Sunday, May 7, 2023
The Dynamic Duo of the New York Society for Ethical Culture are bringing Ethics Unplugged to Denver. In alignment with the theme of the conference: “Crossroads and Collective Future”, these two Ethical Humanists use their intergenerational and intersectionality dialogue to bridge the gap of difference and arrive together in REALNESS, SINCERITY, and MATTER-MAKING. It is time for healing, reconciliation, and truth-telling in our movement, especially as this country seeks to emerge from the clutches of the pandemic, political trauma, racial inequality, judicial misogyny, gun violence, transphobic bills and so much more! Ethics Unplugged is here to make brave and radical space and humbling our intellect to be present for each other. Join Nori, Jé and musician Lindsey Wilson as they speak to crossroads and collective future that makes us humanist.
Jé Exodus Hooper (them/they) is an arts and cultural community curator, clergy, and scholar, who has served the Ethical Culture and Congregational Humanist Movements for over eight years while an instructor of performance theory at Ohio University School of Theater . With a passion as an activist aesthete, ethicist, and community-based performator, Hooper identifies themselves within the Humanist spectrum as a neo-mannerist. A term inspired by the artistic work of Ernie Barnes, a Black American artist, whose work was displayed on a 1970s sitcom entitled, Good Times. Specifically, centering voices on the margins beyond conventional Humanist cliché, such as reason, logic, science, and rationale without a God, Dr. Hooper calls us to be in wonder with ourselves and the world around us, honoring that there is more to know and understand about ourselves and each other.
Even with their stylized face of pleasantry and joy, Dr. Hooper does not shy away from topics of discomfort, dysfunction, and disorder that have disproportionately restricted folks on the margin, who seek to cultivate a social elegance in an obscure technical sophistication of aliveness that the traditional status quo cannot imagine. Decolonizing the mind requires a skill of word-working and/or love language –a folk-talk that focuses on the ecosystem of collective freedom through embodiment, intuition, imagination, and human socio-practice of improvisation. Here, power is traded for purpose, privilege is exchanged for personality, and prejudice is exuded into pleasure.
Dr. Hooper observes the art of living as a human necessity where they must interpolate new materiality of being and existence. Their most authentic work is not only found in the confines of the academy, institutions, and/or religious façades – they are most alive as a griot of digital spaces, an artivist of studios and stages, a public theologian of dance-hall or clubs, and a provocateur of the preaching body, where they hold and carve-out space for their siblings of all kinds. Dr. Hooper dares their audience to “take off the mask” courageously as Baldwin explains and furthermore live or be a cultural archetype of “… quest and daring and growth” that others may find a home in our humanity. This kind of transaesthetic and transdisciplinary approaches console and agitate communities by re-imaging and re-claiming narratives that honor the inherited worth and dignity within all people – a he[art] work that Jé is committed to!
Prior to joining The New York Society for Ethical Culture as its newest Leader, Dr. Nori Rost served the All-Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs, CO as their settled minister for 13 years. Before that, she was a minister with Metropolitan Community Church, a queer Christian denomination, for almost 20 years. She is passionate about social justice and has been involved in social rights activism since she was 17. She is an outspoken advocate for justice and equity and has received many awards and recognition for her work.