Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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Environmental Racism in St Louis; Tara Rocque, JD, Washington University’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic

April 16, 2023
Photo by Justin Bautista

Environmental disparities exist and persist throughout St. Louis. The Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at Washington University School of Law conducted a statistical analysis of these disparities, focusing on air pollution, asthma, illegal dumping, vacancy, lead exposure, indoor mold exposure, energy burden, and food deserts. The results were published in the Environmental Racism in St. Louis report. The Clinic has since examined the aspects of our laws and policies that create and perpetuate these disparities, and prepared recommended changes to those laws and policies that–if implemented–would effect change for the better. This presentation will address both aspects of the Clinic’s work, namely, the disparities that persist and the changes necessary to help our city achieve environmental justice.

Environmental Racism in St Louis; Tara Rocque, JD, Associate Professor of Practice at Washington University School of Law and the Assistant Director of Washington University’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic. Prior to joining the Clinic, Tara practiced law for 15 years.


Unedited Video

Feeling “Stuck” – Wants vs. Shoulds; Becky Vollmer and Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

April 9, 2023

Amy Miller will be in conversation with local author and yoga teacher Becky Vollmer to discuss the phenomenon of feeling “stuck” and how it shows up in our jobs, relationships, and personal habits. They’ll explore the tension between “wants” vs. “shoulds,” the stifling effect of other people’s expectations, and the way fear too often holds us back. But all is not lost! Becky holds that the opposite of fear isn’t just courage, it’s choice–specifically, soul-guided choice–and has specific strategies for making them work for you. We all have choices, she says; we just have to be brave enough to make them.

Becky Vollmer is a speaker, yoga teacher, and creator of You Are Not Stuck, a movement that empowers people to pursue the lives they most deeply desire. She also is the author of the book You Are Not Stuck: How Soul-Guided Choices Transform Fear into Freedom (published by St. Martin’s Press, 2023). Becky teaches the principles of empowerment and choice, guides a global community on social media that is several hundred thousand strong, and leads self-exploration programs at some of the nation’s leading yoga and wellness centers. A former newspaper journalist, Becky writes on topics including personal growth, relationships, mental health and wellness, mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality. She also is a leading voice in the sobriety and recovery community. Becky lives in St. Louis with her husband and four children.


Unedited Video

Take Nothing Personally; Amy L. Miller, MSW, Interim Director

April 2, 2023
Blurry photo of man looking through glasses.
Photo by Nonsap Visuals

It’s easy to think that someone is acting towards us in a certain way because of something that we did, or to get a reaction out of us, or for some other specific reason. Learning that whatever others say or do is always more about that person than it is about you can create a lot of freedom. Often, what frustrates us in relationships are the ways in which we miss each other in communication. Building on the understanding that people are different and that most annoyances can be neutralized with understanding, we can create more peace in our relationships.


Unedited Video

Fat Folks Deserve Medical Care That Isn’t Aimed At Weight Loss; Alison Reiheld, PhD, Professor of Philosophy at SIU–Edwardsville

March 26, 2023
Women reading books on dieting and eating.

Medicine, and science in general, have an unfortunate tendency to conceive of health as an ideal state. Patients are then judged as having failed when they do not achieve it. Doctors and nurses are judged as having failed if they do not continue to push their patients to achieve an ideal state. But patients exist in the world with the bodies they actually have. And those actual, non-ideal bodies deserve actual medical care, right now, as they are. Sadly, fat folks too often are told to “lose weight” by medical professionals before they are fully evaluated for their health needs. How would seeking health care be different for fat folks–and other folks with stigmatized health statuses–if medicine sought to achieve a less idealized version of health that actually meets people where they are.


Get hip to humanism’s history; Kyle Nienhaus

March 19, 2023

How did we get here? Join member Kyle Nienhaus as he tells the tale of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, the Ethical Culture Movement, and Humanism’s history along with Humanist movers and shakers over the years, plus a little bit of the present and the future!

Kyle is a St. Louis native and has been an Ethical Society member for a decade. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has a book, “Humanist, All Too Humanist: A Nietzsche Interpretation” coming out this year.


We’re All Mad Here; Facilitated by Amy L. Miller, MSW, Interim Director

March 12, 2023

The thing is: If Alice were exploring Earth, she would reasonably observe that nearly everyone needs therapy at some point in their life, for some thing…although not everyone gets the help they need. For the “Future of Health,” we welcome a panel of Mental Health professionals from our region who represent a wide range of specializations and perspectives. Join us for a lively and informative discussion of Mental Health, generally, as well as the trends and developments in practice. The goal is to normalize seeking mental health services. And, practically speaking, this will also be an opportunity for our community members to get a feel for what services are available.


A Typical Treatment: Abortion and Medical Sexism; Jill B. Delston, PhD, Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

March 5, 2023

The fetus supposedly justifies overriding patient autonomy in at least some reproductive health cases. However, since the case of contraception includes the same attitudes, behaviors, and practices, but no fetus exists, we can see that sexism is the true underlying reason for the widespread abuse of patient autonomy in reproductive health.

Dr. Jill B. Delston is associate teaching professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her monograph is entitled Medical Sexism: Contraception Access, Reproductive Medicine, and Health Care (Lexington Books, 2019). Delston is the co-editor of a textbook entitled Applied Ethics: A Multicultural Approach, Eds. 5 and 6.


Creatively Caring For Ourselves and Others; Amy Miller, MSW

February 19, 2023

Given that our tagline is “Being Human, Together” it seems reasonable that our shared humanity is a worthwhile topic, generally speaking. While not specifically grounded in “the arts,” perhaps there are more creative ways to consider how we care about each other and ourselves than what we’re used to. Let’s explore the ways in which how we care for each other can help us build an ethical future that will allow all of us to thrive.


Ensuring the Future of the Arts in the Choices We Make Today; Joe Gfaller, Managing Director at St. Louis’s Metro Theater Company

February 12, 2023
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As we navigate the current COVID recovery period, the future of the arts in our community and across the globe is being shaped by two dynamic drivers: 1) dramatic shifts in habit and engagement around arts consumption and 2) the latent potential for young people today to integrate the arts into their thinking and learning to ensure a vibrant future for the arts in decades to come. The first requires creativity and agility from art-makers to ensure that new, relevant channels can continue to make art accessible and to attract art-goers to traditional channels of consumption. The second requires a commitment to invest in young people with a level of grace and respect for their collective intelligence and emotional wisdom. Combined, our communities’ success in addressing these two pressing needs will determine much of our future – not just our future in the arts, but also a future for the many gifts the arts empower: empathy, critical thinking, understanding difference, and cultivating creativity and hope.

Joe Gfaller is the Managing Director at St. Louis’s Metro Theater Company – the region’s third-oldest professional theater and the only professional theater in the region exclusively devoted to producing for youth and families. Across his career, he has held roles at the Tony Award winning Alliance Theater and American Repertory Theater, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and 7 Stages. He has worked a consultant across a range of disciplines, including work with the documentary “Flint: The Poisoning of an American City,” the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, and the National Blues Museum. He has directed two dozen professional stage productions, including regional premieres by Caryl Churchill, Christopher Durang, David Mamet, Addae Moon, and Michael Frayn. He is adjunct faculty in the Arts Management and Leadership program at Webster University and has previously taught at Clark Atlanta University and Berry College. He is a graduate Leadership St. Louis, LEAD Atlanta, and Harvard University.


For the Love of a Music City; Alonzo Townsend

February 5, 2023

Louise Jett, leader-in-training, speaks with St. Louis native Alonzo Townsend about his early life as the son of the late blues legend Henry Townsend, his childhood growing up in St. Louis, and his vision for the future of the St. Louis music scene. Alonzo is the youngest son of Delta blues legend and patriarch of the St. Louis blues, Henry James “Mule” Townsend and blues singer Vernell Townsend. Alonzo has made it his mission to carry on the blues heritage and become an active voice for St. Louis’ history and vibrant music scene. He is the founder of the Townsendx3 Agency which books the shows for The Dark Room and provides exposure for up-and-coming artists in our area.


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