Today we honor Joan Lipkin as the 2007 Ethical Humanist of the Year. A playwright, director, teacher, activist and social critic, Lipkin has established several theater groups, including That Uppity Theatre Company and the DisAbility Project. Her work is devoted to creatively portraying the life dimensions of everyday people, including the lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, gay and questioning (LBTGQ) population, cancer survivors, those with disabilities, the indigent and racial or cultural minorities.

Lipkin puts the principles of cultural diversity and social justice into innovative theatrical practice as she collaborates with many underrepresented populations. Her works include “After Rodney,” which followed news coverage of the mid-1990s beating of Rodney King, “Some of My Best Friends Are…” the first gay and lesbian review produced in St. Louis, and many others. Her plays have been performed in several U.S. cities as well as in Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia. Lipkin is a mentor for those in arts administration, marketing, grant writing, playwriting, directing, and promoting social justice. She is passionate about involving others in the arts and has introduced many to acting and theater.

“Joan Lipkin was chosen for this award from a field of 10 exceptional nominees. All aspects of her art are imbued with humanist values and devoted to promoting social justice,” said Kayla Vaughan, chair of the Ethical Humanist of the Year Committee. “She is a performance/theater artist whose creative work helps these important messages become part of our public discourse.”

The James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year (now termed Ethics In action)Award was established in 1976 to honor individuals or organizations for outstanding work in improving the human condition.