Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
Identifying with and being a part of a community is a quintessential human endeavor. However, exclusion is a common challenge to community-building. This talk focuses on teasing out ways to create communities that genuinely strive to include everyone.
Sincere Kirabo is a DC-area-based cultural critic and social change instigator; his work focuses on cultivating Black humanist culture, building healthy Black masculinity, and struggling to create a world that honors the “radical” idea of free Black people. Sincere has a background in social science, and his social critiques have been featured in media outlets including The Humanist, Black Youth Project, and Everyday Feminism. Sincere served as social justice coordinator with the American Humanist Association, connecting humanist philosophy with inclusive practices and outreach. He is active in LGBTQ issues and secular social justice.
Philosophers, politicians, and talking heads everywhere are decrying an apparent breakdown of civility in our public discourse. Rising partisanship, extremism, and an increasingly contentious social media environment are combining to fracture our political community and make our public discussions cruel and fruitless. But what does it mean to be “civil”, really, and is it as high a value as many believe? In this Platform we’ll explore what “civility” means, and how it can cultivate—or stifle—community.
An individual’s community used to be largely determined by circumstance—the extended family and town in which they grew up, the traditions of family and background. “Community” was mostly a given, and often something to escape from in search of freedom and new experiences. Today, community is often something that people are seeking, as families shrink, people move more often, traditions continue to lose power, and individuality reigns supreme. What does it mean to cultivate voluntary community? What do we owe family or tradition? What do we owe relative strangers? What do we owe ourselves? What does choosing community require of us, and what does it give us in return?
Culture and politics today are riven with debates about social justice. Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement are social justice campaigns which have become international phenomena. At the heart of these movements are so-called “social justice warriors”: people who take to the streets (and their keyboards and phones) to promote their vision of social justice. But what does it mean to be a social justice warrior, and should we become one?
The epidemic of gun violence is of deep concern to most Americans. Yet it often seems as if we’re stuck in a cycle of tragedy, “thoughts and prayers, and political stalemate. What progress has been made and how might we achieve more?
A special Platform presenting the 2018 Ethical Society of St. Louis Ethics in Action Award to Jorge Riopedre, president and CEO of Casa de Salud, a clinic providing high-quality, low-cost clinical and mental healthcare to the uninsured, focusing on the new immigrant community.
Jorge founded a media production company specializing in the Hispanic market, and then became the executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. He is a 2015 Eisenhower Fellow, having traveled to Germany and Mexico to study the healthcare systems of those countries, and is now president of the Eisenhower Fellowships St. Louis chapter. Jorge co-founded the St. Louis New American Alliance, which provides referral services to foreign-born individuals throughout the region.
Jorge says, “The Internet and social media have made it easy to connect and given us a megaphone to express ourselves on every topic imaginable, and yet our isolation from each other has increased; we seem to be less willing or able to actually do something to drive change. Actions, not words, are what the world needs from us, and what we need for ourselves.”
Deed Before Creed is one of the best known sayings in the Ethical Humanist movement. It has become a sort of motto for our community, expressing something important about our approach to religious beliefs and ethical values. But what does this motto mean? What is the relationship between our beliefs and our values, and does it matter?
Jé Hooper is in the Leader-in-Training program of the American Ethical Union and the Ph.D Interdisciplinary Arts program at Ohio University. His work promotes the intersections of art, justice, and religious ethics in efforts to obtain social equity. An AEU Mossler Fellow, Jé is working on a film entitled “Humanitas: Conscious Coloring of Kindness,” in which Felix Adler and W.E.B. DuBois are re-imagined in a histocontemporary retrospective.
Our 2018-19 monthly themes are all related to the Ethical Society’s Statement of Purpose, which you can read around the building and at https://ethicalstl.org/who-we-are. What does it mean to Ethical Humanists to live a life of purpose? What are some of the sources of a sense of purpose, for an individual or an organization? Come explore these and related questions, and hear about the year we have in store!
For this year’s “compare and contrast” Platform address, instead of looking at similarities and differences between the Ethical Society and another tradition, we’ll explore how the views and practices of Ethical Societies have changed over time. What would Ethical Society members of 100, 50, or even 20 years ago recognize in the Ethical Society of today? What would they find has changed? And what does our history suggest about how the Ethical Society might continue to develop in the future?
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