WDCSA Newsletter – October 2020

This month’s newsletter is available for download in PDF format.


Due to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak and an abundance of concern for the well-being of our community,  the University’s senior leadership has recommended that all large in-person events be cancelled or postponed.  However, we will still be hosting virtual events, as detailed below.

In addition, our monthly board meetings will be held virtually until further notice.  See below for the October and November meeting details.

We are going to take this time as an opportunity to brainstorm fun activities and events for the DC-area Stanford Community. If you have any ideas for events, do not hesitate to reach out to the WDCSA Board!  

Because we have not been able to offer our customary level of activities, the WDCSA Board has decided to extend all current memberships (regardless of their length) by one year at no charge.  These extensions will occur later this year and require no action on the part of members.

Thank you,

Patricia, James, Stephanie, and Jim

Calling All WDCSA Members

WDCSA is developing a series of online gatherings for alumni in the DC area. 

We are looking for Stanford alumni who may have ideas of different online events that they would want to host.  If you have an idea and would like to host, simply fill out this form: https://forms.gle/6744HK6jWrqjYjuV7.

After submitting, we will review the idea and reach out about planning the event together.  

If you have any questions, contact: Patricia Arty ’10 at patriciaarty@alumni.stanford.edu.

Events Calendar

  • October 11 – Washington, DC Book Club Discussion
  • November 8 – Washington, DC Book Club Discussion
  • November 16 – Baltimore Book Club Discussion

Upcoming Events

Washington DC Book Club Discussion

Sunday, October 11, 5 pm

The book group will discuss The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein

It was the law that prevented integration. In this book, Rothstein explodes the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces and describes instead how American federal, state, and local governments systematically imposed de jure residential segregation. The governments did so with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. Such policies, although clearly unconstitutional, persisted throughout most of the 20th century and continue to have a profound influence on the prospects for blacks today. This groundbreaking, indispensable study has transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history and should force us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past. 

For further information, please contact Don Bieniewicz, MS ’75, at donbien@erols.com.

Washington DC Book Club Discussion

Sunday, November 8, 5 pm

The book group will discuss God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy.

Taking place in the small Indian town of Ayemenem, this is the story of fraternal twins Rahel and Estha and their extended family. The plot, which involves failed marriages, illicit love affairs, deaths, betrayals, and two children trying to figure it all out, is secondary to the theme of how we sometimes purposely and sometimes inadvertently destroy our own lives—generation after generation after generation. The two children fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family—their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who loves by night the man her children love by day), their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), and their enemy, Baby Kochamma (grandaunt, ex-nun, and a woman whose own desire for love has been thwarted). After their mother divorced her abusive, drunkard husband, she and the twins returned to the family home. But because of the divorce, she is considered an outcast. Everyone in this household has been thwarted in love in one way or another. It is a story about family fights, forbidden love, violent spousal abuse, child sexual abuse, incest, Indian politics, and the insurmountable differences between classes in India. What makes it challenging is that the story is not told chronologically, jumping primarily between two distinct times—two weeks when the twins are 7 years old and later when they are 31 years old. The first chapter jumps around in time and introduces many characters, but it is dense in important information, so pay attention. 

For further information, please contact Don Bieniewicz, MS ’75, at donbien@erols.com.

Baltimore Book Club Discussion

Monday, November 16, 7:30 pm
Google Meet: Everyone will be emailed a link to join the meeting a few minutes before.

Our November selection is Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham.  This non-fiction harkens back to another mass disaster that threatened public health over a broad area, with more than a few parallels to what the world is experiencing now. The author makes clear that although much of the error could be attributed to technology that was outdated, worst-case scenario models were not actively studied in Russia, and such proactive drills might have made a difference in the final outcome. It is both a scientific tutorial on how nuclear reactions can spin out of control and a riveting tale of the personalities involved, from earnest engineers working to the best of their ability, to managers more concerned about saving face than saving people, to heroic civil defense personnel who charged in to help implement the final technical fix, preventing complete meltdown at the expense of their own health and well-being.  From the first report of a problem, the clock was ticking and yet almost no one involved realized the scale of the disaster that was about to unfold.  

The January selection is China Dream by Ma Jian and Flora Drew.

Questions/RSVP:  Helene Myers, Ph.D., P’14, at cedarhouse@comcast.net

In Case You Missed It

This month we begin a new feature highlighting recent Stanford recordings that you may missed. Please email Bill Pegram at bill@billpegram.com if you have suggestions for future newsletters providing the URL and any relevant background and whether we can use your name as recommending it.

Stanford In The News

  • Stanford has combined the three offices that address sexual assault and sexual harassment education and response to create one office: the SHARE Title IX Office. SHARE stands for Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Education. The new office merges the Title IX Office, the Sexual Harassment Policy Office (SHPO) and the Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education and Response Office (SARA).