Posted by Patti Van Cleave
President Bill called the meeting to order at 12:15. There were 29 in attendance.
 
Ned shared comments and a quote from George Carlin about our process of acquiring “stuff” then divesting ourselves of it. He is currently in the divesting stage.
 
Tom Nash led us in the Pledge. 
 
After lunch, President Bill on behalf of Greeter Crystal LeRoy noted that there were no visiting guests or visiting Rotarians.
 
There were no birthdays. There are two anniversaries: Jean Wright at 26 years, and Markie Gekas at 21 years.
 
Announcements:
One announcement from Heidi that Kids Against Hunger has officially kicked off. We are currently looking for sponsors, and you will hear more from the committee on a weekly basis going forward.
 
Happy Bucks:
Ned had a buck to thank Lee Padgitt for his donation to the Ecuador project. He then shared the surprising news that he is going to be moving to Ecuador to oversee this project. (Hence the opening comment about getting rid of “stuff”!!).
Tony gave 8 bucks in honor of the 8th (we think) years of Kids Against Hunger.
 
Dig N Grin:
Robert shared a quandary around delivering DnG today. He had another plan in mind, until New Years Eve when the following occurred: Robert and wife M (that was a sidebar, as to how M became M) were having cocktails with another couple. Robert was enjoying his Manhattans, and may have had several. At one point, he asked M to be the Designated Driver for the evening. She gave him a strange look, then had a large glass of champagne at midnight. Concerned, Robert asked again if she could drive them home. She explained that she could not…because they were already AT HOME.
Robert closed by wishing all Rotarians and their families a year of love, laughter, peace, enrichment and vitality.   
 
Speaker:   Sara Knizhnik, Organizer for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. You can see her handout with links to many articles here:  documents/en-us/6b62983a-337a-4648-a75a-a9f08f647417/1
 
She began volunteering with Moms Demand Action in the north suburbs three years ago after a 17 year career as a professor. She moved from volunteer to paid advocate last year.  
Her primary focus with this organization is running the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, currently a 160 member coalition of both organizations and individual members, working to change the culture around guns. They encourage non profits, clubs or faith based organizations and individuals to join them.
Recent successes are as follows:
  • They were able to pass the Gun Dealer Licensing Bill through the House and the Senate, but it was vetoed by Gov Rauner. They are hopeful that Gov Pritzker will sign it as soon as he is in office, unless it needs to go back through both houses first. That procedure is being evaluated. They are more confident that it could pass both houses as they now have, after 18 years of grass roots advocacy, a supermajority in Illinois.
  • In Chicago, violence interruption organizations like CeaseFire have been very effective in changing the mindset of violent offenders. She described the progress as “dramatic” in high risk neighborhoods.
  • A law has taken effect in Illinois called the Firearm Restraining Order (a so-called “red flag law”) allowing family members or friends to ask law enforcement to legally remove firearms for 6 months from an individual that they feel is at risk of committing a violent crime.
  • A second law that has taken effect requires a 72-hour waiting period before purchasing a firearm, up from 24 hours.
  • Progress has been made in Lake County, with more elected officials that support gun safety legislation.
Concerns are:
  • Surrounding states have lax laws, Wisconsin and Indiana most notably, allowing gun traffic across state lines.
  • Too many federal officials are “owned” by the gun lobby. While it may take time, these officials need to be voted out of office if they are financially supported by those organizations.
  • While progress has been made, “cultural change takes decades”. Change begins at the local level, then state, then federal. She suggested that progress has been made at the state level.
There was consensus that we would like Sara to come back and share with us again.
 
Heidi won our closing card draw, and President Bill adjourned the meeting at 1:32.  
 
 
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