The Rotary Club of Castro Valley recently honored our firm founder and partner Mark Poniatowski as Rotarian of the Month, along with fellow club members Roland Williams and Bernie Kempen. They were honored for their work establishing the club’s Racial Discrimination Forum and initiating a serious discussion of race in our community.
Mark Poniatowski Founds Castro Valley Rotary Club Racial Discrimination Forum to Explore Community Bias Issues
Here is an excerpt from the club’s announcement:
“For the past nine months through online meetings, they have facilitated honest, frank, and personal conversations in a safe environment regarding the pervasive and corrosive nature of racism in so many aspects of our lives. The meetings have used videos, articles, and personal experiences to spark a serious discussion of the critical issues. The Racial Discrimination Forum has focused on Rotarians making a difference rather than standing by doing nothing.”
The citation noted that this forum has inspired other Rotary Clubs in the area to consider starting similar conversations of their own clubs.
“Racism continues to be a cancer in our society,” said club president Gary Howard. “Mark, Bernie, and Roland are helping us to face up to it, and that’s a great service to us all.” For more information regarding the work of the committee, please contact Mark Poniatowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poniatowski Outlines the Racial Discrimination Forum Mission
Here also are excerpts from Mark’s recent report to Castro Valley Rotary on the work of the committee:
“Our goal is to provide a safe space to discuss racial discrimination in our society. We have open and honest discussion with no judgment – discussions that we may not feel comfortable having in public.
These discussions focus on educating ourselves about issues such as systemic racism in our community. How we can better understand the history and sources of racism. And why many of us think the way we do about racial discrimination.
We are at an inflection point in our society regarding racial discrimination. What we have discussed and what research has shown is that most of us have implicit bias’s that we are not even aware of. Having implicit bias does not mean we are racist. In fact most folks with implicit bias are good people that think of themselves as promoting equality and justice.”
“Our Motto: We want to be part of the solution to racial discrimination rather than part of the problem: Silence is not an option.”
“Yes, we are pushing each other outside of our comfort zones, but that is the way that we grow as a person and collectively to try to make our community a better place, free of racial discrimination…It is a long process and we are just a small piece.”
“The CV Racial Discrimination Forum is a unique opportunity for our Club and for each of us individually to learn and grow together…I look at this an opportunity for everyone, you are all welcome.”
About the Rotary Club of Castro Valley
The Rotary Club of Castro Valley is currently meeting online on Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m. Speakers and links to the meetings are posted at www.castrovalleyrotary.org under Upcoming Events. The Club welcomes individuals who want to make a positive impact locally, nationally, and internationally.
About Poniatowski Leding Parikh Law Corporation
Mark D. Poniatowski founded his law firm in 1989 to serve the Castro Valley community in the practice of business law and real estate law. Since then the firm has added partners Kim Leding and Meera Parikh, and expanded with offices in Oakland and Pleasanton, CA.