May 11, 2018

NEXT MEETING: May 11, 2018

Teen Moms Project Day

A friend of ours once took a swipe at the Rotary by calling it a “check-writing club.” It’s true that most of the good we do is accomplished through the money we donate to local organizations. Nothing wrong with that.

But it’s also true that our members enjoy hands-on projects—anything from planting trees in neighborhood parks to installing free smoke detectors in peoples’ homes. The Teen Moms project is another example.

Next Tuesday we’ll pack gift bags with diapers, baby hygiene products, blanket, books and, most critically, personalized letters from Richmond Rotary members.

We’ve been doing the project for some 13 years. Because it forges direct connections between teen-age girls and Rotary folks—our members also go to the schools to deliver the gift bags—this project is regarded as one of the most satisfying and effective ways in which Rotary makes a positive impact in our community. We urge you to be a part of it. Be sure to attend on Friday.


Alan Baer announced that the El Sobrante Rotary is hosting a pot-luck picnic at the Kennedy Grove Recreational Area, on San Pablo Dam Road, near the “hitching post.”  Starts at noon, all are invited. Map.

Rotary BARSHEEP TGIF party will be held Friday, May 25th, at a new spot: the Jumping Spoon Restaurant in Hercules. Contact Alan for details.

Your Rotary dues at work. And play.

A very cool project that your Rotary dues support is the ESCAPE Club at Lovonya Jean Middle School. (ESCAPE is an acronym for Environmental Science, Conservation and Photographic Excursions.) Our club has been helping students take field trips to beautiful locations surrounding the Bay Area since 1990. We recently received a photo report on the group’s latest “escape” to Alamere Falls, where the kids took “a fantastic hike along the coast to a most magical destination.”

This is just one way our contributions help create opportunities for the young people in our community.


MEETING OF May 4, 2018


President Connie presided over the meeting. She told us that the day before she was in Chacala, Mexico, working with several other Rotarians to make much needed improvements to local elementary schools. “Fresh off the boat,” she also gave a strong plug for getting involved in hands-on projects with the Rotary.
Herb Cole offered the invocation. He spoke the formula, “peace, freedom, and justice,” that calls out qualities that seem to be short supply these days. Gotta work on that.

Rotarians with Guests

Jan Brown introduced Alahmbra High School teacher, Kathy Logan as her guest. And Jerry introduced his friend, Andy Santamaria, a radio program host (among other things).

Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars

David Brown had dollars both happy and sad. Starting with the sad, he informed us that Dan Tanita had suffered a “relatively minor” heart attack last week. Dan is doing well but, we hope, heeding the event as a warning. On a happy note, David told us that Captain Mark Gagan of the Richmond Police had been reinstated to the department, after having been fired from the department for an alleged infraction concerning the leak of information in a police report.

Hank had also had both sad and happy dollars. He regretted missing last week’s meeting, attended by a large contingent of guests from Richmond’s sister city, Shimada, Japan. Hank has been involved with the sister city program for many years, and has hosted guests from Shimada.

But Hank was happy to see Joe and Rita Bagley, who made the trek from their new digs in Prescott, Arizona. He conveyed the Bagley’s good wishes and said they would be happy to welcome you if you’re ever out that way.

Jan was happy to be headed to Barcelona this week. We’ll miss her leadership on the Teen Mom’s Project but Darlene Quenville has stepped up to the responsibility in stellar fashion.

Mey also had happy dollars, glad to be here after her own trip to Barcelona.

Nick joined Mey in the “glad to be home” sentiment, after spending 5 weeks in Berlin.

“Who Am I?” presentation

Our newest member to the club gave her “Who Am I?” presentation. We learned that Tamara Shiloh has deep roots in Richmond. She attended Peres Elementary School, was part of the first graduating class from John F. Kennedy High School, earned an associates degree at a local college, and now makes frequent use of her “PhD in Life Experience.”

As an author, for the past 20 years Tamara has focused her talents on writing children’s books about African American inventors, scientists and other notable men and women who have contributed to America’s history. Tamara emphasized that “Black History” is really “just history.” Remove that adjective, a well-meaning corrective for the biases of the past, and we can better see the reality: that African Americans have been an integral part of our country’s history from its very start. Tamara’s professional life has been dedicated to helping people, and especially children, recognize that fact.



The Multicultural Children's Bookstore in Richmond

Tamara seamlessly wove her “Who Am I?” talk and today’s presentation into a single fabric. Last year, the author/advocate started a business whose mission is to help children of all ethnic, religious and gender orientations to see themselves as part of our society. Tamara began the Multicultural Children’s Bookstore as a “pop-up” store in Hilltop Mall, organized with the Richmond READS program. But after her initial lease expired, the mall’s management asked her to establish the business as a regular store.

Photograph of Tamara Shiloh, Deborah Day and Robin Wilson in front of shelves at the Multicultural Children's Bookstore.

The 3 Amigos: Tamara Shiloh, Deborah Day and Robin Wilson

The store is stocked with books that reflect the experiences of African American, Latino, Asian, Native American, and Middle Eastern people. Children will also find books about LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

Tamara described two ways in which we can help our children read books that broaden their understanding of the world’s diversity. The first is by hosting a “Wine, Cheese and Books” event at the Multicultural Children’s Bookstore. If you arrange for 10 friends to come to the bookstore during its regular hours, Tamara will provide the wine and cheese. You and friends may (and almost certainly will) be inspired to buy books for your kids and grand kids. Win, win.

The second way to support an awareness of the values of living in a diverse and pluralistic society is by sponsoring an elementary school classroom through the purchase of books. Tamara will be delighted to discuss either of these options with you.

The Multicultural Children’s Bookstore is located at Hilltop Mall, 2325 Hilltop Mall Road in Richmond. You’ll find it on the 2nd floor between Zumiez and Macy’s. Hours: Close Monday and Tuesday. Open from 11AM to 7PM on Weds.-Sat., to 6 PM on Sundays. Phone: 510 322-4781.

Nick Despota, pinch-hitter scribe