President Edeth James’  Quote of the Day:  “You have two hands.  One to help yourself and the second to help others.” – Audrey Hepburn
Nyle Zikmund introduced our presenter, Dave Bartholomay, Program Coordinator for the Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution at the Minnesota Department of Administration.  Dave is also the Mayor of Circle Pines.  Dave’s presentation today was “Bridging Divides” Dave’s topic was timely considering the current political climate.  He began by describing the progressive polarization of political identity over the last 20 years and attributed it to several factors, including:
- Rapid demographic changes in the U.S.
- Globalization
- Distrust of government
- Rapid disruption and polarization of the news and opinion media.
- The Pandemic
He added that, although individuals have several identities, political identity has become primary for many.  He also noted that once valued social norms for interaction have deteriorated significantly and especially so in political interaction.
Dave offered several suggestions to improve communication, promote understanding and hopefully reach consensus on shared values.  He recommended a book entitled “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt” by Arthur Brooks.  Dave outlined the five ways that the author recommends to improve communication:
- Stand up to the man – Don’t blindly accept the rhetoric on either side of an issue.
- Escape the bubble of common opinion.
- Say no to contempt – Treat others with love and respect.
- Disagree better – Embrace healthy competition of ideas.
- Tune out – Disconnect from unproductive debate.
Each of these strategies depends on LISTENING to those whom we disagree with.  Dave said we should listen to learn, not just to respond.  A great way to learn the other perspective is to ask, “tell me more”.  Learning the other perspective doesn’t mean you have to agree, but it may reveal values that can be agreed upon.
Check your email for important Rotary dates or, if you prefer, download it here.
Jed Hamoud updated us on the Human Trafficking Webinar being produced by the Arden Hills Shoreview Rotary Club.  The ZOOM presentation is set for April 15th at 7:00PM. Several great speakers are lined up for the program and you can register by clicking here.  If you’re interested in helping out with the webinar, contact Jed.
Geoff Hollimon reported that the Suburban Ramsey Emergency Coalition has awarded an additional $5,000 grant to Every Meal.  Plans are underway for the “Keep Moving” Virtual Run/Walk tentatively scheduled for the end of April.  We are one of the sponsors of the event.
CPY is adjusting their distance learning support program as schools are transitioning to hybrid and fully in-person learning.  Summer support programs are being planned as well.  The annual Spring Luncheon will be virtual again this year.
The Board will meet at 11AM next Tuesday.