Honoring Black History Month: Frederick Douglass, one of the finest orators and inspirational writers of the 19th century, began his life enslaved. In the abolitionist movement, he was living testimony that the slaveholders’ excuse for slavery was a lie: that people of African descent lacked the capacity to long for and enjoy freedom. He went on to hold public office and work for a variety of reforms, and held firmly to the value of equality and freedom for all people — including Black people, Native Americans, women, immigrants. Learn more about his life (and even some connections to Ethical Culture) in this talk by our Clergy Leader, Jone Johnson Lewis, on why Douglass is one of her ethical heroes.
The long known principle of cooperation as a path to liberation was articulated by W. E. B. DeBois in a piece he wrote in 1907. Honoring his life and connecting his work to present day struggles, the Honorable Roger Green will tell the story and the vision of the Coalition to Transform Interfaith. The community and labor coalition formed to save the hospital looked deeper than a typical reorganization to create a plan for transformational impact that promises to bring health and wealth to the community.
Hon. Roger L. Green, Executive Director of Dubois-Bunche Center on Public Policy, Medgar Evers College, CUNY and the Coalition to Transform Interfaith, served as an elected member of the New York State Assembly from 1981-2005. During his tenure in the State Legislature Green was widely acknowledged as an expert on educational reform and children and family policies. Green served as the Chair of the Committee on Science and Technology, the Committee on Children and Families and the Joint Budget Conference Committee on Human Resources. A longstanding advocate of civil and human rights, Green worked within the legislative process to enact numerous laws that reflected his commitment to these principles.
While feminism and freethought are separate causes, there is significant overlap. The feminist movement has sometimes marginalized freethinkers “for the good of the cause,” and feminism hasn’t always been welcomed with open arms within freethought or atheist movements. Clergy Leader Jone Johnson Lewis will look at both historical and current tensions between the two, plus highlight a few individuals who worked for feminism and freethought — and often also were involved with other social justice causes, including anti-racism and economic justice. With Clergy Leader Jone Johnson Lewis.
On this Sunday, the Brooklyn Women’s Chorus with Bev Grant will help us celebrate Women’s History Month with songs celebrating women and their struggle for freedom and justice.
The Brooklyn Women’s Chorus is celebrating their 20th year together with a concert on May 12 at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan at 99 Chambers Street. The chorus has been rehearsing at BSEC every Tuesday since its formation.
Women experience racism somewhat differently than men do, and white women experience sexism differently from women of color. Movements for women’s rights were historically mostly dominated by white women, often focused on issues relevant primarily to white women, and were often expliclty or implicitly racist. Movements for racial justice were historically mostly dominated by men and often focused on “equal manhood,” and could be explicitly or implictly sexist. Each movement sometimes actively worked against the other, and often the two movements saw each other as a common cause. It’s a complicated history, including cooperation and betrayals. Clergy Leader Jone Johnson Lewis will call out some lessons for today in this tangled mess in honor of Women’s History Month.
The current landscape: anti-choice lawmakers in the White House, Congress and state legislatures across the country attempting to dismantle reproductive rights and access. These changes target those populations that are already marginalized in our society, including women of color and low-income individuals.
The speaker will focus on what the reproductive rights and justice movements look like in 2017 and what we are fighting for. She will discuss the importance of state and local action to protect reproductive rights and health, and what we all can do this year to help pass meaningful state legislation that will advance abortion rights and contraceptive access in New York State.
Emily Kadar is the Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager at the National Institute for Reproductive Health and the NIRH Action Fund. In that role, she lobbies for proactive, pro-choice policy in New York State and City and manages the organization’s electoral activity. Prior to joining the National Institute in 2012, Emily was part of the federal government relations team at the Center for Reproductive Rights and organized young activists as a National Campus Organizer at the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Every emotion, including anger, is part of our personal natural alarm system. Anger is a kind of human wisdom, warning us of a threat or of injustice. If we ignore, dismiss, or suppress our anger, we’ll miss that wisdom, and do measurable physical damage to our own bodies. If we act while angry, we may make the situation we’re facing even worse. In this talk, we’ll explore how ideas from religion and philosophy and science can help us to transform anger into the kind of action that will bring real transformation to our lives and our world. With Clergy Leader Jone Johnson Lewis.
In a polarized nation, these are difficult times. Under what circumstances do people really open to a shift or even transformation of their perspective?
The founders of the Ethical movement had a dream of Ethical Culture Society members equipping themselves to be agents of moral transformation – building their own capacities to act in ethical ways toward the common good, and encouraging their colleagues and neighbors to do the same.
Today we can participate in our own capacity building for the sake of the larger good, by learning and sharing tools of communication that foster not simple agreement, but the capacity for transformation of both our own and others perspectives.
Join Lisel Burns, Leader Emerita, in a colloquy dedicated to sharing our experience with tools of transformation. Feel free to bring your own experiences and tools to share.
What can ethical humanists make of the Christian story of sacrifice and the Jewish story of liberation, and other religious stories centered on spring? Each has a different way of expressing a concept of birth, renewal, transformation.
Frances Beal, in 1969, wrote an essay on the topic of “to be black and female.” In that essay, she identified the turning point of sacrifice — the point that differentiates the healthy sacrifice that is an important part of the human life journey, and the unhealthy part, that sacrifices others for the sake of the few. She said, “To die for the revolution is a one-shot deal; to live for the revolution means taking on the more difficult commitment of changing our day-to-day life patterns.”
Many have asked what values you’d be willing to die for. Brooklyn Ethical’s interim Clergy Leader Jone Johnson Lewis. challenges us to think about what values we’d be willing to live for.
In honor of National Poetry Month
The Brooklyn Society Writers
“Your Silence Will Not Protect You.”
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. – Audre Lorde
Please join us as a dozen Brooklyn poets lend their voices to share the promise of hope, the power of love and now, more than ever, the power of standing up and being counted!