Calendar

Jan
26
Sun
The Encampment for Citizenship – An Experience in Participatory Democracy
Jan 26 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
The Encampment for Citizenship - An Experience in Participatory Democracy @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

The Encampment for Citizenship, founded in 1946 by Ethical Culture Leader Algernon D. Black and Alice (“Nanny”) Pollitzer, a prominent civic leader, offered an opportunity for “young adults of many religious, racial, social and national backgrounds” to learn “the principles and techniques of 2 citizenship… through lived experience.” Black believed that young people could be a positive force in their communities if they developed critical thinking skills, youth activism, leadership qualities, and the courage to break free from stereotypes. Eleanor Roosevelt, long-time chair of The Encampment board of sponsors, often hosted students for discussions, workshops and barbeques at her Hyde Park estate. When the program was attacked by McCarthyite forces in the early 1950s, she defended it vigorously. “The reason I think these Encampments are so important,” she wrote, “is that they are attended by citizens of different races and groups. They prepare people for thinking in terms of all people and not in terms of a selected few. Not only we in the U.S., but people all over the world, need young people trained to be good citizens with an ability to think with an open mind.”

Anne Klaeysen recently retired as Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture where she served since 2008. She continues to be Humanist Chaplain at New York University and Ethical Humanist Religious Life Adviser at Columbia University, and teaches at the Center for Education  (formerly the Humanist Institute) of American Humanist Association. Anne holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral care and counseling from Hebrew Union College.

Feb
2
Sun
Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice
Feb 2 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Speaker:
Lana Dee Povitz and Kathy Goldman
Presider: Rebecca Lurie
Featuring Music by:
The Brooklyn Women’s Chorus

Author Lana Dee Povitz talks with the book’s most featured protagonist, Kathy Goldman. The stories touch the range of free school lunch, breakfast and summer food programs to the origins of the Park Slope Food Coops and God’s Love, We Deliver. Feeding people in need may seem like a charitable act. And getting good food to people at good prices may be part of a sustainable practice. But the book and the stories go further to illustrate that when done in connection to the broader view of our unjust political and economic system, getting people fed is directly tied to a movement to end poverty and for economic justice. We will explore through a personal lens what we can do when we espouse notions of “good food”.

Visit https://uncpress.org/ to purchase a copy of Stirrings, use discount code 01DAH40.

Feb
16
Sun
John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859), A Catalyst for Change
Feb 16 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859), A Catalyst for Change @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Americans, perhaps more than other nationals, want to believe the best about their country.  The prevailing historical norms generally point to people who stand with little ambiguity relative to the “big picture” of what is America and what is espoused as its founding principles.  It is a rosy and romantic stroll down history’s lane ignoring anything that interferes with that idyll.  Contemporarily and in retrospect, a review of John Brown strikes at the heart of that romantic picture.  Our attention is directed to the oft-ignored undertow which gave the plantations their magnolia fragrance, their courtly life with their extravagant balls.  Clearly, this life allowed some groups to become embedded local elites, their representatives flagrantly exercising their will fostering supportive national policies and steering the economic direction of the country to serve their ultimate interests.  The obvious crux of the matter was African slavery.   John Brown vowed to destroy it and the hope, of course, is that others would rally to the cause.  In anticipation, John Brown moved towards the inevitable showdown, first in Kansas and then at Harper’s Ferry.  Then it was over with his execution, but was it?  Eleven months later, the election of Abraham Lincoln sent the South to paroxysms and by March, the states that had been united had become undone.