Charley Horwitz Memorial Platform – Honoring Activists, Organizers and Scholars

Sunday, May 7, 2017: Guest Speaker Professor Aldon Morris

Remembering Charley Horwitz

The Charley Horwitz Platform is held annually to honor the life and work of a devoted community organizer, civil rights activist, labor lawyer and international humanitarian.

“I thank Charley Horwitz for inviting me to join BSEC in 2004,” says Vandra Thorburn, chair of the Ethical Action Committee. “From a game of tennis to meetings around Haiti, Brooklyn Community Action Network,   Bed-Stuy’s PS 44 partnership and various Ethical committee meetings, Charley was always organizing and inviting me to participate. Sometimes I forget that’s what needs to be done: organize!”

“Charley was a wonderful man, as well as a gifted community and issues organizer. He took no personal credit for the myriad of local, state or national organizations, projects and campaigns he worked for over the decades,” remembers former BSEC leader, Lisel Burns. Charley Horwitz left his

Charley Horwitz left his hometown of Chicago for Mississippi in 1964. For the next nine years he worked for the SNC Freedom Fund, the Delta Ministry of the National Council of Churches and organized local chapters of the ACLU. “I regard my work there as the most significant and enriching experience of my life,” Charley wrote in 1985.

“I regard my work there as the most significant and enriching experience of my life,” Charley wrote in 1985. While in Mississippi, Charley met and married Carol Hinds, a teacher and activist, and together they raised two daughters, Rebecca and Allison. In 1974 the family moved north where Charley continued his legal work eventually becoming lead-counsel with the New York State Department of Labor enforcing the garment industry sweatshop laws, minimum wage and related employment laws.

In addition to being President of BSEC Board of Trustees (1997-2003), Chair of its Ethical Action Committee, on the National Board of Fonkoze USA (a micro-credit bank in Haiti), he served on the Executive Committee of the Brooklyn Parents for Peace and its Israel-
Palestine Committee. In 2005, he organized a group of civil rights leaders to visit the occupied territories in Gaza and provide “report backs” to congregations and community organizations in the NY metro area.

“When Charley and I visited Gaza in 2005, we were horrified to see what oppressive  conditions were being carried out by the Israeli Government,” shares Carol Horwitz. “I know Charley is with me as I oppose the bigotry and oppression of US and Israeli policies through my work with the Jewish Voice for Peace.”

An Event for Activists, Organizers and Scholars

On Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 53 Prospect Park West, the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture will honor the leadership of two great civil rights organizers – Charley Horwitz and W.E.B. Du Bois – and invites the community to join in a day long conversation to learn from them and each other as we “level up” and prepare to take on the challenges of today.  We will also enjoy a Haitian Kermesse with food, crafts, music and dance throughout the day.  

Please join us in supporting this important work by becoming a sponsor of The Journal to Honor Activists, Organizers and Scholars ( please use the form below for the donation and sponsorship)

The Charley Horwitz Memorial Platform:  11am – 12:30pm
This Memorial Platform is held to honor the life and work of a devoted community organizer, civil rights’ activist, labor lawyer and international humanitarian. Charley Horwitz moved to Mississippi from Chicago in 1964 to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Council of Federated Organizations and the Delta Ministry of the National Council of Churches. He was President of the Board of Trustees at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture and Chair of its Ethical Action Committee. Charley also served on the Executive Committee of Brooklyn for Peace and initiated the Israel/Palestine Committee after he and several SNCC organizers visited the Palestine occupied territories in Gaza in 2005.

Featured Speaker: Aldon Morris is the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University and the author of The Scholar Denied where he argues that W.E.B. Du Bois was the founder of modern America sociology and that his contributions to the field were suppressed for decades due to institutional racism.  Born in Tutwiler, Mississippi, Morris experienced Jim Crow racism and segregation and the lynching of 14-year old Emmett Till. 

Haitian Kermesse: 12 – 4pm
Featuring arts, crafts, food vendors, musicians and entertainers, the Kermesse will include Haitian organizations like Fonkoze US, Neges Foundation and Greenhaiti. Musicians and entertainers sourced through the Haiti Cultural Exchange.

“Stepping Up Our Organizing Skills” — a teach-in and awards program:  2 – 4pm
Co-hosted with The Du Bois Bunche Center for Public Policy as an open session to honor activists, organizers and scholars. The DuBois Bunche Center was founded at Medgar Evers College to empower and cultivate the work of the next generation of scholar activists dedicated to solving the challenges confronting urban communities in the USA and throughout the African Diaspora. 


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Pictures from Families Celebrate Africa – A MLK Event

We celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s Day celebrating our community’s diversity and talents. More than ever, it was a good time to honor the cultural richness of our country and the power of peaceful action. A huge thanks to all who helped make this event so successful. All people who worked hard to put it together, the amazing volunteers who welcomed everyone with a smile and with willing helping hands, and all who came with their families to share this event with us.
Check out some of the pictures of the event below:

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Members’ Meeting – January 29th, 2017

Dear Members,

We are looking forward to our next Members’ Meeting, January 29th, 1-3PM. We will have a slightly abbreviated platform and luncheon that morning. As many of us have expressed, at this time, we are all called to action. As members of Ethical Culture we are compelled in ways congruent with our values.  Our Society, our community, our members lead a range of programs and organize many ways each of us can make a difference.

As Grace Lee Boggs wrote…
“We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.”

At our Member meeting we will share about the many opportunities we all engage with and will be asked to join and support:

Lucy’s Children
Society Writers
Ethics for Children
Ethical Action
Ethical Living
Board and membership development
You will also have time to share your own ideas…And, we will also focus on an activity that includes all of us:
the capital campaign for our property stewardship and accessibility
Here we are the change we wish to see in the world…
Rebecca Lurie Board President
Janice Novet, Board Vice-President

Our Winter Solstice Celebration 2016

BSEC Winter Solstice 2016

In times of darkness, we celebrate the Winter Solstice together to welcome the return of the light. Our inter-generational event focused on ancient South American civilizations and how they honored the sun. DuPree led the musical part of the event and the children answered questions about the seasons and helped distribute evergreens and welcoming the sun. The solstice the time to send wishes of peace and light into the world, particularly in times of great need, like now.
Big thanks to all who helped make this event such a success, and to all who brought food, came early and left late to help set up and break down at the end of the day.
Below you will find some pictures of the event:

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Ethics for Children Update – December 4th, 2016 class

Simba Yangala (Exploring Ethics, 3-7 years)
It was fun being at the platform with the children, sharing a song with the grown ups this Sunday morning. Back in our class, after our greeting song, I asked the children which place they liked more, the children’s place or the grown up’s place. Two out of eight children said the like the grown up place. For our Ethical discussion, we talked about the importance of caring about our friends. For the Ethical dilemma, we used the example of when to tell a friend’s secret. If it’s a surprise birthday party, we keep the secret and if they going to take another friend’s lunch box, we can get help to bring out the best in them. The children were really engaged in the activity. Before going on to our play time, we practiced voting. The choices were, which one to start first: the playroom for free play or going in the hallway for the selected game, “Statue”. 6 children chose the hallway and 2 chose the  playroom. We started with “Statue” in the hallway and then did our mannequin challenge at the beginning of our free play. Have a wonderful week and see you next Sunday 🙂

Taty Sena (Living Ethics, 12-14 years)
This week in Living Ethics we joined the platform for the beginning musical opening with Dupree. We went back to the classroom for a discussion on our experience handing out our care bags before the Thanksgiving break. The kids were very insightful about what they learned from it and it developed into a discussion about how we can do more and maybe get the whole society involved in the coming year.  More on that to come. We have also talked a little about thankfulness and appreciating what we are given and those in our lives.

Lea Bender (Evolving Ethics, 12-14 years)
We picked up a discussion topic from several weeks ago: what does it mean to “be a man”?  For some other perspectives on this subject we watched/discussed excerpts from a documentary called The Mask You Live In (available on Netflix –I pre-screened it and skipped over a few parts that were too mature, but it’s a good documentary to view in full as parents/caregivers of a young teen).  We will finish our discussion/screening next week and begin to plan the projects that we will present in June.