned. When students began pressuring Jim, the student body president, to close the Student Association accounts with the bank, Jim saw an opportunity. Plying his now familiar why-not attitude, Jim contacted the Chairman of BOA and urged him to “stop the war” if he didn’t want any more of his branches burned down. Then, in succession: a limo ride. Jim and Chairman share a fancy lunch. The Chairman testifies before Congress. And, perhaps suspiciously, the war ends. You connect the dots.
Jim and bride Linda then moved to Berkeley. Unfortunately Jim failed to get into graduate school. But he did succeed in becoming the Student Relations officer at the U.C. Berkeley branch of the Bank of America. (Surprise, surprise.) So with heart-breaking sympathy, Swampy performed a somber tribute to Jim’s grad school disappointment. An volley of banker jokes followed.
Jim’s year as Rotary President came to an end with accolades for his many achievements: the Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle performances, Paul Harris awards for his family members, his efforts in the St. Louis-based Peace and Justice Network, and his leadership in aligning his presidential year with the Rotary’s Peace through Service theme.
Congratulations and thanks for everything Jim!
Lynn Martin- Your Roving Rotary Reporter