Russell Hampton
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Feb 23, 2021
UP FROM DOWN HOME, The Journey Home, A family's migration out of rural Alabama in the early 1950s
Mar 02, 2021
Building 10,000 Leaders for the future of Syria by 2028
Mar 09, 2021
YBL, Young, Black & Lit
Mar 16, 2021
Mar 23, 2021
Considering A Zero Waste Strategy for Evanston
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Upcoming Events
International Service Committee Meeting
Feb 22, 2021
7:15 AM - 8:30 AM
Club Service Committee - Zoom
Mar 10, 2021
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM
International Service Committee Meeting
Mar 22, 2021
7:15 AM - 8:30 AM
Club Service Committee - Zoom
Apr 14, 2021
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM
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Meeting Notes for February 16, 2021
The Light for February 16, 2021
By Kathy Tate-Bradish
President Chris Joyce called the meeting to order at 7:30 a.m. and introduced Albert Menard to deliver the Thought for the Day. Al presented some weather whimsy from an English literary figure, “The more it snows, the more it goes on snowing,“  by Winnie the Pooh. 
Advice for our times from the Bible: “Bless those who hate you and persecute you.  Do not curse them.  If they are hungry, feed them,. If they are thirsty, give them drink.  Do not take vengeance on your enemies; that is reserved for God.  Do not be consumed with hate, but overcome hate with love.” Romans. Chapter 12 
Personal note:  In 1870, President Grant appointed Al’s great-great grandfather, Amos Tappan Akerman, to be Attorney General of the United States even though he had served in the Confederate Army as an officer during the Civil War.
Bruce Baumberger told how to pay your invoice online. Click on “pay now.” It goes to ClubRunner. Log in (you should save your log-in information). Click on “make a payment” and fill in your credit card info if it doesn’t self-populate. You can also log in to ClubRunner to see your payment status. Contact Bruce if you have more questions.
Linda Gerber shared greetings from the Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) students who visited our club meeting last year. Part of their note: “Tickets to NUDM 2021 are now live at! Join us from March 4-6 in support of our beneficiaries, Compass to Care and the Evanston Community Foundation. We are excited to be able to include you in our virtual event. Events include our annual 5k/10k and our Second City Comedy Night & Final Total Reveal. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to our beneficiaries. If you can't make it, but would still like to support, you can do so at Looking forward to seeing you there! Best, Ayesha & Cami"
Linda invites all club members to the next International Service Committee meeting Monday, Feb. 22, at 7:15 am. Kristin Brown will present a grant application from Palestine. They’ll go over Kenya and Brazil Global Grant reports and the 2021 budget. There’s a link in your email.
Susan Prout requested that club members help the Community Service Committee identify recipients for grants for urgent needs. They are looking for smaller, underfunded grant recipients who reflect concerns for equity. There won’t be a competitive request for proposals. The committee will be donating about $7,600 at the next meeting, March 9. All are welcome.
Kathy Tate-Bradish reminded us that we are all responsible for club membership growth. District membership is dropping slowly, and ELRC is also down a couple of members from last year. The great work of Rotary, internationally and locally, can only happen with robust membership.
Neil Gambow reported on the passing of passionate Rotarian Rick Kuehn, integral to the District 6440 short-term youth exchange.
Roasts & Boasts
Kristin boasted herself twice. She is now covering Evanston business for the Evanston Roundtable online newspaper, and as a pandemic project has recommitted herself to relearn playing the piano with past member Elaine Clemens as her online teacher.
Joy Joyce asked Zbig Skiba why “pączki” is pronounced “punsh-key” (your scribe’s pathetic attempt). He explained that the “cz is like a “tzh” and the “ą” sounds like „owhn” (again, blame your scribe).
Harold Bauer boasted his wife Karen for solving the thorny computer issue which involved a crumb on the screen. This was followed by Kathy, who was proud to solve her camera issue by taking the post-it note off, and Ann Weatherhead, who insightfully cleaned off a smeared thumbprint. Tech geniuses all!
Topic: The Power of Stories
Speaker: Tim Russell, VP of Community Development, WTTW
Bryant Wallace introduced his good friend Tim Russell, the Vice President of Community Engagement for Window to the World Communications, parent organization of WTTW and WFMT.
He is responsible for crafting and executing community engagement activities for the organization. He was previously Chief Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer for CDK Global, and throughout his career, Russell has been a leader and change-maker focused on community affairs, philanthropy, and diversity and inclusion.
He is a sought-after speaker, and has been recognized for his work in the community. He has been on boards such as the Evanston Community Foundation, the Goodman Theatre, and the Association of Black Foundation Executives. He is currently on the board of Chicago Cares.
Tim told us that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is the backbone of what he does.
He was born and grew up in Oberlin, Ohio. He attended Oberlin College as an undergrad, and came to Evanston in 1993 to get his Masters in Theological Studies at Garrett Seminary, focused on Ethics in Society.
Tim’s three interesting facts about Oberlin, Ohio: 1. Oberlin was the first college or university in America to have African American students be co-educated with white men. (1833, 30 years before the Civil War) 2. First college to have co-education with men and women, and the first to graduate an African American woman. 3. The last school in the state of Ohio to beat Ohio State in a football game. That team was coached by John Heisman, after whom the Heisman Trophy was named, in his first coaching job. The final score, incidentally was 7 to 6.
Tim started off in this way because of the power of storytelling, and appreciated the way our club gives people the opportunity to tell stories.
Maya Angelou said that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. When Tim was 15 years old, he was sitting in Gigi’s barbershop about to get his hair cut. Owned by an African American woman, Gigi’s had pictures of famous black literary figures such as Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin on the walls who came through town because of the college.
A woman came in and asked him what he thought of I know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which he was reading. He said it was okay, although he didn’t know if it was true, it seemed unbelievable, and continued to criticize the book. He put the book down, saw the author photo of Maya Angelou, and realized he was speaking to her. They both started laughing. She said that “the purpose of books is for people to be able to tell their story, but also for the reader to have their own interpretation. But what you said wasn’t wrong.”
Jazz and diversity in people have a lot in common. (Tim played trombone well enough to be in Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music.)  Every instrument in a jazz band has a chance to be the soloist, to tell their story individually, but then they all come back together and tell the story of the entire group.
Tim discussed a cartoon that starts with people telling stories around a fire and ends with sharing on the internet but struggling over who controls the story. As an example of who controls the narrative, Tim reminded us that the story we grew up with was that people basically came to the U.S in two ways – on the Mayflower or through Ellis Island, and that all people were created equal. But it was really only the small percentage of land-owning white men that were “created equal.”
At another meeting, we could ask ourselves what our fellow Rotarians wish we knew about them, and what we wish our fellow Rotarians knew about us. Getting to know each other through story will let us see each other’s strengths.
Stories have the power to connect, to heal, and to empower us. Everyone has a story, and those stories give us voice. When people aren’t allowed to tell their stories, it gives the impression that they don’t have anything to add. Stories allow us to get to know ourselves and others better, connect over humor, and help us remember what we learn. Tim loved history and composition as a kid in school, because they were immersed in stories.
Stories affirm the identities, lives, and realities of people of our community, not only in words but in action. They can disrupt the single narratives that our society tells us about Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Asian communities. Black Lives Matter and the MeToo movement are examples of stories coming to the fore of people who were impacted.
When Tim learned to drive, his dad would say that if the police come, keep your hands on the steering wheel and make no false moves. At the time Tim didn’t really understand, but the stories that are coming out now through Black Lives Matter echo his dad’s message.
Who has the power to share their own and other’s stories? How does our bias or lack of experience impact how we tell someone else’s story? An example is the Civil Rights Movement. The powerful men at the center didn’t acknowledge the important role that Mahalia Jackson’s fundraising concerts played – women were often left out of the narrative. Majority stories of how U,S. or world history are told are told from the center of those who were in control.
These ideas play out in what Tim does now for WTTW, as the first person new CEO Sandra Cordova Micek hired. He shared with her that when he watched WTTW he didn’t see stories about “the other – people of color, Jewish people, women” – and that WTTW needed to tell those stories, too. WTTW now focuses on telling stories through platforms such as Chicago Tonight’s Latino Voices and Black Voices, and also follows up with community conversations around what we see on air. The two-part documentary, The Black Church, chronicled by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr, is currently showing, and was followed by a conversation. (Evanston’s Dr. Larry Murphy was an important part of the research and also on air.) 
Three take-aways from Tim: 1. Look within ourselves. 2. Invite others’ stories. 3. Start asking the right questions.
Kristin’s background is in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and she has noticed how technology has allowed people to get their stories out. Palestinians getting cell phones and TV access has accelerated it. What does Tim think about how technology has helped get the word out. Tim referenced “The Feeling of Being Watched,” a documentary about FBI surveillance of a Palestinian neighborhood in Chicago. Technology is a double-edged sword – everyone is a journalist. Traditional newspapers compete with that – technology allows stories to get out, but also allows people to build conspiracy and run with stories that aren’t true.
Joy asked about StoryCorps and the role it’s playing, and whether youth are involved. Tim said WTTW partners with Free Spirit Media, which allows young people to share their films and have a conversation. Adults make the assumption that the only story is the adult story, but youth can see things we don’t see.
Linda asked about the difference in WTTW since Tim arrived. Tim gives credit to Sandra, who was intent on DEI, telling stories and having conversations around issues really impacting Chicago and the region. Showing more diverse films and taking it further to have the conversations. They have great films, early childhood programming, and WFMT classical music. Tim leverages all of those tools. They developed Learn and Play, a Facebook project to help parents get preschoolers ready for Kindergarten, because most Black and Latino kids aren’t Kindergarten-ready. For example, there’s actually a fun curriculum for parents behind shows like Daniel Tiger. They sponsor a program for high school students who play classical music and give them the opportunity to play on the radio.
Bryant said that Tim’s story of his dad has real lessons. Tim agreed, and said the stories also help put things in perspective. When African Americans hear things can’t get worse, they know it can get worse and it has been worse. His dad was born during the depression in Alabama. Family members were lynched. If someone is a descendant of a Holocaust survivor, they know that it has been worse and can get worse.
Ann Weatherhead talked about the power of storytelling around the issue of affordable housing – it’s much harder to reach people just with facts and figures, yet storytelling makes you vulnerable. Tim wants to connect over the issue of homelessness, and is working with Byline Bank to highlight suburban poverty.
Guests and Milestones
Tim Russell, speaker, WTTW
Club Anniversaries
Harvey Newcomb, February 13 - 20 years
Marv Edelstein, February 19 - 12 years
Nick Powers, February 19 - 8 years
Steve Steiber, February 19 - 8 years
Charlotta Koppanyi, February 21 - 9 years