Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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Exploring Ugandan Humanist Education; Member Krystal White, servant-leader

December 8, 2023

The Ugandan students and schools the Ethical Society supports are full of strength, resilience, and hope. Come learn about the recent developments at the Uganda Humanist Schools and leave inspired by the schools’ and students’ promising futures.

The Ethical Society community currently supports 36 female high-school students with full boarding scholarships ($525/yr) and provides reusable menstrual supplies for all menstruating students in the primary and secondary schools. If you would like to make a donation to benefit the schools and you cannot attend the Platform, please contact Krystal White or Nancy Jelinek.

Member Krystal White self identifies as a servant-leader and can be found around the Ethical Society chairing Platform, singing in the Justice Choir or with The Ethical Band, and coordinating service projects. In the recent past, she co-chaired the End Racism Team and served on the boards of the Ethical Society, Ethical Society Nursery School, Abortion Action MO (then NARAL ProChoice Missouri), and the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust. She endeavors to put her ethics into daily action and to do good with her time and energy.


Unedited Video

Being Human Together: A Justice Choir Experience

November 28, 2023

This performance experience features new and familiar music investigating the questions above and, hopefully, inspiring us to action in our St. Louis community. Enjoy music from the newest chapter of the international Justice Choir movement, Justice Choir STL. We are a radically inclusive community choir amplifying local justice movements through collaborative partnership performances. Led by Ethical Society of St. Louis Music Director Claire Minnis, this ensemble is open to all voices. If you have an interest in singing and a passion for justice, you belong here.

Our performances connect our audiences with a local organization working to build justice in the St. Louis community, and our wide variety of musical selections include songs from the Justice Choir Songbook, familiar favorites like Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” and newer tunes like The Highwomen’s Grammy-award-winning “Crowded Table.”


    I Lift My Voice – by Andrea Ramsey: https://songs.justicechoir.org/ILiftMyVoice
    Liberty and Justice for All – by Brandon Williams: https://songs.justicechoir.org/LibertyForAll
    If You Want Peace (Work for Justice) – by David Avshalomov: http://justicechoir.org/songbook
    poetry by Cara Blair and Dr. Treasure Shields Redmond
    Rise – by Arianne Abela: https://songs.justicechoir.org/Rise
    – by Brian Tate
    Crowded Table – by The Highwomen, arr. Andrea Ramsey
    words from Kelly Moore, International Institute of St. Louis
    We Will Sing – by Penny Stone: https://songs.justicechoir.org/WeWillSing
    We’re Free – by Kevin Caparotta: https://songs.justicechoir.org/Free
    Stand by Me- by Leiber, Stoller & Ben E. King, arr. De-Lisser


Unedited Video

Shame; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

November 22, 2023
Person in a yellow cap holding their hands over their face in shame.
Photo by @felipepelaquim

As a last minute fill in for an ill presenter, Amy talks from her book chapter on shame


Unedited Video

There is Hope in Combating Climate Change; – Sophia Hayes, PhD

November 5, 2023
Carbon being emitted by power plants getting sucked through a carbon capture device and then stored underground.

Scientists and engineers worldwide are devoted to helping find solutions to the negative effects of climate change. In this (largely nonscientific) presentation, Sophia will showcase some of those efforts. In short, there is “hope” — and it may help to recognize — we have done this before with other threats to our environment.

Sophia Hayes is a mom, an educator, and a research scientist. Her scientific work is in areas that determine the structure of matter, through “fingerprinting” molecules and atoms to assist other scientists and engineers in understanding chemical processes–everything from how we can capture CO2 with tailored structures, to how you can do exotic quantum sensing with semiconductors. She is a professor of chemistry at Washington University, and she embraces the opportunity to educate students in how to communicate complex science Sophia Hayes concepts to broad audiences.


Unedited Video

Addressing the Root Causes of Health Disparities; Will Ross, MD, MPH

October 29, 2023
Face of a sad looking black child.
Photo by TopSphere Media

Our health status should not be predicated on our place of residence, but that is invariably the case across the country, and particularly true in St. Louis, where the life expectancy living in an inner-city ZIP code is 18 years lower than someone living in a ZIP code less than 10 miles away. There are many factors that have conspired to reduce the health status of Black Americans in the U.S. These include social and structural determinants of health, such as systemic racism and sociocultural barriers, which lead to inadequate social and built environments, inadequate information and knowledge, risk-promoting lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors, exposure to carcinogens, and diminished access to health care. The persistence of unconscionable disparities obligates systemic reform to improve the health of the African American community. Rebuilding our neighborhoods and schools, and eliminating intergenerational poverty would go a long way to improving the health of African Americans in St. Louis.

Will Ross, MD, MPH, is associate dean for diversity, principal officer for community partnerships, and alumni-endowed professor of medicine in the Nephrology Division at Washington University School of Medicine. For over 25 years, Dr. Ross has developed innovative medical school pipeline programs and recruited and developed a diverse workforce of medical students, residents and faculty. He has promoted health equity locally, nationally and globally through collaborations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and public health officials in Ethiopia and Haiti. He recently co-developed an undergraduate program in public health in Haiti. He is the founder of the former Saturday Free Health Clinic and co-founder of Casa de Salud Latino Health Center. Dr. Ross is also advisory board chair and founding member of the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, a magnet health professions high school in St. Louis. A graduate of Yale University, he completed medical school at Washington University School of Medicine, an Internal Medicine residency at Vanderbilt University, and a Renal Fellowship at Washington University. He completed a Master of Science in Epidemiology at Saint Louis University School of Public Health.


Unedited Video

Can We Cultivate Compassion?; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

October 22, 2023

A rudimentary dive into compassion research unearthed this: “…While cynics may dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people…” (UC Berkley, “Greater Good Magazine”)

What could be more impactful on a community than a desire to approach and care for other people? The intentional cultivation of compassion is not only possible, but necessary. Historically, we may have troubled ourselves with any number of other endeavors, but in the turmoil of today, it becomes increasingly urgent that we focus on co-creating spaces where people feel seen, supported, and cared for. Compassion literally means “to suffer together,” but I’d like the focus to be on “relieving suffering together.”


Unedited Video

Antiracism as Daily Practice: Changing White Communities One Step at a Time; Rev Dr Jennifer Harvey

October 8, 2023

White Americans can choose behaviors in our everyday lives to grow racial justice. It’s especially vital for white people to engage in and with our families, through our social networks, in our neighborhoods, and at our jobs to make antiracism a daily living commitment. Meanwhile these are some of the hardest places to do so. We have real power in our relationships with other white people—and not enough of us have used it. We need to talk about why white people struggle with knowing what to do about racism, and the significance of emotions like grief and anger (as well as the harmful role of shame) in reckoning with the transformation our communities need to become the partners in justice that Black communities and other communities need and deserve. Not only is such transformation vital to the well-being of U.S. democracy, it’s vital to the freedom and wholeness of white people too.

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey is a writer and educator long engaged in racial justice and white antiracism. Her books include the New York Times bestseller Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in Racially Unjust America and Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation. She has written for the New York Times and CNN, appeared on CNN’s Town Hall on Racism with Sesame Street, and been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and “It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders.” After serving nearly 20 years at Drake University as a professor of religion, she recently became the vice president for Academic Affairs and academic dean at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Harvey is ordained in the American Baptist Churches (USA).


Unedited Video

We Can’t Be Cats (But That Doesn’t Make Us Sheep); Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

October 1, 2023

You’ve heard the idiom about trying to manage a challenging group, “It’s like herding cats?” This is funny (and true) because, well, cats are impossible to herd. They do what they want, when they want.

You’ve also heard “Don’t be a sheep.” Being called a sheep is an insult. It means someone views you as just going along with things. At the Ethical Society, we don’t want to fall into complacency and group think; we value being individuals who have our own opinions.

But, when we are in community together, what is the sweet spot between these extremes? How do we balance doing what is best for the “greater good” with honoring ourselves and our own autonomy and ideas? Let’s explore this together with our Interim Director, Amy Miller, as we continue to “Explore the Human Condition.”

Amy is a clinical social worker, relationship coach, mediator, and the author of Easyish: Keys To A (Relatively) Easy Relationship, published in 2021.


Unedited Video

The War of Intersections: Fighting The Cause of Our Division; Heather Fleming

September 24, 2023
Africian American woman, Heather Fleming in a blue dress with her arms crossed.
Heather Fleming

Across the country, we continue to see attacks on critical race theory, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), access to books and libraries, sex education, affirmative action, women’s reproductive rights, civil rights, and much more in our legislatures and institutions. To many, these issues seem to be overwhelming to fight individually, but for those who have been immersed in the issue, the prevailing understanding is that we are really fighting one common enemy that presents itself in a myriad of ways. Heather Fleming, founder and director of the MO Equity Education Partnership, explains the connection to each of these issues and how we all can work collectively to defeat this movement.

Heather Fleming is the founder and director of In Purpose Educational Services (IPES), author of the book My Black Friend Says…: Lessons in Equity, Inclusion, and Cultural Competency, and founder and director of the MO Equity Education Partnership (MoEEP). Prior to her work in organizing and equity training, she started her career working eight years in the public service sector. She then moved into education and served as an English Language Arts teacher for 14 years before becoming a full-time equity and inclusion training and program design professional. Her goal for her work in this field is to promote healing, understanding, and equity for all.


Unedited Video

For Your Consideration; Emiel Barrett. EdD

September 23, 2023
Puerto Ricans American man,  Emiel Barrett, smiling and sitting in a chair.

Emiel’s presentation delves into the intricate dynamics of code-switching and implicit bias, and explores how people with marginalized identities navigate diverse environments, including adapting their communication styles to fit cultural expectations. It sheds light on the subtle yet powerful impact of implicit bias on our perceptions and interactions. Emiel’s presentation will encourage critical self-reflection and equip community members with strategies to foster more inclusive and equitable interactions.

As a leadership and professional development practitioner, Emiel specializes in developing and coaching executives, teams, and emerging leaders. For more than 26 years, he has successfully facilitated the untangling of interpersonal and organizational complexities that plague team dynamics. His work is grounded in research and experience in the fields of leadership development, executive presence, “the habit of coaching,” and diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Barrett served in the US Navy for 21 years; during this time, he crafted a focused, direct, and warm approach that wastes no time in engaging with leaders to discover the most equitable solutions for their organizations.

He earned a doctorate of education from the University of New England and an M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. He is a professional certified coach with the International Coaching Federation and a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Hogan Assessment.


Unedited Video

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