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Addressing Equity in District 65
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Meeting Notes for February 2, 2021
The Light for February 2, 2021
By Linc Janus
President-elect Linda Gerber presided. 

The Thoughts for the Day were presented by Yves Lassere:

“To live is not to breathe but to act. It is to make use of our organs, our senses, our faculties, of all the parts of ourselves which give us the sentiment of our existence. The man who has lived the most is not he who has counted the most years but he who has most felt life.” 
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Life is the best thing that has ever been invented," 
Gabriel García Márquez 
Linda welcomed Keith Banks, Executive Director, Reba Place Development Corporation, and Sue Loellbach, Manager of Advocacy, Connections for the Homeless to the meeting.
Linda noted that February is Black History and Rotary Peace and Conflict Resolution month. Next year, the Rotary annual meeting will take place virtually. The host country is Taiwan. She reported that the theme for 2022 is “Serve to change lives.”
Linda announced that a grants training seminar will take place on February 6 and offer required training for any Rotarians applying for global and district grants.
Kathy Tate-Bradish provided a preview of a PowerPoint that she will share further next week on training  trainers for the ABC’s of Sex Education program in Kenya, which the Club supports.
Susan Prout announced that the Community Service Committee will meet virtually at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9.
Updates -Reba Place and Connections for the Homeless: Keith thanked the Club for its support of Reba Place and in particular Linda, Bill Glader, and Bryant Wallace. Keith reported that Reba has received grants to provide assistance to approximately 100 residents. Reba has added additional case management staff to assist the many Evanston residents (currently 20% instead of the more historical 8%) who have been seriously impacted by the pandemic. Reba has undertaken to raise $150,000 to provide additional affordable housing. Reba has already raised $80,000 for down payment assistance. Reba is in the process of identifying a lot for construction of additional housing units. Keith said that Reba currently has a 70-person waitlist. Clients come to Reba through its website, the City of Evanston, Connections for the Homeless and other referral sources.
Sue thanked the Club for its support of Connections for the Homeless. She reported that the Pandemic had upended the usual model for helping the homeless, because it prevented those in need from gathering in shelters. Connections moved from supporting individuals in an 18-person shelter to supporting more than 200 people in hotels. (the Hilton Garden Inn, the Orrington, and to a lesser extent the Holiday Inn). The Margarita Inn will also serve as a shelter site in the future, thereby increasing the capacity to help those in need. On the advocacy front, she said the Connections had successfully lobbied for more than 75 additional affordable housing units. Connections also is reviewing Evanston’s zoning code with affordable housing in mind. In response to a question, she said that Connections does not specifically advocate for “tiny houses,” as no mechanism exists to ensure they are really affordable.
Speaker: Dr. Allison Plyer, chair of  the US Census Scientific Advisory Committee
Kristin Brown introduced the Club to Dr. Plyer. She said that she grew up in Wilmette but paid her own way to attend Evanston Township High School during her senior year because she liked Evanston so much.
She walked the Club through a very detailed PowerPoint entitled “From Pandemic to Posterity.” She said that the purpose of the data compiled by her committee was to provide a “highly-vetted” data source that could guide “society toward a fair and complete recovery, better than where we started.” Those interested in the details of her presentation can find them at<>. What follows summarizes some of her main points.
She pointed out in her slides that the “third wave” of the pandemic has resulted in most parts of the country experiencing very high rates of infection. Dr. Plyer argued that crises like pandemics (as well as other natural disasters like hurricanes) accelerate existing trends – in this case toward inequity.  To illustrate, she said that women had a harder time obtaining employment during the pandemic because it disproportionately reduced employment opportunities in the hotel and service sector where women are more likely to be employed. Further, actual COVID has infected proportionately more black, Native American, and Hispanic than white individuals.
She compared the vaccine utilization rates (as a percentage of vaccines shipped). West Virginia has one of the highest. Alabama has the lowest (at 29%). These statistics (especially for low utilization states) may not be reliable, however, because not all local agencies follow through and report to the federal government on shots given to the local populace.  Such lack of reporting impairs the ability of states where it occurs to obtain more vaccine because the federal government will not distribute more vaccine to localities which appear to have a great deal on hand. She argued that “news deserts” impair the health of the local populace; half of counites with high rates of new COVID cases have inadequate access to news.
She pointed out that lack of good Internet access can drive low vaccine utilization because of the more limited ability of people lacking such access to make a vaccine appointment.
In response to questions, she said she does not charge organizations for making a presentation. She said that good data leads to good decisions. For example, in the case of hurricane Katrina, good data helped displaced residents decide whether or not to continue living in the area and non-profits in raising money to assist the area impacted.  
Guests and Milestones
Sam Lovering – February 1
Chris Joyce – February 2, 2021
Keith Sarpolis – February 5
Zbig Skiba – February 6