Newsletter Date: June 13
Meeting Date: June 8
Reporter: Sharon Garland
PP Barbara Harris offered a remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the destruction of businesses and homes of Black residents of Tulsa, OK. It resulted in a great loss of life, left 10,000 homeless and ended a thriving business community referred to as Black Wall Street. She concluded with a quote from Gandhi, “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Incoming club president Holly Applegate joined volunteers from AmeriCorps and Family Service of Rhode Island in escorting students to Harry Kizirian Elementary School as part of FSRI’s Walking School Bus program last Thursday morning. Holly wanted to see the Walking School Bus in action as it met young students at their homes and walked together to ensure safe and on-time arrival at the school.
Our club has a longtime relationship with the school, with volunteers painting the interior, gardening, and reading to the children as part of the club’s Childhood Literacy Initiative. A wide-ranging program of educational software and teacher training during the 21-22 school year at Kizirian is being funded by our club and foundation. Members are encouraged to consider volunteering for the Walking School Bus and other activities to help the kids at Kizirian.
Farouk Rajab, general manager of the Marriott, welcomed us back and talked about the impressive improvements to the facility.
Wendy Marcus wished Happy Birthday to: Avram Cohen, John Buffum and Marco Marinelli
Margaret Kane stared with a Happy Buck in anticipation of a cooler evening
Holly Applegate $70 Happy Bucks for her 70th birthday and the wonderful celebration she had with family and friends
Jim Gilcreast happy that Boston College Women’s Lacrosse Team won the NCAA championship
Cap Willey happy to be in Providence and happy to go home to a much cooler Portsmouth
Barry Fain happy to have had the opportunity to light the torch to start WaterFire when he served as Providence Rotary President
Mary Brewster $5 Happy Bucks for her trip to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and especially, to see her children in California
Barnaby Evans, artist and designer who created WaterFire in 1994, returned to Providence Rotary with an update on WaterFire today and exciting plans for 2022. He included an interesting history of the Providence Renaissance and the role WaterFire played in rebranding Providence into a destination city. WaterFire was Barnaby’s response to use art to reframe the city, bring people to the river and create an economic driver for businesses.
In 2020 there was no WaterFire due to Covid, but the organization still conducted 250 events, mostly outside, at the WaterFire Arts Center. This includes the Beacon of Hope remembrance where families who lost loved ones to Covid were invited to light memorial candles at the center.
Not surprisingly, Barnaby has big plans for 2022. He described a vision he has to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the burning of the British schooner the Gaspee. The scope of the celebration is still evolving but, working with the Gaspee Day Committee and depending on financial and volunteer support, it includes building and burning a replica of the Gaspee at WaterFire on June 11, 2022.
 While not as well known as the Boston Tea Party, many credit the Gaspee’s burning, which took place 15 months before the Boston Tea Party, as the first Revolutionary War action by Patriots against the British. The 2022 celebration will be a year before other 250th US anniversary events, so it has potential to focus national media on Providence.
For those interested in history, architecture and local politics, Barnaby offered a recounting of how the river moving project and Waterplace came to be:
Although the idea of moving Providence rivers was not totally new, it took on a new urgency in 1983 when a Wall Street Journal article described Providence as little more than, “a smudge on the fast lane between New York and Cape Cod.” In response to this, state planners hired architect Marilyn Jordan Taylor, who suggested uncovering and moving the rivers, the train tracks and creating a water feature that she referred to as Waterplace Park. Her presentation inspired Bill Warner, Friedrich St Florian and Irving Hanes to create the initial architectural plans that forever changed the city. He pointed out that this was never a city project and although Buddy Cianci was a great booster for Providence, he did not create the project.
Upcoming Events
June Meeting Registrations
May 29, 2021 – Jun 30, 2021 12:00 AM
View entire list
Upcoming Speakers
Jun 29, 2021
Location: Squantum Association
Jul 13, 2021 12:00 PM
New Book: Without Shame
Jul 27, 2021
Historical cruise through the Ocean State
View entire list
Executives & Directors
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
Assistant Treasurer
Rotary Foundation
Executive Administrator
Director to 2021
Director to 2021
Director to 2021
Director to 2021
Director to 2021
Director to 2022
Director to 2022
Director to 2022
Immediate Past President
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