banner
Bulletin Editor
Ruth Lundin
Speakers
Jun 27, 2022
Moon Brook Country Club
View entire list
 
 
Make Up Opportunities 
 
AM CLUB Hybrid meetings at Venue 31 - Meetings at 7:30 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.
 
FALCONER — Meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at 7 AM at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History located at 311 Curtis Street in Jamestown, New York
 
WESTFIELD / MAYVILLE — Currently meeting on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 5pm via ZOOM. Contact Janese Berkhouse at 716-397-8801 for Zoom details.
 
FREDONIA/DUNKIRK
Meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM - Zoom Teleconfrence Meetings - Effective until further notice - Fredonia, NY 14063
 
 
 
Committee meetings or social events can also be used as make-ups.
 
 
Advertisement for Russell Hampton
Advertisement for ClubRunner
Advertisement for ClubRunner Mobile
 
Today's Chair: President Kevin Sixbey call the meeting to order on a sunny, warming Monday.
 
Invocation: Joni provided thoughts on how Rotarians are called upon to share our wealth, which includes our talents and skills as well as our financial abundance.
 
Visiting Rotarians and Guests: Gene West was on Zoom
 
Announcements:
Raffle tickets. Kevin reminded us that the success of our fund-raiser for the Centennial Project, the West Main Street welcome sign, depends on each Rotarian selling at least their six tickets. There are only 500 tickets. Grand prize is $2,000, second prize is $1,000 and third is $500. We need to sell all the tickets to make our goal. Please let Kevin or Ruth know if you could sell additional tickets. Tickets should be returned by Friday, March 25 to be in the drawing on Monday March 28.
 
Farch. There will be no noon meeting on Monday, March 21, since we will be having a St. Patrick’s Day themed Farch party at 6 pm at Moonbrook Country Club.
 
Youth Exchange: We need three host families for the Exchange student who will be arriving in August. If you would be interested, or know a family who might be interested, please contact Cheri Krull right away. The Exchange committee would be fine with following up with prospective families if you will just let us know the names of people who you think would make good hosts.
 
New Member Induction:
Kevin introduced Dan Heitzenrater, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, who is sponsored by Greg Jones. Tory presented Dan his pin and plaque. Dan, who grew up in Chautauqua County and has served 3 County Executives, spoke of his connections to Rotarians. He lives here with his wife Jessica and Olive who is turning 3.
 
50/50 Winner: $31 to winner. Russ Diethrick donated it back to the pot. Thank you, Russ!
 
Happy Bucks:
Sally gave $5 for NOT winning the raffle.
Joni is celebrating that her daughter sent pictures in the wedding gown she will be wearing this fall.
 
Stories
Amit Taneja, Chief Diversity Officer of Chautauqua Institution
Amit Taneja, Chief Diversity Officer of Chautauqua Institution since May of last year spoke about his reception when he moved to the area, his early impressions of the area and his recommendations going forward. He also spoke about how his early life and career choices have given him exceptional insights for his duties. 
 
 
 
Tory Irgang introduced today’s speaker, Amit Taneja, Chief Diversity Officer of Chautauqua Institution, who had been asked to speak about his reception when he moved to the area, his early impressions of the area and his recommendations going forward.
 
Amit and his spouse moved here in May 2021. At CI, Amit oversaw the writing of Chautauqua Institution’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) strategic plan and takes an active role in staff hiring and training. He came from a scholastic background, where he focused on how the historically underprivileged do in college. He taught at Syracuse University. Once arriving, he quickly became involved in the Consortium for Creating an Inclusive CHQ County.
 
Amit first noted some aspects in his biography that gave him an exceptional foundation for his current position. He grew up in Amritsar, Punjab, India. His grandfather was vice president of a Rotary in Punjab, so he grew up with a knowledge of Rotary’s purpose. It was very relevant that Punjab was under a constant state of conflict between the Hindus and the Sikhs. He grew up experiencing attacks in the streets. To cope with this, families with two or more sons would raise half as Hindus and half as Sikhs to protect their household. His Grandfather was Hindu, while his brothers were Sikh. As a result, he has a unique perspective on fear of “the other”.
 
After high school, Amit’s family moved to Canada. In college, he entered the Engineering school. He started out as a remarkable student, with straight A’s. However, he then had a very difficult period when he came out as a gay man, had emotional issues and went from straight A’s to straight F’s. He asked the Dean of Engineering for a second chance and the dean flatly refused, saying each student gets one chance. This caused Amit to contemplate his future, thinking, “Maybe I need to be a dean”, believing that administrators should take the whole student into account. He followed the career path to college administration. He had found his calling in life, to open doors for marginalized students.
 
Amit was no stranger to Chautauqua County when he moved here. His in-laws live here and his family is in Toronto. So, in fact the position brings him closer to home.
 
As to his observations as an outsider moving to the area. On the plus side, local non-profits are amazing. This is very unusual, the way our non-profits collaborate. Faith communities are also welcoming and do so much in the community. Third, affordability is great. People have opened their arms and the County IDEA coalition is doing a great job. Finally, the beauty and landscape of the area is a great attribute.
 
However as a newcomer, it is difficult to find community. Having lived in larger communities, he noticed a difficulty finding his place, finding food and groceries to his tastes and people who had shared similar life experiences and interests.
 
The county challenges he noticed sound familiar:
  • Population is declining 575 people a year
  • Poverty, jobs and living wage
  • Ability to recruit talent
  • North/south divide
  • Red-blue divide (national problem)
  • Safety and belonging. The recent defacing and stealing of statues in Dow Park can have far greater ramifications than many perceive. It can cause marginalized groups to feel less secure of their place in the local tapestry.  How prepared are the schools to support diversity?
  • Ethnic food, grocery stores that provide ethnic food, or cultural organizations for ethnic populations. Keeping in mind that 1/3 health care workers are minorities, we need to recognize that to recruit new workers requires support groups.
  • Zero-sum thinking can retard efforts to bring new residents into the area.
  • The impact of COVID and re-emergence. What has been/will be the mental health impact?
OPPORTUNITES.
  • CHQ County IDEA Coalition which is moving the county to be more inclusive
  • Moral and business case. Leaders need to be able to articulate why inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility makes sense for our community, both morally and fiscally.
  • Healing divides. All community leaders speaking out against hate, against fear and demonizing of “others” so that we can build community and grow.
  • Organizational Commitments. Change should happen in each organization.
He listed three concrete steps for our members and our club to take:
1. Each local organization should set IDEA goals. Look at your business and civic organizations. Take the survey from County IDEA.
2. Healing divides. One immediate opportunity is being offered by the YWCA of Jamestown. They are partnering with the Library system and CI to have a group book read on the book Caste. The author, Isabel Wilkerson, will be speaking at Chautauqua Institution in July on a day that will be free for area residents.
3. Chautauqua County Refugee resettlement. Join with the New Neighbors committee to help bring refugees to Jamestown and to welcome them.
 
Q: Are you full time here? Yes, we are living in Ashville.
 
Q: Why don’t you use “JEDI” instead of IDEA? The J stands for justice. Justice is the outcome. IDEA is the pathway. Another reason to leave “justice” out, is that there is a concern that it is a touch stone, that people might turn their backs if they perceive the effort is becoming a “Social Justice” warrior.
 
Q: What does “diversity” bring to us? How will it benefit our community? People in general, and children specifically need to have the opportunity to meet different people. It gives them the ability to have empathy with someone different, providing a different perspective, especially when there is a consensus. Most Americans have no idea what war feels like. The only way to get a sense, short of experiencing it, is if you interact with someone who has experienced it.
 
It was noted that, when thinking about the contributions of refugees, think about some high-profile ones who made remarkable contributions: Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger were refugees.
 
A lot of refugees are refugees because they helped the United States while in their home country. We should support them. It is a formal, careful process and shouldn’t be a burden to our existing system.
Amit called on all Rotarians to please start having conversations.
 
Read more...