Our Rotary meeting started with Past President Tom Loo quoting from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s acceptance speech when Dr. King was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize. He reminded us of the struggle of racial inequality in America at that time.
Past President Tom Larmore continued to create a theme for the day as he led us in the special song of the day: “How Beautiful Upon the Mountain”, by Tom Paxton. President Tom explained the first verse of the song was taken from the Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah 52:7). He also explained that the song reflected the struggle and hopes of the Central High Nine as nine African American Students intergraded Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.
Dr. Michael Matthews solidified our theme by sharing that he was born in Arkansas just a few years after the Central High Nine intergraded the school.
Dr. Matthews shared from his four decades of experience as a public-school teacher and administrator the many challenges facing the Public School System in and around Southern California. He says he has great faith in our youth. He says he has personally observed and interacted whit thousands of students, including his own children and how they get along with their peers. He feels that Brown vs. Board of Education, Title IX and Special Education laws have been major forces in improving equality in American education. He called these
initiatives a Game Changer in education.
Other influencers in American education he discussed included New Math which was a product of the space age. In the 80’s Cultural Literacy became the call to get back to basics, and in 2002 the No Child Left Behind initiative became an influencer. Societal factors had an impact on school ratings. The poverty rates in various communities caused the lower income communities to lose funding for education. Common Core was fuzzy to students and educators with parents complaining about it. Math was being left out of education.
The COVID world pandemic introduced a new wave of anger among parents, teachers, and students. Now the Critical Race Theory (shaming students) is causing the big debate and bringing politics in position to dominate education.
Dr. Matthews says it’s important to remember that when those changes started having an impact on equality of opportunity in America, then, like now, there was serious backlash. This has never been about everyone being equal – this is about everyone having true equality of opportunity for an excellent education. Our efforts have continued. When I first started teaching in the mid-1980s, we were talking about how to embrace all cultures through multicultural education. And we’ve come a long way since then.
Dr. Michael Matthews delivered an important and thought-provoking message demonstrated by the serious nature of the questions following his presentation at our meeting. We have had several requests for Dr. Matthews blog link.  If you decide to sign-up for free, he will send the new ones to your email. Dr. Matthews blog.
Kinan Aljamal joined our club on June 18 th, 2021 and received his permanent membership badge at this meeting. Robyn Dolgin, a new member of our club, received her temporary badge.. Soha MakhDouf Gid, a Rotarian from Dubai visited our club at this meeting. Visiting Rotarian, Galia Qissi, made her second visit to our club this month and she also joined us for a day of service at the Westside Food Bank earlier this month. Special thanks to our members who did a really good job of inviting visitors this week, the house was full!
Susan Annett presented Westside Coalition a Grant of $1450.00.
Past President, Mitchell Kraus presented Team Santa Monica a Grant of $2600.00.
In the last two months the Community & Youth Committee has awarded a total of $15,135.00 in Grants with more to be presented.

A FUN TIME: The Wine and Food Festival Committee offered a special bottle of Champagne as a prize to be given to one of the lucky individuals who purchased Wine & Food Festival raffle tickets at the meeting. Past President Lisa Alexander won!

Greetings President Joe and members of Santa Monica Rotary Club,
 Thanks to your club’s generous donation, families around the world have received essential aid and technical assistance needed to rebuild damaged homes and lives. This generosity is celebrated through our HERO program – thank you for being a ShelterBox HERO last Rotary year (2021-22).
ShelterBox HERO Clubs are foundational to our ability to respond when disaster strikes. To show our gratitude for your generous support, we are hosting an exclusive online Rotary Club HERO event on:
Saturday, February 11th, 2023
@ 9am PT/ 11am CT/ 12pm EDT.
We hope you can join this event in hopes this informative session will inspire you to renew your HERO club status before the end of our current Rotary year.
ShelterBox is proud to be Rotary International’s official project partner in disaster relief. Together, we are putting the partnership into action.
This exclusive event is open to every club member. ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray and other executives from ShelterBox will deliver reports on our current response work, the impact we make in the lives of those we reach, and how Rotarians make this work possible. There will also be an opportunity for you to submit questions.
Thank you for being a Shelterbox HERO, I hope to see you on February 11.
Bill Tobin
Rotary Relations Manager
Members of  our club are invited to a special community event on Thursday evening, Feb 2 at the MLK Auditorium. In honor of Black History Month, Orchestra Santa Monica (OSM) will be presenting the first in-person showing of our complete music-based documentary film “We Gather: Black Life in Santa Monica told through Music, Visuals, and Narrative”. OSM will also be presenting a cappella singing, violin music, and the OSM Woodwind Quintet will be performing works by Black American composers

This free event is being co-hosted with the Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL) and will be the first use of the library’s auditorium since the pandemic.  For more information about OSM, please visit: http://www.OrchestraSantaMonica.org.  I hope to see you there and please feel free to share this information with others too!

Now is the time for each Rotarian to focus and ask what you can do to make our Signature Fundraiser Event – The International Food and Wine Festival a true success. We have printed brochures and made them available for you to give to potential sponsors, and to invite your friends and companies you do business with to purchase tickets. The brochures are available at weekly lunches, and they contain a list of the organizations our Club has supported and offers contact information with email addresses for us to follow up and answer more questions.
Check out this creative video Vicky Curtis created. Make sure you share it with your friends and family!
PROGRAM January 27 _  ZOOM

Bending Toward the Sun: A Discussion of Tragedy, Healing and Hope – ZOOM Meeting

Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. After enduring unspeakable tragedy, she and her family eventually moved to America, where Rita built a family of her own. She and her daughter, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, co-authored a book which brings together the stories of Rita, Leslie, and Leslie’s daughter, Mikaela, and reveals how deeply the Holocaust lives in the hearts and minds of survivors and their descendants.
Host Rotarian Introducer:  Sharon Perlmutter Gavin 
PROGRAM February 3rd  Live @ HILTON
“Racism and The Economic Toll on Americans”
 Barry Snell, Community Activist & Leader “The American democracy was built on a premise of exclusion. The core assumptions that the framers of our Bill of Rights taught us is that the United States was founded on principles of fairness and representation for all. Through out our American history De Facto or de jure segregation when applied to economic and social issues like segregation, describe a situation that results from the fact of difference and division between groups. A zero-sum hierarchy has cost all Americans. The future of our society and of this unjust system will require all Americans working together to dismantle racial hierarchies which will create a healthier and fairer society.”

Rotarian Introducer: Kera Blades-Snell

Come join your fellow Rotarians for our RCSM January Get Together!
CHILI COOKOFF/CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL PARTY will be held on January 29th at DonnaByrd’s home.
The party starts at 1PM with the AFC Championship game and will end about 6:30 after the NFC Championship game. We will have a big screen TV to watch the games as well as the Chili Cookoff.  Whip up a batch of your famous (or infamous) chili to share with the gang.  There will be PRIZES in two categories – best overall chili and best vegetarian chili.  If you don’t bring chili, please bring some cookies for dessert (any favorite cookies are welcome including Oreos!)
 There is NO COSTDonna is sponsoring the event and will provide drinks and snacks.  This is a Rotarian plus one event and we do need RSVP’s no later than January 27th to plan the refreshments.  Email at rsvp @rotaryclubofsantamonica.org.
January 29th  – Football Party/Chili Cookoff at Donna Byrd‘s house
February 2nd – Deadline for clothing donation for Belize
February 7th – First Tuesday @Osteria del Fornaio
Februay 23rd NEW DATE – Book Club – Live Meeting at Karin Wallerstein‘s house.  We are reading “The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle for Paradise” by David K. Randall
March 4th – Wine and Food Festival 2023- more details to come. Purchase your raffletickets now.  See Karin Wallerstein or Kera Blades Snell.
March 16- 23rd –District Humanitarian Trip to Belize
Curious about Upcoming Rotary Programs? Go to
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Email: Admin@Rotaryclubofsantamonica.org

MEETING LOCATION: Hilton Hotel, 1707 Fourth Street, Santa Monica

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 586, Santa Monica CA 90406