President Deb Nygaard called the first Roseville Rotary Club in-person and virtual hybrid meeting to order at 12:15 p.m. and led the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Ed Studniski offered the invocation. Jenny Hedal was the online greeter today.  There were 20 people online and nine Rotarians and guest present in the meeting room. President Nygaard also led us in the Rotary 4-way Test at meeting’s end.
Happy Dollars: Moments of personal gratitude were shared by Brad Kirscher, Gayland Bender, Ed Studniski, Kathy Hughitt, Dave Gilberstadt and Jan Vanderwall.
Rubén Vázquez
Meeting Video Link
Jenny Hedal introduced today’s speaker, Rubén Vázquez, Vice President of Racial Justice and Public Policy at YWCA Minneapolis.
Rubén is responsible for overall leadership and strategy for YWCA Minneapolis Race Equity and Public Policy programs. He also represents YWCA Minneapolis on racial justice and public policy related issues both locally and nationally. He is committed to working with under- and unrepresented communities to help them become a primary stakeholder in their community.
Rubén’s message today was a timely and eye-opening examination of diversity and inclusion, made more significant by the recent events in Minneapolis surrounding the death of George Floyd.
“Diversity,” said Rubén, “is what makes us different, inclusion is how we incorporate those differences that yield stronger organizations and communities.”
The question is then, how do Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the U.S. engage the dominant (White) community in productive conversations about basic human rights and racial equality when so many white and other privileged people are challenged by questions of race and resist talking openly about it.
It is no longer enough for people to say that what is happening to BIPOC communities is not right – our BIPOC communities need allies. They need us.
Rubén’s hope is that those who are now disengaged from issues of race, and anyone else who stands watching from the sidelines thinking, “Ain’t it awful,” will overcome their reluctance to proactively engage in the fight against racism. He would like each individual to challenge what YOU are personally doing or could be doing to eliminate racism and help build a more healthy, inclusive and united community.
Engagement may mean different things for each of us. You can start by making a personal commitment to take a stand against racism; share your actions with others, talk to family, friends and neighbors; educate yourself, read and seek out resources to learn about racism; advocate for reform; and vote.
In response to an audience question Rubén recommended the book White Fragility, Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin Di Angelo
To learn more about racial equity and justice, contact Rubén at or 612-215-4120. To learn more about racial equality programs at the Minneapolis YMCA or to attend one of their workshops, please visit