Following the Newtown shooting, Samuel Freedman wrote a New York Times article entitled, “In a Crisis, Humanists Seem Absent.” While that is demonstrably not true, the humanist community seems to be lacking an organizational strategy for responding to crises both man-made and natural.
Panelists will explore how the humanist community can expand its crisis outreach. Participants will examine a range of proposals for both partnership opportunities when responding to large-scale events and leadership opportunities in efforts aimed at reducing violence, mitigating harm, and preventing tragedies. They will also consider how humanist groups might best promote their efforts within the relief community and to the public at large so as to be more visible. Discussion will include looking at what sort of public relations or organizational development might be both appropriate and beneficial for all concerned.
Nikki Stern is the author of Because I Say So: Moral Authority’s Dangerous Appeal and Hope in Small Doses, published by Humanist Press. She has written for the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, the Humanist, and numerous other publications. She’s been a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and CBS Sunday Morning. Her next book is a work of fiction, a collection of short stories featuring a cast of appealingly peculiar characters, not all of them human.
Rabbi Biber is the founding humanist chaplain at American University in Washington DC, is past president of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis-North America, has served as a Humanistic Jewish rabbi for 13 years, and is a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street, the largest U.S. Jewish group working for a just peace between Israel and Palestine.
Biber is also a social worker trained at the University of Michigan in counseling, community organizing, nonprofit development and management, and progressive advocacy.
Klaeysen is Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, Humanist Chaplain at New York University, Ethical Humanist Religious Life Adviser at Columbia University, and Co-dean of The Humanist Institute. She holds Masters Degrees in German from the State University of New York at Albany and in business administration from New York University.
Klaeysen holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastor counseling from Hebrew Union College. Previously she led the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island from 2002 to 2008.
Lopes is director of the Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence, Kansas, and a volunteer crisis counselor and a registered trainer in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. A former teacher and organizer for the Kansas National Education Association, he organized in 1999 Kansas Citizens for Science to force the State Board of Education to reconsider creationism in science standards. He also served as president of the Kansas ACLU and has been active as a community organizer. (email)