Posted by Beth Seibert
Steps are being taken to improve diversity and inclusion in Lima.
On this day that our club honored the Paul Harris Fellowship, Dick Schroeder reminded the group of the important connection of personal contributions made to the Polio Plus program and challenged the members to each meet the Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) $100 goal. Rotary International has championed this initiative to eradicate polio across the globe for over 40 years. Today three members were honored for continued contributions: Dan Best +1, Cliff Barber +2, and Rita Brown +4.
Our guest speaker today was Jerome O’Neal, who gave a passionate address on diversity and inclusion. Jerome paid homage to one of his mentors, Burt Rubens as one of the significant people in his own life who “opened up a seat at the table."  Jerome spoke about the need for Rotarians as community leaders to have the courage to be inclusive. “It’s not that complicated to be a good person, to do the right thing, and to include people," said O’Neal. And Jerome believes that when an individual is offered that seat, they must come to the table saying “what can I bring, not what can I get." He spoke of many initiatives that he is engaged in and how he has targeted four minority issues: drop-out rate, high unemployment, poor health outcomes, and home ownership. In closing, Jerome recognized that Rotarians are movers and shakers – community leaders that know how to move the needle. He asked that we have the COURAGE to be purposeful and be the “seat-patters” so that the view and the climate can truly be changed. And in doing so, he is confident Allen County will be strengthened.