Join or Die

Posted in: Club Newsletter, Featured, In The News, Reflections Articles

Join or Die
by Byron Jackson

The non-profit agency, Possibilities, Inc., and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recently partnered to show the documentary film, Join or Die at the Yale Event Center.  Join or Die, one of Dead Center Film Festival’s 2023 featured documentaries, is a film about why you should join a club and why the fate of America may depend on it.  The documentary follows the half-century story of America’s civic unraveling through the journey of legendary social scientist, Robert Putnam, whose groundbreaking “Bowling Alone” research into America’s decades-long decline in community connections could hold the answers to our democracy’s present crisis.

The film highlights a handful of long-standing, credible, community organizations, one of which is Rotary.  The documentary shared the story of how Rotary started with the vision of one man, Paul Harris, the Chicago attorney who formed the club in 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.  The message of this film may strongly resonate with Rotarians and specifically those in OKC’s Club 29 where through our involvement as members, we have experienced the benefits of deepening community involvement, personal and professional connections, and opportunities for collaboration.

The film demonstrates the irreplaceable value clubs and organizational memberships offer in that no matter what is happening in our country, they give people a place to belong and a platform to maintain a sense of community.  However, according to Putnam, civic engagement peaked in the early sixties.  Since then, that number has declined in subtle but profound ways.  Religious and civic involvement numbers are down.  And to note, my own original Rotary group disbanded for lack of involvement.

Might I leave you with this thought…as you attend Rotary, never lose sight of our vision, a place for citizens to belong and a place to be a part of something bigger.  Motivation for the Chamber and Possibilities to collaborate and show this film came from respect for a shared mission.    The Chamber is the visionary organization in the region giving voice to each business in the community and a platform to connect while Possibilities mission is to make sure we create human connections that make our communities vibrant, alive, and meaningful.

5 Comments for : Join or Die
    • Emily Stratton
    • October 16, 2023

    Good column, Byron. Very meaningful!!!

    • Paul Moore
    • October 16, 2023

    Great thoughts Byron! Thank you for reminding us of the power of connection.

  1. I was so glad that I had the opportunity to see the movie, and to think of all the ways in which I’ve been blessed because I was willing to join and be accepted.

    • Dick Hefton
    • October 16, 2023

    In a 600 member chapter it’s been easy for your unpleasant truth to be lost!
    I am a guilty, even having spent many more years in two chapters of no more than 100.
    Thanks for the thoughtful alert!

  2. Thank you, Bryon, for the invitation for Rotary District 5750 at partner with you on sharing the message of this film. Also, as we “Create Hope in the World”, connection with community is also a great way to heal and grow resilience. We are all in this together and Rotarians are incredible people committed to making a meaningful impact in the world. Excellent article!

Comments are closed.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options