Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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Solidarity over Hostility; Rev Jim Poinsett, Interfaith Partnership

October 30, 2022

When people from different backgrounds and traditions get to know one another, their community is stronger, experiences less prejudice and bigotry, and is more resilient. By building relationships across differences we can move from hostility to solidarity. We are able to recognize one another as neighbors and create community based on understanding rather than vengence, mercy rather than retaliation, reconciliation rather than violence.

Jim came to IPSTL after serving 12 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with congregations in New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. Prior to entering the ministry, Jim spent 11 years working in politics, primarily as a lobbyist to state legislatures and Congress. Jim’s previous ecumenical and interfaith work includes serving as the Vice President of the New York State Council of Churches, and serving on Religious Leaders Council of Interfaith Philadelphia.

Jim holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University.

Jim is a widower, losing his wife Robin to cancer in 2009.


Unedited Video

Give Peace a Chance; Leader James Croft, EdD

October 23, 2022

Our culture seems obsessed with war – hundreds of TV shows, movies, video games, and books are written about it. By contrast, peace seems deeply uninteresting to us. We queue up to watch violence enacted, but hardly have any mental image of what peace looks like. Why is this? Why do we celebrate war but ignore peace? Why won’t we give peace a chance? In this Platform James Croft will examine peace’s image problem, and think of ways we could overcome it.


Unedited Video

Refugees In St. Louis; Ariel Burgess, International Institute

October 16, 2022

As the only resettlement agency in St. Louis, the International Institute of St. Louis welcomes and provides services to refugees coming to St. Louis. Working with the St. Louis community and other service providers, these new St. Louisans are given the building blocks for a productive and rewarding life in their new home. The presentation will focus on how refugees come to the U.S and St. Louis, refugee populations in St. Louis and services provided.

Since 2000 P. Ariel Burgess has been the resettlement director for the International Institute. In this capacity she and her team have resettled 1000 + refugees from throughout the world. Ms. Burgess is a licensed social worker, having received her MSW in 1991. Prior to working at the Institute Ms. Burgess co-founded an HIV/AIDS clinic specifically for women and children; and worked with the mentally ill.


Unedited Video

The Co-Pursuit of Dignity and the Role of Accompaniment in Asylum Seeking; Adriano Udani, PhD

October 9, 2022

How can the asylum seeking process inform U.S. citizens and public discussions about dignity, collaboration, and social change? Utilizing over three years of field work with a group of 48 Central American and Mexican asylum seekers (named Migrantes Unidos), who are committed to ending the use of ankle monitors and other forms of detention in immigration enforcement, Adriano Udani will discuss how the asylum seeking process impacts organizations, social service provision, and everyday life. In the U.S. immigration system that is intentionally designed to punish people through isolation, Adriano Udani argues that what is starkly missing and most needed are opportunities for accompaniment which provides opportunities for asylum seekers to co-pursue dignity, mutual support, opportunities for critical thinking, and collaboration for action.

Adriano Udani specializes in the study of political attitudes toward immigrant groups and policy decisions that affect immigrant treatment in the United States. He also studies public misperceptions of immigration enforcement and its impact on immigrant communities. His research is published across various fields of public administration, public policy, public policy, ethics, and race and ethnic politics. Adriano’s current work contributes to the emergence of “Civically Engaged Research” in political science, which aims to reciprocally collaborate with people and groups beyond the academy to co-produce, share, and apply knowledge related to power and politics. His current project involves partnering with immigrant service providers, attorneys, and asylum seekers to abolish detention of all forms. Adriano Udani received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and his M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.


Unedited Video

Modern International Conflicts and the Risk of Democratic Backsliding; Assistant Professor and Fellow Dani Belo, PhD

October 2, 2022

The presentation focuses on the ethical dimensions of modern international conflicts in which all aspects of society have become the battlefield. The modern format of international conflicts, called ‘gray zone’ conflicts, rarely involve direct military-to-military confrontation. Rather, contemporary conflicts can generally be characterized as low-intensity, perpetual hostilities that involve governments, civil society, and individuals. The media, cyberspace, educational institutions, and local organizations have become an inseparable part of the global great power competition. Illiberal regimes such as China and Russia have used these as platforms to proliferate their political interests into liberal democracies like the United States. This raises the question of how can the United States, and other democracies, counter these authoritarian influences without resorting to ‘democratic backsliding,’ for example through censorship.

Dani Belo is a teacher and scholar of international relations specializing in conflict management, diplomacy, and international security. He is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, USA, and a Fellow and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. Dani’s research focuses on gray zone conflict management, grand strategy and foreign policy, armed and unarmed interventions in fragile ethnically-divided societies, the impact of foreign policy crises on decision-making, causes of ethnic-based mobilization, as well an analysis of non-state actors’ role in hybrid warfare.


Unedited Video

How to Have Conversations in a World Full of Misinformation; Matthew Facciani, PhD

September 25, 2022

Misinformation continues to be a growing threat in our society. Why do we fall for misinformation and what can be done about it? In this lecture, I’ll briefly describe some of the sociology that explains our susceptibility for believing false information. Then I will focus on 5 steps that can allow us to have more productive conversations with those who have developed misperceptions. Finally, I will share a few examples of when I applied these strategies in my own life.

Matthew Facciani, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at University of Notre Dame Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and he previously served as a postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University in the Medicine, Health, and Society. He received a BA in psychology from Westminster College and MA and PhD in sociology from the University of South Carolina. His research areas include media literacy, misinformation, and political polarization. Facciani’s forthcoming book, Misguided, describes the psychological and sociological processes that explain why we are susceptible to political and health misinformation. Facciani is also interested in evidence-based policy and works with the Research-to-Policy Collaboration at Pennsylvania State University.


Unedited Video

Ethics and Journalism; Tony Messenger, Post-Dispatch Metro Columnist

September 18, 2022

Post-Dispatch Metro Columnist Tony Messenger will share some of the daily ethical challenges he faces as a journalist, and will explore how the profession might change in the future.

Tony Messenger is the Pulitzer Prize-winning metro columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 2019 he won the Pulitzer in commentary for his series of columns on debtors’ prisons in Missouri. His first book: Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice, was published by St. Martin’s Press in December. Tony lives with his wife and two teenagers in Wildwood. He has four grown children and 9 grandchildren.


Unedited Video

Our Ethical Future; Leader James Croft, EdD

September 11, 2022

What future did you imagine growing up? Did you imagine we would have flying cars by now? Hoverboards, perhaps? Often, when we imagine the future, we focus on technology: the cool toys we will get to play with, the innovations which will make our lives easier. But what about our ethical future? What innovations in living together will we develop? And, more important, what are we doing now, which we shouldn’t be? Join James Croft for an inspirational exploration of the future of ethics!


Unedited Video

Casteism – What Is It, and Why Does It Matter?; Raji Laxman

August 28, 2022

Raji Laxman will offer an objective view of casteism, its origins and its societal impacts in India, drawing parallels to the similar “-ism”s and their impacts in the West. Born and raised in South India in a traditional and religious family, Raji moved to the United States in the mid 90s after her marriage. She has been a member of the Ethical Society for the past two years and has been working for Washington University in St. Louis for the past 16 years.


Unedited Video

Racism in Healthcare: Recognizing and Combating Implicit Bias; Nikki Nienhaus, DC

August 21, 2022

Nikki Nienhaus will offer a brief history of racism in American medicine, how it has evolved and changed, and what the outlook is moving forward. She will include practical ways that individuals can recognize their own biases as well as those of the healthcare workers they encounter, and begin to change them. And lastly, she will offer actions that can be taken to create change on the global level.

Dr. Nikki Nienhaus has been practicing as a chiropractor since 2016, both in private practice and as the chiropractor at Jamaa Birth Village, St. Louis’ first Blackowned midwifery clinic. Nikki and her husband Kyle have been members at the Ethical Society since 2013. They have one daughter, Lorelai.


Unedited Video

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