Outlook Newsletter

Ethical Outlook Newsletter – October 2020

By September 29, 2020 December 4th, 2020 No Comments

The latest Ethical Outlook Newsletter is online! Read below to see what the Society and our members have been doing to stay connected while apart.


From the Leader’s Desk | This Month at Ethical | The Voice of Ethical Culture | Our Ethical Family | About Our Programs | Ethical Essentials Quiz | We Are Ethical Culture

From the Leader's Desk

Exceptionalism: The Good, The Bad, and the Potential

By Dr. Joseph Chuman, Leader

As we all know, our presidential election looms and, arguably with it, the underpinnings of the American future. Its outcome may well determine whether America will survive as a democracy or some form of autocracy will end the American experiment.

The stakes could hardly be greater. If things turn out well, America will have an opportunity to rebuild itself. And rebuild it must.

We all sense that we are living in extraordinary times. I suspect there is a narcissism that comes with many eras. Those who lived through the Civil War, the Depression, World War II, the 1960s, each felt that their times were exceptional.

But what’s distinctive about our age, of course, as we all know, is that we have been afflicted with major assaults simultaneously. The pandemic alone has pervasively disrupted our lives and severed social relations. With uncertainty as to when it will end, we endure gnawing anxiety. Society confronts massive economic dislocations: surging job loss, evictions, ruined businesses that will never return. And we have ongoing social protest, born of police killings of African-American men deeply lodged in systemic racism that permeates multiple strata of American society. And in just a few weeks, we face what is perhaps the most consequential presidential election in our history.

I want to assert some optimism into the picture and focus on the concept of exceptionalism for a moment. We are, as noted, in an exceptional moment. But America has often considered itself an exceptional nation. The notion of American exceptionalism has had both its positive and negative employments. The Puritans saw a divine hand in the settling of America and referred to the new land as “a shining city on a hill.” Closer to our values, many have considered America as exceptional because it is one of the few countries rooted in ideas and ideals – freedom, equality, opportunity – not one based on identity with a majoritarian ethnicity. One public figure who embraces this concept very often is Barack Obama, and I think his belief in America’s exceptional status may be a source of his perpetual optimism about the nation’s future. He certainly understands what is at stake at the moment; perhaps we can borrow from him.

Obama America’s exceptionalism is rooted in what he sees as a distinctive American commitment to our national self-improvement. If we take our founding ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity and apply them to our current condition, we can emerge as a better people for it. Obama’s belief lacks the hubris characteristic of chauvinism because it starts from the acknowledgement that American society is flawed. It is not that we are an unalloyed good people, rather that we can make ourselves better inspired by our founding ideals.

If we take our founding ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity and apply them to our current condition, we can emerge as a better people for it.

I see a bit of overlap in this with the philosophical outlook of Ethical Culture’s founder, Felix Adler. Adler powerfully affirmed the role of ideals in inspiring us to improve our lives and the life of society, recognizing that we are finite and fallible creatures and we always fall short of reaching our ideals. But he also asserted that in the frustrations of falling short, we come to cherish the truth and value of our ideals even more strongly.

There is something in these insights that we can use in the current circumstances that demand so much of us. Perhaps, given the darkness of the moment, it is hard to even imagine that there is light beyond.  But in order to cope I think it is important that we shape the frame of mind that we will get beyond it, that there will be a better day. We can employ a commitment to our ideals to personally lift our spirits and summon the energy to build a better America.

We know that on the personal level, when we are severely challenged as we are now, we often need to dig deeper to summon emotional resources in order to cope and move on. Sometimes we discover resources we doubted we have. Out of necessity, human beings can be very resilient.

What we discover on the personal level I believe we can find on the national and social level. Our nation, our society, possesses a collective resilience. We can draw from the strength of our democratic institutions. We can be buoyed by our history of progressive activism and traditions that have transformed our society for the better – the abolitionist movement, the labor movement, the movement for suffrage, the civil rights movement, the enfranchisement of gays and the disabled, and hundreds of other movements, unnamed. And we can be inspired by our founding having been based on exceptional ideals that can serve as the lodestars for building a better American future. Our current challenges can provide a gateway for America’s maturation.

As I have noted before, our humanism suggests that there are always choices to be made, and our future is an open future. We need to sustain our optimism and our faith. And, let us not forget, after the night comes the dawn and the phoenix rises anew from its ashes.

This Month at Ethical

Voting Rights: The Struggle to Be Counted

Tuesday, October 6 | 5:30pm

Watch the ½-hour documentary film, Voting Rights: The Struggle to Be Counted, 1619 -2014, that traces the long and often brutal struggle by African Americans to gain and maintain the unrestricted right to vote. Then hear from and talk with the filmmaker, Phil Portlock.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two major clauses of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, opening the door to the enactment of some of the most restrictive practices in many states that limit and deny the right to vote to millions of our fellow citizens — voter ID laws, excessive purging of names from voter rolls, inadequate number of voting machines and voting sites, malfunctioning voting machines, just to name a few. And those voting rights are under great siege today. Don’t miss this important talk.

Phil Portlock is a photographer, writer, social justice activist, and native Washingtonian.  He was the chief photographer for the Washington DC Metro for more than 25 years.  He has also spent more than 50 years documenting social justice protests, rallies and marches in Washing D.C. and other cities. The numerous film documentaries on African American and African topics that Phil has produced continue to be shown worldwide.

There are no upcoming events at this time

Ethical Enrichment – Weekday Programs

For a full listing of all our programs, visit our full events calendar. We also email a Weekly Program Schedule, where, for applicable programs, you will find the topic and suggested reading of the week, and other additional information. To join any of our events, click on “Find out more” on the tickets below, and you’ll have access to the join link.

Weekdays – Caring Committee Living Room

Drop in for a chat and friendly face each weekday, 10:00am-1:00pm.

There are no upcoming events at this time


Managing in the Time of COVID-19 | Mondays | 2pm
COVID-19 has created challenges for all of us. Frank and Carol will address your concerns about managing day to day during this trying time.  Moderators Dr. Frank Corigliano, clinical psychologist, and Dr. Carol Portlock, oncologist, alternate.

There are no upcoming events at this time


Ethics in the News | Tuesdays | 2pm
Join in the lively give-and-take on compelling issues and current events. Weekly topics and suggested readings Joe Fashing moderates

Ethics in the News (Online)

Join in the lively give-and-take on compelling issues and current events and bring your own ideas. Member Joe Fashing moderates. Topic and suggested readings TBA! Click to join at start...

Find out more »

Meditation Half-Hour | Tuesdays | 5pm
A midweek meditation for relaxing body and mind.  Larry Hurst moderates.

There are no upcoming events at this time

Camaraderie and Good Conversation on Topics Philosophical and Newsworthy | 3rd Tuesdays | 7pm
We aim to illuminate the philosophical concepts and values that underlie the contemporary issues on which we focus in our discussions. Joe Chuman, Leader, moderates.

Camaraderie and Good Conversation with Leader Joe Chuman (Online)

Notice: This session has been rescheduled from May 17. Leader Dr. Joe Chuman leads this monthly discussion group focusing on contemporary issues and occasionally classical writings relating to Ethical Culture...

Find out more »

Ethics, Fair Trade, and You | 3rd Tuesdays | 7pm
Discuss how our everyday choices and purchases affect the many environmental and social issues facing the world today. Sessions will include a short presentation on topics such as human trafficking and exploitation; overconsumption and waste management; cause related marketing and propaganda; body positivity and clothing size standards; conscious consuming and certifications. Andrea Reyes, Carla Farina, and Leigh Wallace moderate

There are no upcoming events at this time


Debating the Issues of the Day | Wednesdays | 11am
Sy has been writing a weekly current events blog for several years, and his followers are many. In this program he presents a weekly topic and statements about it, all for discussion and debate. Sy Amkraut moderates.

There are no upcoming events at this time

Exploring Ethical Humanism | 1st & 3rd Wednesdays | 2pm
These discussions of Ethical Culture beliefs and practices are for newcomers and long-time members alike. We explore the history, ideals, and current interests of the Ethical Society community and our place in the philosophical/religious firmament.  Leaders Dr. Joseph Chuman and Dr. Richard Koral alternate as moderators.

Exploring Ethical Humanism (Hybrid)

These discussions of Ethical Culture beliefs and practices explore the history, ideals, and current interests of the Ethical Society community and our place in the philosophical/ religious firmament. Moderated by...

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Great Literature Discussion | 1st & 3rd Wednesdays | 7pm
Read the selected works — great novels and novellas — in advance, and be prepared to share your thoughts and observations, discussing the aspects of interest to you by referring to and reading specific related text to the group. Based on what we find in the text, we enrich each other’s understanding and interpretation. Gunther Tielemans moderates.

Great Literature Discussion – Péter Nádas: A Book Of Memories (Online)

This big Hungarian novel follows a novelist involved in a romantic triangle in East Berlin; interwoven with the main story are sections of a novel the main character is writing,...

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Death Cafe | 2nd Thursdays | 11am
The objective of the Death Café, founded in London, England in 2011 and now in 73 countries across the world, is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” Join us! Rev. Dr. Barbara Simpson moderates.

There are no upcoming events at this time

Poetry Circle | 1st Thursdays | 2pm
Share the poems of your choice. Read them aloud. We’ll listen attentively and discuss some of them — a line, a word, an image. Tell us a little about the poets, too. If you can, send your poems to Elinore in advance, so they can be shared on-screen with participants: ethicaloutlook@gmail.com. Elinore Kaplan moderates.

Poetry Circle (Online)

Share the poems of your choice. Read them aloud. We’ll listen attentively and discuss them—a line, a word, an image, or overall feeling. You’re welcome to give us a couple...

Find out more »

Ethicists Unite! | 2nd  Thursdays w/ bonus 5th Thursday on October 29! | 2pm
Let’s discuss the ethical dilemmas you and others face. Sandi will also have some dilemmas from “The Ethicist” columns NY Times and other sources.  Sandi Sacks moderates.

There are no upcoming events at this time

Colloquy | 3rd Thursdays | 2pm
Share your reflections on the topic based on quotes, parables, poems, etc. presented by the moderator. There are no right or wrong answers, just your individual response shared in a contemplative atmosphere. Bob Berger facilitates, Larry Hurst moderates.


Share your reflections on the topic based on quotes, parables, poems, etc. presented by the moderator. There are no right or wrong answers, just your individual response shared in a...

Find out more »

Getting to Know You | 4th Thursdays | 2pm
Get to know our Ethical Culture Family in a comfortable, casual way. In this session, two members dialogue with one another (or with one of the moderators). The “dialogue partners” respond to 4 or 5 questions they themselves have chosen (about growing up, career, interests, adventures… whatever; plus one about being a member of NYSEC). Larry Hurst & Elinore Kaplan moderate.

If you’d like to be a dialogue partner at one of our programs, Email editor Elinore Kaplan at Outlook at: ethicaloutlook@gmail.com

Getting to Know You (Online)

In this session, two members dialogue with one another (or with one of the moderators). The “dialogue partners” respond to 4 or 5 questions they themselves have chosen (about growing...

Find out more »

Storytelling Circle | 1st & 3rd Thursdays | 5pm
One of the oldest traditions around the world is storytelling — folk tales, fairy tales, historic tales, family tales… Bring whatever story you choose, and we’ll gather ’round the virtual campfire and listen. Doris Hart moderates.

There are no upcoming events at this time


Proactive Meditation and Deep Listening | Fridays | 2pm
In this guided experiential session, we first take time to relax body and mind in order to sense how we really are in each moment. We allow ourselves to focus on listening deeply and empathically for what may be calling for our attention. We stay present with that. This proactive approach to meditating can open up fresh ideas and connections. Moderator Larry Hurst is a certified trainer and workshop leader with the International Focusing Institute.

Proactive Meditation and Deep Listening (Online)

In this guided experiential session, we first take time to relax body and mind in order to sense how we really are in each moment. We allow ourselves to focus...

Find out more »

Sundays at The Society

Sunday Platforms | 11:00am-12:15pm

Join us to hear informed and inspiring speakers, including our own Leaders, while enjoying music provided by David Gracia, our Music Director.

Platform Plus | 12:15–12:45pm
Enjoy this purely social half hour to chat with one another after the Platform talk.

Richard Koral: A Remedy for Raging Inequality? (Hybrid)

In-person and online! Thomas Picketty, the most original economist of the 21st Century, offers a cure for the decline of the egalitarian, middle class society.  Can this work? Ethical NYC...

Find out more »
Ceremonial Hall (4th Floor), 2 W 64th St
New York, NY 10023 United States
+ Google Map

Jé Exodus Hooper: ‘Cultural Humanism: The Next Ethical Generation’ (Hybrid)

In-person and online! "I got myself ready and went to the Ethical Culture Society at the Century Club to hear Prof. Josiah Royce on "Race Questions and Prejudice.' I went...

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Ceremonial Hall (4th Floor), 2 W 64th St
New York, NY 10023 United States
+ Google Map

Sunday Platform – Nori Rost: To Dream the Impossible Dream? (Hybrid)

In-person and online! 102 days ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. That made it one of 26 wars currently happening in the world at this time. In this platform, Dr. Rost will...

Find out more »
Ceremonial Hall (4th Floor), 2 W 64th St
New York, NY 10023 United States
+ Google Map

Bill McKibben: The Crucial Decades (Hybrid)

FREE in-person and online! RSVP required for in-person. Ticketed lunch follows ($15) We have a short time to make the changes scientists demand--and those of us who are a little...

Find out more »
Ceremonial Hall (4th Floor), 2 W 64th St
New York, NY 10023 United States
+ Google Map

Young Ethical Explorers | 11:00am & 1:30pm (1st Sundays)

October’s theme: Having Our Say!

YEE, our Ethics for Children humanist Sunday School program, serves to empower youngsters in their ethical development, create life-long friendships, and stand up with care and courage for a better world. Following the words of our founder, Felix Adler, through kindness and deed they “bring out the best in one another, and thereby in themselves.” Topics are explored through discussion, storytelling, dramatization, music, art, games, and field trips.

During these tumultuous times, Youth and Family Programs Coordinator Audrey Kindred is creating new online educational and enrichment opportunities for parents and children using Zoom! To RSVP, please contact Ethical NYC’s Youth Programs Director Audrey Kindred at youngethicalexplorers@gmail.com. For more information about all of our youth programming, please visit ethical.nyc/youth.

With the exception of our YEE First Sunday Festivals at 1:30pm, YEE meets at 11:00am, concurrent with our Sunday Platform talk.

Young Ethical Explorers Eco-Writing Workshop: Poetry

In this continuing series led by Deepali Srivastava of Writefully Ours, young writers dabble in five genres: comic book, short story, poetry, news article, and speech writing. New and experienced...

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Young Ethical Explorers: Family Story-Writing with Linda Ogden

Led by guest author and educator Linda Ogden. Newcomers are always welcome! To join, please RSVP to Youth Programs Director Audrey Kindred at youngethicalexplorers@gmail.com. For more information about our youth and family...

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Young Ethical Explorers

Details TBA! Newcomers are always welcome! To join, please RSVP to Youth Programs Director Audrey Kindred at youngethicalexplorers@gmail.com. For more information about our youth and family programming, please visit www.ethical.nyc/youth. Young Ethical...

Find out more »

Young Ethical Explorers First Sundays Gathering: ‘Twas the Night Before Pride’ with Author Joanna McClintick

Author Joanna McClintick shares her illustrated poem 'Twas the Night Before Pride, that tells, beyond the glitter and rainbows of PRIDE, “the beautiful resistance that made PRIDE come to be.”...

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Ethics and the Theater

Don’t miss our monthly play reading series featuring professional actors, followed by a moderated discussion of the ethical issues raised by the play led by Betsy Ungar. Patricia Bruder-Debrovner produces.

Ethics and the Theater: “One With The Current” by Daniel Damiano

Our long-running staged reading and discussion series continues with a special session featuring One With The Current by Daniel Damiano: A North Carolina husband, father, and hardware store owner's life...

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Stoa Nova

Stoa Nova
This discussion group focuses on aspects of life that the Stoics dealt with so many years ago and are just as relevant and important today.  Moderated by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci. Visit on Meetup.

There are no upcoming events at this time

The Voice of Ethical Culture

AEU News

By Elinore Kaplan

A Resolution and a Statement from the 150th AEU Assembly

Reaffirming Statement – Black Lives Matter to AEU

Systemic racism has been, and continues to be, a core characteristic of the power structure and culture of the United States. Hundreds of years of brutality and oppression have created and sustained a deeply inequitable society that has been and continues to be profoundly detrimental to Black communities, Indigenous communities, and other communities of color. Read more.

Resolution — Supporting “Death with Dignity”

Whereas the American Ethical Union and the Humanist Association were founded on the principles of the dignity and worth of each person, reverence for life, and freedom of belief among others.

resolution was passed by the AEU in 2003 in support of decriminalization of the furnishing of a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs by a physician to an adult patient with full decision-making capacity. Read more.

Help Wanted — AEU Seeks a Program and Communications Coordinator

The AEU is working to improve the network of communications and program sharing among the Ethical Societies around the country by the creation of a new position, that of Program and Communications Coordinator.  It  is to be staffed by a “talented and social media savvy” individual who will help develop the AEU’s digital strategy to increase the outreach of the Ethical Movement’s voices.  More than that, the person will help develop cross-Society communication, programming and activities. The full job description is posted on the website. Let’s help to find candidates.

For more AEU News, visit www.aeu.org

NES: Our Voice in the International Arena at the United Nations

By Elinore Kaplan

In 1906, NYSEC founder and Leader Felix Adler was taking an outspoken anti-racist stand. He proposed an international conference on the issue. Gustav Spiller, a Leader in the British Ethical Union (now Humanists UK) and Adler, supported by W. E. B. DuBois, co-convened the First International Races Conference in 1911 at the London University in England. More than 2,100 attendees in delegations from 17 countries lent their voices to the discussion of how to improve race relations.

Adler wrote “The ends of the earth came together for the purpose of considering how the antagonisms and antipathies that breed hate between different races might be lessened and eventually overcome.”1

They planned to meet every four years, but the start of WWI in 1914-1915 precluded that from happening, and there never was a second International Races Conference. However, their mission became part of the mission of the NSC (National Service Conference, see below).

Subsequent to the war, in 1924, women’s groups from several Societies for Ethical Culture formed the National Women’s Conference and, as one of the nine leading women’s organizations in America, planned and participated in the 1925 Committee on the Cause and Cure of War (CCCW)2  which was committed to understanding the causes of war. They wrote letters to Congressmen, gave lectures, and organized petitions and study groups.

Following WWII, and within two years of the establishment of the United Nations (1945), they formed the NSC and had a seat at the NGO (nongovernmental organizations) table at the UN in association with its Department of Public Information. Affiliated with the AEU since 1968, the National Women’s Conference formally changed its name to the National Service Conference in 1983 and then, in 2010, to the National Ethical Service (NES) — and continues to be the voice of the Ethical Culture Movement at the United Nations today.

(Read more in Part II next month.)

2 https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6qv9mj0

Look Who’s Talking About Ethical Culture

“Carol Ryan and Clifford Peterson said the coronavirus came into the picture just as they decided to get married. Thanks to technology, the couple in their late-70s tied the knot on the Ossining waterfront in May in front of hundreds of their loved ones. The couple got the idea to have the online wedding after they attended several Zoom events with the Ethical Culture Society of Northern Westchester.” —Ethical Society of Northern Westchester

“When Ryan and Peterson decided to get married, they planned on having their wedding on the Ramapo College campus surrounded by friends and family. But COVID-19 canceled that plan, and Ryan was inspired by the Ethical Society of Northern Westchester, where she is a member, to have a Zoom celebration.”  —Ethical Society of Northern Westchester

“When Ryan and Peterson decided to get married, they planned on having their wedding on the Ramapo College campus surrounded by friends and family. But COVID-19 canceled that plan, and Ryan was inspired by the Ethical Society of Northern Westchester, where she is a member, to have a Zoom celebration.” —Carol Ryan and Clifford Peterson, Ethical Society of Northern Westchester

“My congregation, the Ethical Society of Austin, recently made the decision to continue to meet only virtually through the end of the year. It was difficult, but we had to face the facts of our current situation and recognize that to gather in person would be to risk the health of all of our members and the lives of those among us who are elderly or in poor health.” —Caroyln Parker, Leader, Ethical Society of Austin

In an opinion piece entitled “For the American experiment to continue, we need strong moral leaders,” Leader Joe Chuman wrote, “My humanistic faith is strengthened by my lifelong work as a leader in the Ethical Culture movement. Ethical Culture upholds a liberally religious worldview that places ethics at the center independent of any theological foundation. At its heart and from its inception it has been committed to democracy with a distinctive character that takes us far beyond the electoral process. It is a view of democracy that espouses vital engagement of men and women with the life of their communities. It puts a premium in activism at the level of civil society and requires both values held in common as well as a respect for cultural and ethnic diversity.” —Joe Chuman, Leader, Bergen, NJ and New York Ethical Culture Societies

Ethical Affinity Groups


American Indian Community House | Amnesty International | Feminist Freethinkers | Formerly Fundamentalists | League of Women Voters | Police Reform Organizing Project | Radical Age Movement


350NYC | Climate Reality Project | Drawdown NYC | Food & Water Watch | NYC Grassroots Alliance

Our Ethical Family

Meet Our Members: Sarah Sprott

Questions by Larry Hurst

What attracted you to NYSEC?

I lived on West 64th street for seven years and walked by NYSEC’s building every single day. I was even a member of the Westside YMCA. But it wasn’t until my friend, Steve Serling, suggested we check it out that I ventured inside. We attended an MLK-themed platform in January 2017. That first experience hooked me. I live further uptown now, but it’s only a quick trip on the #1 train.

What has been your experience so far?

I’m thankful to be part of this community. After moving to NYC in 2009, I struggled to find a church that reflected my values. I appreciate how active the NYSEC community is. It isn’t just a Sunday program —there’s true activism happening here. NYSEC feels like home. I appreciate how welcoming everyone is and look forward to being a member for many more years.

How do you see yourself contributing to/developing the culture?

I currently serve on the Sunday Programs Committee, which helps identify and schedule speakers. It can be quite complicated, particularly during a pandemic, but Monica Weiss keeps us on track. For the last few months, I’ve been writing postcards for the Reclaim Our Vote campaign that Janet Rose is spearheading. I find watching news coverage of the upcoming election much more tolerable while writing to encourage folks to vote. I also help Steve with Happy Hour for Humanity, which invites young professionals to our space to discuss current ethical issues. That effort is on hold for now, but we look forward to re-launching the series. Looking to the future, I hope to contribute further by finding ways to improve our overall diversity.

What is one of your great passions in life?

Travel! My husband, Weston, and I try to visit one new country every year, and we often manage more than that. We’ve visited 34 countries, so there’s a lot left to see. Working full time from home for more than five months in an apartment is taking a toll. I enjoy looking back on photos from old trips to remind me of happier times. Recently, I came across pictures from a trip to Rome and loved remembering that adventure. My current wish list includes Peru, Jordan, and Thailand.

Community News

Best of luck to SUSAN NEEDLES, who is moving to Phoenix, Arizona, where she will be near her daughter, Erika. Susan has been a treasured member and contributor here at Ethical NYC.  Many of those who joined within the last few years remember Susan as the first person you sat down and talked with over lunch at the Newcomers’ Table in the cafeteria on Sundays.  Always an engaged member of the Society, Susan served on the Membership committee and helped to furnish and decorate the 4th floor Member’s Lounge and the 5th floor reception area outside the Elliott Library.  As an active member of the Social Service Board, Susan supervised graduate school of social work interns who worked with Dr. Frank Corigliano in the Supportive Televisiting Program. We shall miss you, Susan, wish you well, and hope you stay in touch.

Happy Birthday! October Birthdays

JACK OISHER……………… 10/1



BEN CAINE……………………10/7



ELAINE GURNEY…………..10/12

DAVE MASSEY………….….10/19

MURIEL BERGER…………..10/21

CHERYL GROSS……………10/24

LISBETH ENG……………….10/27


Young Ethical Explorers: And the Children Shall Teach Us

All of the speeches included here were prepared for the 2020 initiative called “First Sundays”. They have come from YEE workshops with Audrey Kindred.

The first two children’s writings: Marifer’s and Sidd’s were presented at September’s “First Sunday event” called “Being Earth” where kids were asked to write with their “compassionate pen” to express an “Earth-voice” of their choice, giving their “I” voice to an element of the earth in order to stand up for it. This prompt was inspired by the speech of young, indigenous, climate justice activist Autumn Peltier. They were performed through an education game construct designed by Dr. Jessie Kindred, called “Being Them.”

Ohm’s speech is from August 2’s “First Sunday” event called “Earth Citizen’s ~ Global Visions” shortly after the death of John Lewis.

And finally the last one by Miles was done In a workshop just before the pandemic, preparing for our first ever “First Sundays event” in March 1, 2020: “Hi Story: The Civil Rights Festival dedicated to Claudette Colvin”

Earth Voice
Marifer Fernanda Torres-Sandoval

I, the water, once clear and pristine, demand justice done to my lakes, ponds, and seven seas. Foolish humans, don’t you see what you do to you when you hurt me?

I, the Earth, shall crack open and all shall shake, for you humans are careless creatures! You chop down trees and build fancy, useless buildings over me. My burrowing, tunneling friends — what will become of them? Those wonderful beings that live in me… If only you’d open your eyes and see the pain that you are causing me!

I am the air, once clean and bright. You need me to live, yet you ignore my plight. Your factories and your sprays are causing me to turn old and gray. One day this place will be unlivable if you continue.

I, Mother Nature struggle to calm my infuriated daughters, the Earth, the Air, and the Water. All once calm and clear!  But if you don’t stop with your destruction, pollution, and careless construction, earthquakes, storms, and tsunamis you shall see, and with no mercy shall we act, until you do what we plea — what we have been asking for, for centuries! If you continue, there will be no human race, not a trace of that arrogant Homo Sapien face. All we ask for is for you to care, to love, and that animals you do not snare. That you do not make trophies of their skin and hair, and do not hunt as a sport but out of pure necessity. That you try to stop wars, with their bombing and noxious fumes. That you pick up plastic and buy what you will use, that you use what has been thrown away. It is a simple act, worth a thousand more, but we need more than a thousand deeds! We need to clean the air and shores and clear the seas. But most importantly of all, you people must pause your materialistic greed.

Earth Voice
Siddharth S. Sussman

I am soil, a brown crumbly material that makes everything grow. I make everything grow by giving nutrients to plants and animals, including people. I also hold roots in place.

I suffer when people pollute me and dig in my soul causing erosion. When I’m polluted, it harms plants and animals. When I’m eroded, I can’t hold roots of plants.

So please take care of me because, if you don’t, it might affect you, too!

Earth Citizen John Lewis
Ohm Williams

An “earth citizen” is someone who makes the earth better for other people and themselves. John Lewis was a great man and earth citizen.

He was one of the youngest activists to join the Civil Rights movement. John Lewis once said that Emmet Till was his George Floyd. It made me feel sad because we sort of went through the same thing of having someone murdered because of the color of his skin. Because of Emmet Till, John Lewis began to march. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. He stood up for Black Lives before Black Lives Matter was a movement. He was one of the brave people injured during the Bloody Sunday March. He did not stop fighting for freedom. He fought and fought and fought until his dying day. His legacy will live on.

I Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Miles Robin

I stand on the shoulders of giants. If it wasn’t for the Giants, I would not be able to live life like I do.  At the top of the mountain I stand, living my life.  But inside the mountain, all of the Giants of history stand together to make the mountain. They worked hard so I could have rights. There are many different mountains, but all together they make up the Human Rights Mountain Range.

About Our Programs

Tell Us a Story: The Storytelling Circle

By Doris Hart

Know a good ghost story?  Recall a memorable adventure during a vacation? You can share these online at our Storytelling Circle at 5pm every month’s first and third Thursday.

I’ve been visiting Scotland for 27 years, but the pandemic prevented me from going there this summer. I miss the wonderful and inspiring storytelling as we gather in cafes and pubs.  I’ve heard marvelous folktales, along with historic and family stories. A delightful way to spend evenings and meet with friends.

So, in lockdown in New York, I decided it was time to start a storytelling group here.  We’ve shared intriguing Native American legends, encounters in China and Africa, childhood memories, and lots more. People gather to share a story or to just sit back and listen.

“I’ve attended storytelling since it began,” says Deborah Goldstein,  “I enjoy it immensely. I love hearing Doris telling folktales as well as the many and varied contributions of the other participants.  I wish it were held every week instead of every other.”

Ethical Essentials Quiz

Compiled by Richard Koral and Larry Hurst

The story of the New York Society for Ethical Culture is remarkable and fascinating. But how much do you know about it? Here below, and in each forthcoming issue of Outlook, you will see a question about the Society, focusing variously on its history, members, events, and milestones.

September’s question: Ethical Culture was an active participant in the formation of the NAACP. In fact, two members of the NAACP’s first Board of Directors were Ethical NYC members. Who were they?

The answer: Henry Moskowitz and Oswald Garrison Villard

The Ethical Society was a prime supporter of the movement to organize a national association to advance the cause of African Americans. A petition to that effect was signed by several Leaders — John Lovejoy Elliott, Anna Garlin Spencer, William Slater, and Henry Moskowitz. When the NAACP was organized in 1909, its first board of directors included Adjunct Leader Henry Moskowitz and Oswald Garrison Villard, a member of the NY Society, along with W.E.B. Dubois. Many years later, in 1950, Algernon Black was elected a vice president of the NAACP.

Henry Moskowitz (1880 – 1936), born in Romania, was an adjunct Leader in Ethical Culture and, through the Downtown Ethical Society, organized a settlement house on the Lower East Side called Madison House. He was also the organizing Executive Director of the League of New York Theaters, later the Broadway League, which produces the Tony Awards.


Oswald Garrison Villard (1872 – 1949) was a journalist and editor of the New York Evening Post. He owned The Nation magazine from 1900 to 1935. Villard was a civil rights activist and a pacifist. His mother, Fanny Villard, was also a founding member of the NAACP.



This month’s question: Who is credited with having made the following statement: “Without ‘ethical culture’ there is no salvation for humanity”?

Submit your answer to today’s question to Ethicaloutlook@gmail.com.

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