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Justice and Compassion–Responding to St. Louis’ Own Crisis of Homelessness, Teka Childress

February 6, 2022

Teka Childress will share an overview of the particular situation of homelessness in St Louis and the great opportunities there are to address it.

Teka Childress was part of the St Louis Catholic Worker community for 35 years and helped operate a house of hospitality and shelter. She also has worked as an outreach worker among unhoused persons for twenty years and has advocated for the rights of unhoused persons.

Unprecedented Challenges, Unprecedented Opportunities; James Croft, EdD, Leader

January 30, 2022

In a typical year, this would be the announcement and reminder of the Pledge Luncheon, where we would gather for community and for the future of the Society. We had hoped to have a smaller version of that this year, but the Omicron spike is an unprecedented challenge that made doing so impossible. But despite these challenges, we as a Society have built new flexibility, enabling us to switch from in-person to hybrid to fully virtual on very short notice. It hasn’t been ideal, but we have kept our congregation going, have kept our relationships alive, and have grown an audience outside of St. Louis.

Whatever happens with the pandemic, our staff and our new technology have opened these opportunities that we didn’t have before. We can emerge from the pandemic with a strong local congregation and a larger network and influence throughout the Humanist movement. Capitalizing on those opportunities takes creativity, time, staff effort, and… capital. Existing members, please review the pledge packet you received and give as you can to help us build in the future. Non-members, please consider joining us, to become a part of our community.

Uganda Humanist Schools Trust Fundraiser, Leader James Croft EdD

January 16, 2022

The Ethical Society has been supporting Uganda Humanist Schools Trust (UHST) and providing scholarships to female high school students for the past decade. The schools and their surrounding communities have struggled mightily due to the COVID pandemic and the government-ordered school shut-downs; with significantly decreased tuition revenue but increased costs, the schools and the students relied heavily on funding provided by UHST. 

The Ethical Society community will have the opportunity to hear more specifics about this year’s experiences — both positive and negative — during a Platform in January, and we hope you will choose to donate funds to benefit UHST and the great work Isaac Newton and Mustard Seed Schools are doing in Uganda. 

ESSL Office Administrator Nancy Jelinek will collect all donations and wire the funds in late January, so please communicate with her and share how you will make your donation (ACH, check to Ethical Society with UHST in memo line, charitable trust, etc.). She will assist you in the details. Please contact Nancy at 314.991.0955 x214 or njelinek@ethicalstl.org. Thanks! 

Feelings of Awe and Wonder; Helen De Cruz, PhD

January 9, 2022

Dr Helen De Cruz, the Danforth Chair in the Humanities in the Philosophy department of Saint Louis University, discusses the feelings of awe and wonder.

Seeking My Karass: How Kurt Vonnegut Introduced Me to Humanism; Louise Jett, Emerging Leader

January 2, 2022

Renowned author Kurt Vonnegut once said, “I am a Humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without expectations of rewards or punishment after I am dead.” This quote is only one example of how the late Vonnegut was an ambassador for Humanism. He was also an honorary president of the American Humanist Association and honored as Humanist of the Year by the organization in 1992.

As a teenager, Leader-in-Training Louise Jett learned about Humanism via Vonnegut and his work, which reinforced values she held and introduced her to new perspectives.

During this Platform, Louise will explore the relationship Vonnegut had with Humanism while illustrating the role the celebrated author has played in her life and personal beliefs.

WildCare Park and the Evolution of Our Zoo; Jeffrey Bonner

December 5, 2021

The Zoo is at a turning point in its 112-year history. It is preparing to embark on its biggest fundraising effort ever. The Zoo is in the midst of creating a whole institution in WildCare Park and for the first time in 20 years, the Zoo will have a new president. Finally, we know that we have much to do if we are to maintain the high standard of our Forest Park campus. This presentation will focus on this inflection point and will speculate on the Zoo’s future.

Jeffrey Bonner has led the Zoo for 20 years as the Dana Brown President and CEO. Prior to that he led the Indianapolis Zoo and prior to that he was part of the team that created the new St. Louis Science Center. He is a Burgess Fellow, a Traveling Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and the recipient of the National Research Service Award. He is a graduate of Fort Zumwalt High School in O’Fallon, Missouri, the University of Missouri, and Columbia University in the City of New York. He is the author of a book on zoos entitled Sailing With Noah.

What IS Medical Business Ethics, and Why Does It Matter? Katherine Mathews, MD, MPH, MBA

November 28, 2021

Katherine Mathews will tell the story behind the creation of the Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics at Saint Louis University. She will then discuss the Center’s innovative curriculum for training medical students to be positive change agents and leaders within the complex US healthcare industry. Through this curriculum, students learn about financial drivers within healthcare where every dollar spent is someone else’s dollar of revenue or profit. Students also work in teams and use cases to practice foundational skills for professional development and ethical leadership.

With a background in public health, research, healthcare administration, and direct patient care, Katherine Jahnige Mathews, M.D., MPH, MBA, is a Saint Louis University School of Medicine professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health. She also serves as director of education for the Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics. In 2020 she launched an innovative required curriculum for first- and second-year medical students called Leadership and the Business of Medicine. This curriculum has been developed with and for students and is grounded in explicit reflection about the values that inform our actions and sense of right and wrong.

Carbon Pricing and Climate Change; Tim Ely

November 14, 2021

We will discuss carbon fee & dividend in relation to other climate change solutions. Then we will give an update of what’s going on with carbon pricing and other climate change legislation in Congress (including what may or may not be in the reconciliation bill). We will also briefly cover carbon border adjustments, and implications for US trade now that EU is starting to implement border adjustments. Time permitting, we will also touch on COP26.

Tim Ely is co-leader of the St. Louis chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and works in the medical device industry.

Learning from Someone You Hate; James Croft, EdD

November 7, 2021

How do you learn from people you hate? Not just disagree with, not just have conflict with, but actively hate? James Croft has been there: in his first proper job he was paired with a mentor whom he hated – and who he is pretty sure hated him too. Yet somehow they were able to learn from each other. How can we learn to do this in our own lives – and should we?

Self-censoring of teachers on topics related to power, oppression, and equity; University City Schools Teacher of the Year Christina Grove

October 17, 2021

Christina Grove is an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Brittany Woods Middle School, and this year became the District’s Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Pedagogy Facilitator because of her unwavering passion and conviction for racial equity and justice. Earlier this year Christina was named “Teacher of the Year” for The School District of University City.

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