September 25: Pam Wilmot, “Voting and Democracy: Challenges to the Right to Vote and Opportunities for Increasing Political Participation”

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 10.32.59 AMPam Wilmot is the Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts.

The 2016 Presidential election promises to be one of the bitterest in decades. Donald Trump’s comments about Democrats trying to steal the election may spur voter intimidation campaigns in swing states. Luckily, some of the worst voter suppression laws, passed after the Shelby decision overturning portions of the federal voting rights laws, have been recently struck down by the Supreme Court. To further protect the vote, non-partisan groups are planning one of the largest ever election observation efforts ever and have succeeded in advancing laws to modernize elections and include more voters in some states, including Massachusetts. Join us for a discussion of the challenges and opportunities to voting in Massachusetts and across the nation.

May 8: Michael Bleiweiss, “Colloquy”

MichaelBleiweiss_12-21-2015_6_BBEC Vice President Michael Bleiweiss will lead a Colloquy.

Colloquy provides an opportunity for self-reflection and contemplation within a nurturing, group environment.  Participants use readings, music, and quiet sharing to reflect on a selected theme.

It was created at the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island by Arthur Dobrin, Leader Emeritus. Each Colloquy discussion centers on a particular theme selected from Arthur Dobrin’s book, Spelling God with Two O’s. Groups consider such topics as awareness, serenity, character, transitions and friendship.

Book Review: Civil War Reflections

Submitted by Peter Denison

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.13.03 AMAFTER LINCOLN: How the North Won the Civil War and Lost the Peace, by  A. J. Langguth

Langguth gives a lively account of the Reconstruction period, primarily 1865-1877.  Most of the chapters are built around a primary character.  Indeed he even includes a list of the primary characters.  His list includes several Southerners such as General Lee and Jefferson Davis, and also some Southern Republicans who allied with the former slaves to seize control of most of the Southern states.  Some of the Negroes proved to be quite capable both as political strategists and as administrators.  Some were elected to Congress, but never in proportion to their numbers. Langguth clearly presents the opposition from White southerners and shows  how they gradually destroyed the Reconstruction envisioned by President Lincoln. Why did the Southerners succeed? 

March 15: Joe Diamond, “Income Inequality: Why It Is Imperative That We Address It – Together”

Joe DiamondCANCELLED: Our speaker is unable to do this talk, due to an out-of-state funeral he must attend. The program will be rescheduled.

 

Joe Diamond is Executive Director, Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP)

Community Action Agencies were created 50 years ago to fight and end poverty.  We have made great strides in helping millions of people leave or avoid poverty, yet millions remain poor or near poor and the gap between rich and poor widens every day.  We must assess reasons for this – in large part the wage gap is to blame – and the programs such as fuel assistance, Medicare, Medicaid, EITC, food stamps, and others that work, build on them, and create new approaches – together – that will end poverty.  As the gap between rich and poor widens, societies weaken economically, socially, and culturally.   Now more than ever we need to learn from the past 50 years.