Fast Forward/Rewind September 3, 2021

Friday’s meeting centered around the theme of acting with conviction. Sunrise Toastmasters’ prodigious President, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s meeting from her hotel room in Savannah, GA where she has been vacationing this past week. Noting that Savannah was once one of the largest slave trade ports in the south, Kelsey related a pledge against slavery she had read while in Savannah. She then led us into our customary minute of silence in acknowledgment and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She then turned the meeting over to the Toastmaster, Summer Murphy.

We had a smaller meeting today, with nine members attending. Summer started off by sharing the Word of the Day, “scrupulous,” and asked everyone to do an introduction and share with the group something they are scrupulous about. Members described being scrupulous about a variety of things including child safety, helping others, and “everything in my life.”

Tim Murphy presented the first prepared speech of the day, a Level 2 project on Cross Cultural Understanding in the Strategic Relationships pathway. In his speech titled “Favorable Winds,” Tim painted for his audience a vivid picture of his hard work throughout high school and college, contributing to his families’ income after his parents’ divorce, and paying his way though school. Although he always felt that he had earned everything he got, and that nothing was ever handed to him, Tim acknowledged that his way has been paved by his gender and the pigment in his skin. As a white male, Tim pointed out that he has been “playing the game at the easiest level.” He also noted that when the wind is at your back and you never have to turn around, you may never notice the favorable wind that helped you get where you are. Until there is a level playing field for everyone, Tim is hoping that these realizations will remind him, and people in a similar position of power or influence, that others are having to play the game at a harder level. His evaluator, Norris Bass, remarked on how he related to Tim’s speech, sharing some of his own life experiences that were similar to the stories Tim had included in his talk.

Our second speaker was Anu Parvathaneni, who volunteered to do a pocket speech. Anu discussed the gender bias that is the basis for many school dress codes. She shared a frustrating conversation with a high school girl who had described all of the dress code restrictions placed on girls to “keep boys from looking at them in a sexual way.” Anu lamented over the message this is sending to kids: that girls must dress modestly to protect themselves and that boys are unable to control themselves when it comes to sex. After talking about the possible courses of action for the young girl, Anu noted that as people of conscience, it is important to not just acknowledge injustices, but to take action against them. Kerstin Haase did her first speech evaluation, and complimented Anu on her poise and presentation skills in delivering this impromptu pocket speech. She also echoed the groups’ applause for Anu’s willingness to listen to the grievances of a teenager when kids are so often not given a voice, and to give the girl options on actions she could take without telling her what to do. Congratulations to Anu for an impressive pocket speech, and to Kerstin for an excellent first evaluation!

Kelsey Long served as Table Topics Master, and used her time in Savannah to help craft fun and interesting questions. Our members had amusing responses, including stories about RV trips with their family, and plans to found a colony where no one is allowed to make more than a million dollars. We only got through a few Table Topics during this week’s meeting, so we hope Kelsey will bring back the rest of her questions the next time she is Topics Master.

Amelya Black gave a thoughtful review of the meeting as the General Evaluator, especially noting some powerful phrases used by speakers that had resonated with her.  Savannah Murphy filled in as timer this week, and delivered times for each prepared speech, Table Topics response, speech evaluation and the general meeting review. Anu Parvathaneni, serving as Grammarian, noted a few filler words, and the word of the day usage by members.

Our Toastmaster, Summer, wrapped up the meeting with a quote from Michelle Obama about being scrupulous: “I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”

Our industrious VP of Education, Savannah Murphy, has completed the schedule through the first week of October, and it has been posted to the website.

Next week’s meeting will be at 7 am, September 10 EST on Zoom. The roles for that meeting are as follows:

Toastmaster: Savannah
Speakers: (1) Summer, (2) Dave
Table Topics: Tim
Gen. Evaluator: Nereida
Evaluators: (1) Karen, (2) Kelsey
Timer: Angela
Grammarian: John

Join us at the next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting where we are scrupulous about building confidence, leadership and communication!