Opportunity Knocks – Are We Ready?

Submitted by Andrea Perrault

In January, our much-anticipated move back to Harvard Square will take place. Collaborating with the Humanists at Harvard will give us new possibilities for expanding our reach to newer audiences, specifically to younger generations. While caution has been urged by many in our group, members of the Ethical Society of Boston must look inward and recognize that we cannot stand still, operating as we have for the past decade. Hopefully, through our strategic planning process, we’ll identify what our concerns and hopes are for the future of ESB. This process will engage us in dialogue that is much needed, and we should not ask to revive the past, but to reinvent the past in ways that are more fitting for engaging new ideas and new people.  

Remebering Ed Roseland

On Sunday, November 10th, a celebration of the life of Ed Roseland took place at 1550 Beacon Street, Ed’s home for the past decade. Organized by his son, Mark Roseland, who traveled with his family from Vancouver, British Columbia, the event was heartwarming to all who knew Ed. Katrina Scott, Ethical Society Officiant, presided over the gathering that included planned speakers and opportunities for those in the audience to share remembrances of Ed.

ESB Celebrates Immigrants

Submitted by Andrea Perreault

On October 6th, ESB hosted Dr. Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College, for a lecture and discussion on the topic “Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal” (the title of her new book to be published by Beacon press in May of 20124). Although efforts to bring important issues to our members and friends are topical, none could have been so timely coordinated with current events. On the prior Thursday, Aviva Chomsky and her father, Noam Chomsky were featured in a Boston Globe article (appearing in both the North and West editions) about their successful efforts to assist a young woman and her 3-year old son to stay in the United States. Although Mariola Perez has been granted a stay of her deportation for only one year, this is a success story. In her talk, Chomsky recounted the ordeal of the situation that Mariola confronted, and how she and her father provided support to a woman and child who have become virtual family members. Learn the details of the story in the article that can be found on-line in Boston Globe archives, or at http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/aviva-chomsky/. To contribute to Mariola Perez’ legal expenses, Chomsky urges you to do so by sending a contribution to Mariola Perez, 14 Shore Ave., Salem, MA 01970, note “legal expenses” on your check.

Renewal and New Beginnings

Submitted by Andrea Perreault

As summer came to a close in late September, the Ethical Society of Boston was poised to begin a new program year, and to build our partnership with area humanists in an exciting new venture of shared commitment with the Humanists at Harvard that would serve our community in Boston more effectively.

Summer of Mayhem (Today and Yesterday)

Submitted by Andrea Perrault

Boston has had a tough summer. This spring we suffered an unprecedented act of violence with the Marathon bombings, and the specter of their devastation influenced the look and feel of the city all summer long. From news pieces about the perpetrators to memorials to the young victims to stories about the hospitalizations and recoveries of those who lost limbs and of those whose psyches are now haunted by memories of their proximity to the horror, we have not been able to escape the shadow of this event. Follow-up events to the incident have kept it in our minds as well, reverberating throughout government, legal, academic, and media communities as the event is analyzed for what it means for the future of civil society in the world today.

The Private Sector and the Social Contract – A Call for ESB to Study the Moral Limits of Markets

Submitted by Andrea Perrault

The US Department of Labor released unemployment statistics for June in July, and from listening to radio news reports and reading the newspapers, I might have been convinced that the economy had fully recovered. In fact, I’d heard it declared that the economic recession is over. But July reports released in August had much less enthusiastic reports. It seems that recovery is here, but seems now to be wavering. However, can recovery really be true? If so, who has the “recovery” left by the wayside? Does the overall economy deserve to be regarded as a separate entity in its own right, deserving of “personhood” as the Supreme Court has offered corporations? When so many people are still jobless and hurting, can all be well in the economy?

Are You Serious?

Submitted by Andrea Perreault

In March, ESB member Woody Kaplan delivered a talk entitled “What’s Going On with Our Government?”. As we already knew, it was nothing too good: gridlock in Congress, obfuscation of real issues, campaign mudslinging, denial of the impacts of sequestration, inability to pass legislation that meets the needs of the people (especially around gun control, environmental issues, immigration, and the economy), and general partisan bickering. However, as early spring becomes summer, the situation, if one can believe it, gets even worse. The reemergence of the congressional inquiry into the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, the “prism” project, big data, misinterpretations about the emerging implementation of Obamacare, as well as the IRS “scandal”, brings me to a state of total incredulity that our elected officials can possibly think I might perceive them to be even remotely capable of protecting (or even understanding) citizen interests. Between ineffective, gridlocked government, and tone-deaf media, how can we ever figure out what’s really going on?

Moving to the “Burbs”

Submitted by Brian King, ESB President

In July we found out that our former Cambridge space would no longer be open on Sundays. We scrambled to find another meeting place in Cambridge, Brookline, or Boston, but nothing worked out. We found a very nice space at 395 Concord Avenue in Belmont at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and we will begin our new season there on October 14.