Calendar

Mar
26
Sun
Platform Meeting – Reproductive Rights 2017
Mar 26 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Statue of Liberty

Image (c) Jone Johnson Lewis

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 Kader

Emily Kader, Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager at the National Institute for Reproductive Health and the NIRH Action Fund

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.

Apr
2
Sun
Platform Meeting – Transforming Anger
Apr 2 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Platform Meeting - Transforming Anger @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

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.

 

Apr
9
Sun
Colloquy: Transformation
Apr 9 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Colloquy: Transformation @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

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.

 

Apr
16
Sun
Platform Meeting – Liberation, Sacrifice, Rebirth, Transformation
Apr 16 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Platform Meeting - Liberation, Sacrifice, Rebirth, Transformation @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

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.

 

Apr
23
Sun
A Poetry Reading- Your Silence Will Not Protect You.
Apr 23 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
A Poetry Reading- Your Silence Will Not Protect You. @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

In honor of National Poetry Month
The Brooklyn Society Writers
Presents
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!

Apr
30
Sun
Platform Meeting – Journeys: An Exercise in Dialogue and Reflection
Apr 30 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Platform Meeting - Journeys: An Exercise in Dialogue and Reflection @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Christian Hayden, Mossler Fellow this year of the American Ethical Union, will lead attendees in an evolving exercise, that explores how we can become more grounded, and leave a space more connected than we entered. Christian will employ techniques of exchange from Ethical Culture’s own colloquy (meditative reflection that uses music), along with Theatre of the Oppressed (an assortment of movement games that explore social justice) techniques. If you want to be a part of this experience, come open minded in comfortable clothes and ready to explore with others.

Christian is a member of the Philadelphia Ethical Society and works as a community educator with a domestic violence organization in Philadelphia. Inspired by the colloquy, Christian sought to bring the technique to communities of color while also expanding the technique to include movement as a means of enhancing dialogue. He spent three years as an Americorps member and completed a year of service in Ghana with the Humanist Service Corps. He looks to expand Ethical Culture with his work as a Mossler Fellow of the American Ethical Union, the umbrella organization of Ethical Societies.

Apr
29
Sun
Being a Change Agent with Heart
Apr 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Being a Change Agent with Heart @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

How our compassion can emerge for the long haul of a lifetime.

Lucia Gomez is an apprentice with Universal Partnership and an organizer with the Laborers Union. She cultivates her capacity to approach her activism for social change with love and compassion. Universal Partnership promotes the belief that at the heart of sustainable movements must be the beat of sustainable people. Their mission is to provide innovative self-healing tools, life, and leadership skills to support agents of change in sustaining their humanity and the humanity of the communities they serve, by organizing from a place of wholeness. Join us while we hear how Lucia Gomez has been able to bring her whole self to her organizing and help us do more of the same.

Jul
15
Sun
Sunday Meeting: Black Art and the Ethics of Disruption
Jul 15 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

(c) Adobe. Used with permission.

In his talk, Black Art and the Ethics of Disruption, Joe Tolbert Jr. will explore the ways that Black expressive culture enacts an ethics of disruption and the impact that it can have in our current political climate.

Joe T. is a minister, scholar, writer and cultural organizer whose work is at the intersections of art, culture, spirituality and social justice. He received his B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and completed his M.Div. with a concentration in Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York. His work has been supported by fellowships from National Art Strategies Creative Communities Fellowship, and he is currently an Arts and Culture Fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute. His goal with his work is to help others live, dream, achieve, and inspire. Agreeing with Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons statement, “Art allows people to dream their way out of struggle,” Joe believes that art and culture plays a vital role in any movement for social change. As a Cultural Organizer and Consultant, Joe is a sought-after facilitator and cultural strategist that works with communities to help them harness the power of art and culture through the building, implementation and evaluation of cultural strategies. As a writer he has contributed articles to Alternate Roots, Arts.Black, and Quiet Lunch, among others.

Jul
29
Sun
Sunday Meeting: Queer Safe(r) Space:  Black Church Concerts
Jul 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

From our Intern Clergy Leader, Jé Exodus Hooper:  Homosexuality in the Black church could be considered by many an intersectionality of the sacred and profane. Secularist and the religious community agree on the antithetical positionality of the persistently egregious tensions between their respective communities.  For those who find themselves at the crossroads of identifying as black, Christian and same-gender loving, compartmentalizing these aspects of oneself provides an illusion of safety.  This means rarely existing in a truly authentic manner, fully disclosing oneself, but frequently showing-up in a partially present demeanor.

The word "MUSIC" written in rusty metal letterpress type sitting on a wooden ledge background.

(c) Adobe, used with permission.

Paradoxically, it seems that the black church, in its dogmatic heterosexism, would provide a limited safer space for those who do not conform to heterosexist ideas of sexuality and gender performance that is sermonized within the same walls.  Limited safer space indicates that the LGBT community is provided with more liberties in the music scene but not fully authorized to outwardly display genuine sexual expression.  Boundaries for appropriate behavior are relaxed but not fully removed; again, tensions between the sacred and profane appear.

Our guest speaker on this topic in our Summer Series on The Arts and Social Justice is Ryan Hill of Richmond, Virginia, who has been a creative, analytical lover of humankind.  Living a life of actively helping people, Ryan has assisted others via fitness and nutrition, served as mentor and counselor, been a financial advisor, and is currently embarking on additional education to offer spiritual guidance within the community.  Having a career in finance for more than 15 years, he now plans to integrate the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial into a practice of offering holistic services to the disenfranchised.  A lover of music, art, and the human spirit, Ryan desires to implement the arts in every aspect of life creating an atmosphere leading where creativity aids in the healing process.

Aug
5
Sun
Decolonized Eyes: Embodied Engagement with Experience
Aug 5 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Decolonized Eyes: Embodied Engagement with Experience @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

This platform explores an ethical approach to engaging art for the purposes of justice. In it, we explore strategies for disrupting the colonial gaze when engaging the experiences of people of color as expressed through art.
Elyse Ambrose is a black queer woman.
She is a healing activist, sexual ethicist, and word artist. Her justice work, research, and art lie at the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, class, and spirituality. Currently, a Ph.D. Candidate at Drew University (Religion and Society, concentrating in Women’s & Gender Studies and African American Studies), Elyse’s desire for her scholarship to impact and be informed by real lives leads to a synergy of theory and practice. She is the Founder and Creative Organizer of phoeniXspark, which offers workshops and retreats that center the experiences of queer and trans people of color (QTPoC) as it creates space for healing of sexual and gender selves. Currently, Elyse serves as a Research Fellow at The Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice at Columbia University. This summer, she will also engage research on 1920s black queer Harlem as a Coolidge Fellow through Auburn Seminary and CrossCurrents.

Aug
12
Sun
Humanitas: The making of a film and fellowship
Aug 12 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Humanitas: The making of a film and fellowship @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Jé Hooper, our summer intern, and upcoming Ethical Culture Leader, offers a panel discussion with the staff and cast of Humanitas. Join Storäe Michele, the Society’s own black female director, and screenwriter, as she moderates the panel discussion. Get a chance to witness first hand, a perspective on film and simultaneously, a new lens to congregational life within Ethical Culture. How do film and art intersect with congregational life? How does film create and validate fellowship? How does this era of media and arts inform our community and revitalizes the importance of congregation? This is a platform you don’t want to miss.

Aug
26
Sun
Music Speaks Louder Than Words
Aug 26 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Consider how music often motivates us to move — and has often been used in social justice work to communicate and motivate in ways that simple words and speeches do not. Join us for a celebration of music and social justice, then and now. Most songs will be an opportunity for you to sing along, if you are willing and able, with a few powerful performance pieces as well.

Interim Clergy Leader Jone Johnson Lewis will be joined by musician Lindsey Wilson, an accomplished performer who is also the musician-in-residence at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture and the coordinator for their coffeehouse.

We start the formal program at 11:00 and usually end about 12:30.  After that, we have a time of informal conversation with some beverages and snacks.  Please feel free to bring some snacks to share!

Sep
2
Sun
Turning Dreams and Visions Into Reality
Sep 2 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

This colloquy, facilitated by Dora Gray, Ph.D., was inspired by the document, A Humanist Manifesto,  originally written in 1933 with revisions occurring in 1973 and 2003. A manifesto is a statement published by a person or group of people, in which they say what their aims and policies are. Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without the element of supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

How many dreams and visions remain dormant within us all both individually and collectively regarding the greater good of all?  Isn’t it time to free those ideas and watch them manifest in a tangible manner?  We embark today on a journey of high-level, lively discussions with a goal of creating viable take-aways to lead you closer to the fulfillment of your desires.

© 2018 Adobe Systems Incorporated. Used with permission.

Dora Gray is a Life Coach and Reiki Master-Teacher practicing in New York City.  She is an author, poet, and musician.  The focus of her work is to assist others in healing mind, body and soul, leading to successful outcomes in all areas of life.  She holds a Master of Education, is a former NYC educator in both public and private sectors, and, and is currently a staff writer for a major NYC agency.  Dora holds a Doctor of Philosophical Theology, and is an ordained Interfaith Minister and Wedding Officiant in NYC.  She fuels her work with her passion for writing and music, and empowers others to live their lives in a state of authenticity.  As a member of the BSEC family, she serves as Chairperson of the Ethical Living Committee, and is a member of the BSEC Writers.

A colloquy is an opportunity for sharing ideas and listening to others.  Come join us and feel free to participate!

Sep
9
Sun
Our Part in This World
Sep 9 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Our Part in This World @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Watch Lily Rivkin’s compelling documentary “Heather Booth: Changing the World ”  about this Chicagoan’s lifelong social activism.   Reflect on the personal, cultural and community-changing  paths we each have taken in this world. Consider reading our founding EC Leader’s powerful short book, Our Part in the World. 

After the film, we will have a short time for reflection and conversation.

Sep
16
Sun
Vision: Repair, Repentance, Renewal
Sep 16 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

This month, we’ll be focusing our ethical thoughts on vision.  Repair, repentance, and renewal are part of the practice of intentional imagination and commitment to an envisioned future.   This week opens our new program season for our Ethical Community, and this platform is an excellent time to bring a friend who might be interested in who and what we are.

Any vision for the future also needs to include a vision for how we will express our repentance for the errors we’ve made in the past, for the hurt we’ve caused, for the damage we’ve done.  And then for how we will repair the hurt and damage, and move on to renewal.  We can apply that principle in our personal relationships, and we can apply it to the larger picture.  If we share a vision of every person’s human worth being honored, then seeing what that has not happened and repairing is part of getting to that future we envision.

Jone Johnson Lewis looks at some practical ways we can embody repair, repentance, and renewal in our ethical practice of vision.

Our Sundays begin at 11 am and end about 12:30, with time for socializing afterwards.

On this Sunday, at 1 pm we’ll have a special celebration of one of our oldest members.  All are invited.

Sep
23
Sun
Is There Room at the Table for … Fascists?
Sep 23 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Group of Family and Friends Eating at a large Dining Table (Day Background)

We often sing a song: “There’s Room at the Table for Everyone.”  But do we need to include those whose values are not only contradictory, but whose values include destroying so much that we hold dear?  Political, personal bullies — what is our attitude towards their “place at the table”?  The short answer may be “no.”  A longer answer would have to consider, “which table?”

Our Clergy Leader, Jone Johnson Lewis, will explore the limits of tolerance and the value of boundaries in creating genuine inclusiveness, whether it’s in a community, a family, or an organization like ours.

And a special treat: music by DuPree, accompanied by Barry Kornhauser.

Our Sundays begin at 11 am and end about 12:30, with time for socializing afterwards.

On this Sunday, at 12:30 we’ll be taking a group photo — you’re invited to participate!

Image (c) Adobe, used with permission.

Sep
30
Sun
A More Beautiful and Terrible History
Sep 30 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis debunks contemporary imaginings of the civil rights movement in her new book, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. By showing how the movement was unpopular, disruptive, coast-to-coast, leader-full, and courageously persevering in its time, Theoharis challenges exceptionalist narratives of American democracy that place the civil rights movement firmly in the past and calls attention to the crucial work that remains to be done.

Music by DuPree and Barry Kornhauser.

Jeanne Theoharis portrait

Jeanne Theoharis

JEANNE THEOHARIS is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, CUNY, and author or co-author of books and articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, and social welfare and civil rights in post-9/11 America. Her biography, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” was named one of the 25 Best Academic Titles of 2013 by Choice. Theoharis’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, The Nation, Slate, The Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, The Intercept, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her new book, “A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History,” came out in January.

Our Sundays begin at 11 am and end about 12:30, with time for socializing afterwards.

Oct
7
Sun
Songs of the Sanctuary (a Colloquy)
Oct 7 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

This colloquy, facilitated by Dora Gray, Ph.D., is about the music desired at our gatherings here at Brooklyn Ethical.  What inspires you? What would you like to hear? Would you prefer to sit and listen to music, or is shared singing your style? What about theme-based music, that is, selections connected to a particular topic? Tell us your favorites from past gatherings, or come with a wish list, or just come to hear what others have to offer. You get to tell it all and you just may leave the colloquy with a new song in your heart!  Music by Dora Gray.

Tree with notes and musical symbols

© 2018 Adobe Systems Incorporated. Used with permission.

Dora Gray is a Life Coach and Reiki Master-Teacher practicing in New York City.  She is an author, poet, and musician.  The focus of her work is to assist others in healing mind, body and soul, leading to successful outcomes in all areas of life.  She holds a Master of Education, is a former NYC educator in both public and private sectors, and, and is currently a staff writer for a major NYC agency.  Dora holds a Doctor of Philosophical Theology, and is an ordained Interfaith Minister and Wedding Officiant in NYC.  She fuels her work with her passion for writing and music, and empowers others to live their lives in a state of authenticity.  As a member of the BSEC family, she serves as Chairperson of the Ethical Living Committee, and is a member of the BSEC Writers.

A colloquy is an opportunity for sharing ideas and listening to others.  Come join us and feel free to participate!

Oct
14
Sun
Charley Horwitz Platform
Oct 14 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Charley Horwitz Platform @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

The Charley Horwitz Platform celebrates community building through peaceful resolutions, activism, and inclusion. The annual event is named for the late BSEC president Charley Horwitz.

The celebration kicks off at 11am at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture! Join us for our special platform commemorating the life and work of Charley Horwitz, and participate as we highlight our common ideals of community, activism, and inclusion. Then stay for a special reception (light snacks and drinks served).

KEYNOTE: DR. ROBYN SPENCER

DR. ROBYN C. SPENCER is a historian and expert on social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She teaches survey and seminar courses on African American Heritage, Civil rights and Black Power, and Black women’s history as an Associate Professor of History at Lehman College, City University of New York.

Keynote speech followed by a Q & A session with Dr. Spencer

AFTERNOON ACTIVITIES

Spend the afternoon meeting other organizers, activists, and supporters in the movement for inclusive communities, ethical living, and mindful connection with our neighbors.

YOUTH EVENTS

Young people (13 years to 25 years) are welcome to participate in activities promising to broaden an understanding of social justice, and encourage your natural activism.

Sessions led by Ethical Education instructors and volunteers

CHILDREN’S EVENTS

Children (12 years and younger) and their parents will enjoy entertaining, enlightening, and educational activities with authors and illustrators, including readings and learn-to-draw workshops.