Diversity Equity and Inclusion
Rotary District 7040’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee seeks to help clubs and their members  advance diversity, equity and inclusion within our district, our clubs, our membership, the individuals we touch, and the communities we serve.
Rotary International just issued language strengthening its statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). You can read it here. That update says Rotary is: “...committed to being honest and transparent about where we are in our DEI journey as an organization, and to continuing to learn and do better.”
 
How can our clubs take, action “…so that each person has the necessary access to resources, opportunities, networks, and support to thrive.” How can we individual Rotarians help to create an inclusive culture where each person knows they are valued and belong? Educate yourself. Talk with others. Expand your knowledge and strengthen your and your club's comittment to diversity, equity and inclusion by registering for the September 17th DTA session and attending monthly DEI committee meetings.
 
The District 7040 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee has written a Land Acknowledgement, taking into consideration the entire district. This is a “living” document, as it will continue to be edited and acknowledged.
 
We would also like to honour and mourn the many children being found at several residential schools across Canada, and those who have yet to be found.
Photo of Claire Slingerland’s reinstallation
 
June is traditionally called Pride month, or commonly “Gay Pride month.”  This is an annual celebration of the fierce joy of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, transitioning, non-binary, a-sexual, intersex or “other,” some of the wonderful variety of sexualities that makes up our human community. A good old catch-all adjective from my days as a young activist in the 1980’s and 90’s is “queer,” which is a word I am comfortable calling myself.
 
By Dârini Vedarattiname, Club Rotaract de l'île de Montréal
 
-- Article disponible en français (coin supérieur-gauche) --
 
Back in 2016, I welcomed PSTD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) into my life. That new friend settled in with two sidekicks: Anxiety Disorder and Depression. It took me about three years to learn to live with it. Here are a few tips from my humble experience of what to do and not do when interacting with someone facing mental health struggles.
 
How good are you at reading people? Can you tell when someone is lying? How about recognizing when you are in a dangerous situation? We human beings evolved to judge each other quickly because our ability to make these judgments had—and still has—real survival value. As a supervisor in an office where some of those we served were people who experienced paranoid thoughts and aggression, part of my job was to intervene at the first sign a client might be a threat to their interviewer. I depended on my ability to "read people” to keep clients and employees safe.
 
While our ability to read people has survival value, it sometimes is the source of discrimination against, and exclusion of, those perceived as members of an “out group”. It happens almost instantly, and we are usually not even conscious we are influenced by these preconceptions. That is why it is called ‘implicit (unconscious) bias’.
Those who know me well are aware that I am an avid reader and that I just love books. As well, I have made it my personal mission to put books in the hands of people: my children and stepchildren, husband, extended family, students, friends, even prisoners, and more! For me, reading is not just a hobby, it is a true passion that brings me a lot of joy – and I’d like to suggest some titles of interest to share that joy through a whole range of authors and themes.
 
To help me select the books you will read about here, I was inspired by the Indigo Reading Challenge, which offers “21 new ways to read in 2021.” (Indigo is Canada’s largest bookstore chain). Using this list to choose your next reads may help you discover new authors – or renew with forgotten ones! You can find the downloadable list of categories here. On Indigo’s website, you’ll also find suggestions for each category – or you can start with the titles below!
 
I’ve been legally blind for over seven years, first losing sight in my right eye and then in my left eye. However, I won't let my sight challenges hold me back from leading as normal a life as possible. I work as a real estate broker and owner for my own company, Tina Leonard Real Estate, from my home office in Lake Placid, NY.
 
Since becoming blind, I’ve accumulated a few pet peeves. It frustrates me no end when I find individuals who don't know how to interact with people who are sight impaired. That’s why I’m always on the ready to teach them, not only for selfish reasons, but more importantly to help the entire blind community. The following are four basic guidelines to help improve overall connection and communication.
 
Not every club, nor every Rotarian, agrees that a proactive anti-racism statement is a necessity at this time in history.  Nevertheless, Rotary International has released a statement [1] asserting Rotary’s commitment to anti-racism.  Clubs can use this statement as inspiration for discussion, or a model for developing their own locally focused statement.
 
Some Rotarians may feel that they are not biased, but everyone has bias woven into themselves.  The Harvard Implicit Bias project [2] offers free online tests to help you uncover your hidden biases.   What do you do when a scientific test reveals you have a slight bias against a certain group?