The RYSEC board and Leader encourage you to attend a multicultural and interfaith conference called “Revolutionary Love: The Courage to Imagine” hosted by Middle Collegiate Church, a racially diverse Manhattan congregation dedicated to social justice.
This will be their 15th annual conference and the first one, due to the pandemic, to be held virtually. This provides an opportunity for people who found travel and overnight accommodation expenses prohibitive to participate. And our national organization, the American Ethical Union, has arranged for a group discount so that tickets will cost $50 (plus $3.55 processing fee) by using the code AEU2021. While the host does not use this conference primarily for fundraising purposes, some of the revenue will support its congregation.
“To transform our world,” the conference organizers write, “we must have the moral imagination to look beyond our present circumstances,” and they invite is to “join artists, activists, prophets and educators as we plan a just society.” The speakers and facilitators will offer new tools “to shift the cultural narrative, so we can collectively shape a new story that brings us closer to justice.” Several of the speakers have been guests at the NY Society for Ethical Culture, and one, Irshad Manji, was given their Ethical Humanist Award. James Croft, Leader of the St. Louis Society, is organizing a panel presentation on anti-racist work conducted in Ferguson, Missouri.
Some of the questions the conference will tackle are:
- How can we dismantle structural racism and white supremacy?
- What would a world look like that guaranteed LGBTQIA+ rights?
- What if we embraced abundance instead of scarcity? What would it look like if everyone had enough?
- How can we plan just food distribution and moral policies for human migration in this climate crisis?
- How can we be better relatives to our non-human kin?
- How can we eliminate xenophobia to improve global cooperation?
RYSEC Leader Jone Lewis writes:
I have attended this conference three times when it was in person and in Manhattan. I’ve never failed to be inspired, or to learn something new, or to connect with others to work with on a specific issue. Others I’ve known who’ve attended have had similar reactions. We may not agree with what everyone says – and there will likely be a whole lot more that we do resonate with.
What I’ve loved best about these conferences, beyond even the content itself, is the modeling of what a diverse community looks and feels like – one in which religious creed isn’t what unites or divides. Instead, a community where beyond our differences, we are in solidarity around our commitment to social justice, human liberation, and respect for every person no matter what identities we embrace or society puts on us. Something to aspire to in our own community.
RYSEC member and formerly our Community Outreach Director, Liz Collier, writes:
I attended the Revolutionary Love conference in 2016, in person at Middle Collegiate Church in NYC. I appreciated the mix of inspiration and “let’s get to work” message from the speakers and the fantastic music, as my head and heart were both nourished. I was grateful for the focus on anti-racism work. The presentation of one of the core Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizers still leaves an impact on me today. I also enjoyed experiencing how the social justice work we do in Ethical Culture intersects and overlaps with the work of many other groups.
If you’re planning to attend, let our Leader, Jone Lewis, know, so she can let you know about a pre-conference orientation being organized by Ethical Culture Leaders, and a post-conference gathering on Zoom so that those of us who attend from RYSEC can talk about how we might apply what we’ve learned.