Last January, only weeks before our world went into pandemic lockdown and the protests and riots of this past week erupted following the death of George Floyd, I participated with Lauren Schlau, Paul and Melody St. John, and several thousand Rotarians from around the world in the Rotary International Peace Conference in Ontario, California. (Perhaps you remember my president’s message in the January 21 edition of El Rodeo where I wrote about Hiroshima nuclear bomb survivor Takashi Tanemori’s session, “How to Dismantle a Nuclear Bomb”.)
The goal of the conference was to examine the way war, poverty, natural disasters, human trafficking, and lack of education impact billions of people around the world. I left the conference with a sense of urgency, but comfortable enough to remain complacent and inactive in the fight for peace. The lessons coming out of COVID-19 and George Floyd demand that it is time to get off the sideline, cross the ropes, and get into the ring.
It seems oxymoronic to declare that I must join the “fight for peace”; but peace and justice for all people is worth fighting for and there are consequences, whether justified or not, if we don’t. Rotarians of LA5, let’s prepare ourselves to join the fight for peace. Where do we go from here?
I look forward to seeing you online this Friday.
President, Rotary Club of Los Angeles
2019 - 2020