Marlin Rotary Club Participates in DEI Discussion

Special to the Marlin Democrat

Letitia Estep attended Rotary International’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: How Are We Doing?” webseminar. She returned to Marlin Rotary Club as presenter and facilitator on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. 

COVID-19 pandemic and anti-racism solidarity demonstrations have highlighted global inequities and the need for social justice. It was pointed out how Rotarians are already equipped with tools to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization. The important next step was to continue the conversation.  

Ms. Estep began by asking questions: Do you feel your club is diverse?  Your District? Where are we on women in Rotary?

She read Michelle Burg, Deputy Secretary General for Rotary International’s statement on diversity being a Rotary core value; there is no tolerance for racism. Instead, Rotarians promote respect, celebrate diversity, demand ethical leadership, and work tirelessly to advance peace as central tenets to work.

Ms. Estep elaborated on diversity having two parts, the visible and invisible. When it comes to the term of diversity, it’s more than gender and race or ethnic association. That is important to our background, our ideas, our mindset - and we have to look at both the visible and invisible.  When we go into this word of inclusion, we are talking about an environment, a climate where we respect all those visible and invisible differences.  

An example to differentiate between equality versus equity was given. The optimum result would be a community member or Rotarian that is more comfortable when they show up, more prepared to function and participate, feeling included.

Marlin Rotarians spoke about true equity and its effect on socio-climate and socio-justice. 

Equity and inclusion - if we get these right, it will help grow Rotary membership and impact. It will be good for all that we touch as Rotarians.

On the effect of COVID-19 pandemic: Marlin Rotary Club has adapted very well to the new reality. We developed new ways to keep connected, and invented new ways to keep our efforts ongoing. 

Lastly, the language used as Rotarians looking for people value, people who want to continue our mission, was examined.

Discussion continued, noting no easy fixes and that challenging conversations and work lie before all of us. Rotary’s strength has long been its ability and commitment to bringing people together. Marlin Rotary Club will continue to take part in listening, learning, and taking action to contribute positive change. 


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