MEETING IN REVIEW – AUGUST 24, 2016 by Alicia Fougere
President Ross Grantham called the meeting to order at 12.30pm, asking all members to silence their cell phones.
Bill Dent led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, then led us in singing You’re a Grand Old Flag.
Secretary Alicia Fougere introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians:
Visiting Rotarians:
  • Boerje Ohlsson of the Vetlanda Rotary Club is District Chair of the Sweden Districts Rotary Youth Exchange presented the club with a set of safety matches produced in his hometown
  • Alejandro was visiting from Club Rotario Nuevo Santander
  • Ina VonBer (club unknown)
  • Trish Pemberton, Rotary Club of Newton Aycliffe
David Treadwell invited Shirley Johnson, Wanda Spence from Central Union Mission, and Bonnie Pritchard of Central Union Education
Robert Schott invited his wife Dr. Joanne Perlman and his daughter Zephyr Schott
Dr. Sam Hancock invited Michael Inglesby and Clark Sampson of The Community Company
Shelly Williams invited Jackson Haung
Ken Kimbrough acted as Sergeant-At-Arms, announcing the Birthdays and Anniversaries:
  • Davis Kennedy  (August 21) Davis has been a Rotarian since 1986.  He was sponsored by Marilynn Mendell and his classification is Journalism: Newspaper Publishing.
  • Joan Bristol (August 24) Joan joined our club in October 2002. She is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Denver, 2000-2001. Joan was sponsored by John Prominiski and her classification is Investments: Association Management.
  • Patricia Bueno-Abdala  (August 24) Patricia joined Rotary in April 2009. She was sponsored by Ken Kimbrough and her classification is Finance.
  • Mary Goldsmith - August  24, 2015 (1 year)
  • Marjorie Ann Scott - August 24, 2007 (9 years)
  • Tony Cusack - August 25, 2005 (11 years)
  • Buz Gorman - August 25, 2012 (4 years)
  • William Busker - August 27, 2013 (3 years)
President Ross spoke about his recent vacation in Maine, where he enjoyed a lot of lobster! He also talked about the Town Hall Meetings, and his decision to send out the Board Agenda before every meeting. The response has been strong with around 80 responses, and overall very positive.
Clara Montanez invited all Rotarian’s to support the Burned Children’s Center, one of the non-profits our Club supports. She is selling $10 raffle tickets for a free cruise with the drawing in Sept – the ticket sales have been a bit slow, so your odds are good! Contact Clara for more information.
Rynthia Ross received her Blue Badge today, with congratulations from President Ross.
Glenn O’Gilvie reminded people about the special Board Training that he is offering through his organization, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. The training is this Saturday, please contact him as soon as possible to confirm attendance if you wish to join. This is an independent training that is tailored to needs of our Club, and is not Club sponsored.
Kenny Barnes introduced our Speaker, Mildred Muhammad, by first reminding us about the terror attacks perpetrated in 2002 by the person who came to known as the DC Sniper. The random shootings were actually intended to be an alibi to cover his real intent, to kill his wife.
An internationally recognized speaker, Ms. Muhammad is a domestic violence survivor, advocate, educator and consultant to the Office on Victims of Crime and the US Department of State. She is the ex-wife of Washington, DC sniper John A. Muhammad, who went on a three-week shooting rampage in 2002, the result of which was supposed to be finding Mildred to kill her too. Counseling herself and her children to survive victim blaming, she transformed tragedy into a mission to be a vessel of support and healing to all affected by domestic violence. Ms. Muhammad’s critically acclaimed memoir Scared Silent: When the One You Love Becomes the One You Fear was published by Simon & Schuster in 2009. She has self-published A Survivor's Journal, Dare to Heal and Planning My Escape, a step by-step safety plan, to help survivors cope and break free from their ordeal. She is now working on her book I'm Still Standing, for release later in 2016. Ms. Muhammad has received many honors—among them, a Special Commendation from the Office on Violence Against Women, the Maya Angelou “Still I Rise” Award and the Shirley Chisholm Woman of Courage Award.
Ms. Muhammad detailed her abuse at the hands of her husband, a veteran who was suffering from PTSD who returned from war fundamentally changed. She described the danger she was in, as he threatened to shoot her, one shot in the head, and stalked her after she found out he was unfaithful and asked for a divorce. One weekend when he took their children out for the weekend, he didn’t return, kidnapping all three children. She didn’t see them again for 18 months.
To protect herself, Ms. Muhammad became a paralegal and began advocating for other victims of domestic violence. She detailed the problems she had with local law enforcement and the FBI, who were not only of limited use, but also tried to use her as bait for a trap for her husband. After 18 months her children were found and she regained custody, immediately leaving the area due to the danger her husband represented.
Later, as the city was terrified by the DC Sniper, the FBI approached her and told her that they suspected John A. Muhammad was the DC Sniper, and that his intention was to kill her. They took Ms. Muhammad and her children into protective custody (and later charged her for their food while in hiding!) He was captured shortly thereafter.
As an advocate for victims of domestic violence, Ms. Muhammad offers the following advice to those who want to help them:
  • Take the person to lunch (not dinner) and ask them how you can help. Don’t tell them what to do, offer the help they want and are able to accept.
  • Know your own boundaries, and don’t put yourself in danger to help the victim – police and other support personnel are trained to deal with it, use those resources.
  • Understand that you can at least help the victim find resources, and understand what help is available. S/he can use whatever resources are most appropriate to the circumstances when s/he is ready.
  • Don’t blame the victim for their choices.
  • Tell the victim to plan, so they can escape when they are ready and the time is right for them.
Ms. Muhammad’s book Scared Silent: When the One You Love Becomes the One You Fear was available for purchase, and her new book I'm Still Standing will be available later this year.
Raffle:   Howard Davis won the small pot of $71 and did not win the large pot of $1641.
President Ross announced our next program August 31st will feature Ms. Adrianne Todman is the Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA).
He thanked Pat Cunningham for conducting today’s Raffle, Bal Raj, Ken and Stu for staffing the Hospitality Desk, Catherine Pociask and Taylor Foster for serving as Greeters, and Alicia Fougere for writing today’s Meeting in Review.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm