Posted by Bob Heck on Aug 17, 2020
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Today’s Program: "Be the Reason" – Che Dawson
Meeting Called to order: President Sean @ 12:06 pm
  • Invocation by: President Sean
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: President Sean
  • Song: N/A
  • Four Way Test led by: President Sean
Visiting Rotarians
Dan Young and Pat Carlson – West Olympia Rotary Club
Guest of Rotarians
Marsha Tadano Long, Merritt Long and Beth Morrison – guests of Geoff Crooks
Reminder: Please feel free to use the chat feature to share good news, as well as happy bucks.
Will be posted in PDF format on the website for members to access
Thurston County Food Bank
Will be conducting a food drive with the WA Department of Transportation on Friday, 8/21 and Saturday, 8/22 from 10am-4pm each day. The “drop” location will be at the DOT office on Capitol Blvd. The Food Bank is in need of volunteers to support the location by accepting food from donors. President Sean will email the club with additional specifics about the event and how to volunteer. The Food Bank has worked with the Thurston County Health Department to ensure this is as safe of an event as possible.  More information is on the home page of the club website.
Olympia Rotary Club Board Meeting
9am on Wednesday, August 19 via Zoom. Red Badgers are specifically invited. To get the Zoom info, please email President Sean directly.
Literacy Committee
Judy Henderson continues to collect books – thanks to all those who have donated thus far. Our goal is to reach 300 books donated. To participate please reach out to Judy. Lots of books have been donated thus far. The focus on the books is to collect children’s books (non-religious, please). You can buy books from a local book store, or donate gently used books. Age range is 0-20. Judy is accepting the books at Henderson Law in West Olympia.
Nick Schmidt
Nick has accepted a new position as Director of Athletic Development at University of Montana – Billings. He has asked for a leave of absence for the next year, and looks forward to joining the club virtually as he can and in-person for our 100th celebration. He’ll continue to work on communications and social media on behalf of the club and our district.
Program: "Be the Reason" – Che Dawson
Chuck Fowler shared that Carla, his wife, was past-president of West Olympia Rotary Club. As such, he gets to participate in their club activities and that is where he was introduced to Che Dawson. Dan Young, Past-President of West Olympia Rotary Club introduced Che. He met Che when he recruited Dan to play basketball in college. Dan played for Che for two seasons at Highline Community College and appreciated him as a coach and mentor very much.
Che grew up in Portland, his mom is white and his father is black. He grew up in NE Portland and attended Catlin Gable before attending Sunset High School. He moved to Seattle to attend Seattle University. After graduating with his BA he spent two years working at Echo Glen Children’s Center. Following his time at Echo Glen he was accepted into the University of Washington School of Law. Che’s law school class was the most diverse class that had ever been admitted to the UW School of Law. He has been the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Highline Community College since 2003. He is also a full-time tenured member of the faculty at Highline. He practiced law with Kar Tuttle Campbell in Seattle for years and is still serving in an Of Counsel role.
Che shared about his experiences growing up in a variety of neighborhoods/communities within Portland and Seattle. He talked about the ways in which what he experienced helped to shape his view of the world and the discussion he is going to lead our club through today. To set the stage for the discussion, Che talked about the importance of realizing that everyone will see the world in a different perspective and that it is important to remember this when talking/discussing any topic with someone. Che shared the following questions to open the discussion:
  1. How many of you have been the only person in a bar/restaurant/office/concert/school/church/grocery store/neighborhood/barber shop/salon, etc. that was exclusively black? A majority black?
  2. How many blacks have served you in the following professions?
    1. K-12 or College teachers
    2. Lawyers
    3. Doctors
    4. Accountants
  3. Do you value race or gender being a qualifying criteria or requirement for professional positions/college admissions? Are we beyond this being necessary?
  4. In what ways are you privileged?
The majority of the meeting Che talked with the club members through each of the four questions. Members shared experiences from their lives, and Che facilitated the discussion that emerged from each question.
Meeting Adjourned: 1:30pm by President Sean