Rotary of Atlanta West End's Legacy of Service Above Self - Past, Present, and Future

President Kimberly Weaver presided over her first meeting as the official leader of our club, even though the ceremonial passing of the gavel comes next week at our annual Installation Dinner. She began by introducing three members: Sumeyra Ozturk, Kevin Wilson, and Richard Gerakitis, who journeyed to Columbus for the one-day District 6900 Conference – substituting for the spring weekend annual district conference that was cancelled because of COVID-19. Each gave brief reports: Sumeyra said it was great being with clubs reporting on specific work being undertaken. There was lots of information on COVID-19. For example, the Emory Clifton Club will be hosting on September 26th an annual health symposium – this year about COVID-19 and Polio. More information about this is available through former AWER member Yamin Farhat: Sumerya also stressed COVID offers us to think very differently about the way Club meetings work, including the possibilities of Clubs combining meetings – even internationally if the time changes work. AWER meetings are at noon, which is about 6pm in much of Europe so a dinner meeting club across the Atlantic and AWER could connect during our 12pm Eastern time, as Uku Urb of Estonia proves frequently. Kevin reported that it was an uplifting meeting. He was so taken by the friendliness of other members … the dynamic of AWER is alive and well among many Rotarians and Clubs throughout the District 6900. Plenty of true camaraderie. The event enabled all – regardless of years of service - to feel engaged and learn new things, even for Richard, and we all thought he knew everything. Kevin also felt that Rotary meets people where they are, for example, accepting pro COVID-19 masks - or not … emphasizing all of us need to work together. Richard presented some important history of our Club, which began in 1958, as an off-shoot of the Atlanta Downtown Club. He gave special mention to a key charter member of Rotary Club of Atlanta West End– the Reverend Bevel (Bev) Jones, Atlanta bishop in the United Methodist church, who assumed a key role in building up Atlanta and leading support to the courageous Rabbi Jacob Rothchilds of The Temple after it was bombed. In the manifesto below, you’ll read things with which we still struggle, and views that prove we have made some progress in our beliefs and routines in the last 62 years. Richard noted that Rotary throughout the world is constantly adding members – but also is constantly losing members. So we all need to be looking for ways to support and engage each other – so more give to and benefit from Rotary. He alluded to The Rotarian magazine and urged all members to read this terrific monthly publication as it provides important ways for us to fulfill better our roles and opportunities in the Rotary movement, and to add to our ability to see value to continue in Rotary. Regarding attendance, Richard also mentioned that our continuous participation can be enhanced when we miss a meeting through Rotary’s - which is a system that any member can use to make up a missed meeting. Kimberly also announced the impactful Rotary slogan for 2021: Rotary Opens Opportunities – especially poignant this year during COVID-19, backed up by the resolve from individuals and companies that the ways of racism in the past in all of their overt and subtle ways are going to be overcome, to, as the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution phrases it: “…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility … promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our Posterity….”

80 Atlanta Pastors Sign Manifesto on Racial Beliefs was a manifesto published on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 3, 1957. Six months later, Rotary of Atlanta West End was chartered on May 8, 1958. Reverend Bevel Jones was a charter member of Rotary of Atlanta West End, and one of the signers of the Manifesto. Follow the link below to hear more.

"In Manifesto, Ministers United Against Intolerance" 10/26/2007 NPR Interview with Reverend Joseph Lowery and Reverend Bevel Jones

Posted by Neil Shorthouse
July 10, 2020 2:00pm


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