What’s Coming Up from the Education Center

The American Humanist Association’s Center for Education has been churning out relevant, engrossing online programming since the beginning of the pandemic. In the past year, the Center has brought important topics to the forefront, introduced new perspectives, embraced different ways to engage, and highlighted humanist authors and leaders. Topics covered have included how to live amidst COVID-19 and addressed anti-racism and anti-oppression within the humanist movement. Events examined successful ancient societies, human brain evolution, dogmatic beliefs and delusions. Offerings ranged from mindfulness meditation, music therapy, and a chance to explore art and imaginationalong with a closer look at Alain Locke. Attendees had the opportunity to talk to humanist leaders and authors such as Katherine Stewart, Dr. Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Sikivu Hutchinson, Ovais Khalil, Karl Frisch, Janey Rizvi, William Greer, and Bailey and Elle Harris. The Center for Education provided a host of exciting and enlightening programming during a challenging time.

In January 2021, education programming maintained momentum with a four-part series on energy, equity, health, and solutions in relation to climate change in conjunction with the HERE for Climate project. This special event looked at Solutions for Food, Energy, and Water Challenges Faced by Indigenous Communities; A More Equitable Future in Environment, Economy, and Energy; Our Health and the Environment’s Health; and Where Do We Go From Here? Solutions for the Environment. Recordings are available on the AHA’s YouTube channel and Center for Education website.

This week, on February 11th, the Center will speak to David Orenstein, a tenured professor of anthropology at Medgar Evers College (CUNY) on Darwin As Apical Freethought Ancestor. Ornstein will discuss how Darwin’s work in biology supported scientists, freethinkers, and social activists in the United States and Europe—looking specifically at how their work led us to the global pursuit of a humane understanding of the world. This event is part of the Speaking of Humanism Zoom series at americanhumanist.org/SpeakingOfHumanism from 6:30-8:00pm (Eastern).

The Critical Minds series, later this month, will address How America Lost Its Mind: Can Science Shed Light On The Rise of Conspiracy Theories and Delusions? Led by Mark Reimers, an associate professor in the neuroscience program at Michigan State University, the event will bring insight into how conspiracy theories have affected our national discourse. Reimers says, “The capitol riot on January 6 brought forcibly to our attention the surge in conspiracy theories and other delusions in the United States. Some of the blame surely lies with politicians who are cynically exploiting their audience. But what properties of the human mind make us so susceptible to these kinds of delusions? And how can we strengthen the role of reason?” He will frame these questions in the context of evolution to show that the propensity for delusion is both a bug and a feature of the human mind–both a critical weakness and a crucial part of our success as species. Join the event on February 23 at americanhumanist.org/CriticalMinds from 7:00-8:00 pm (Eastern).

March will continue to bring exciting programming from David Rowell, Director for Systemic Diversity Organization/The Systemic Diversity and Inclusion Group. In a talk entitled Taking a New Look at Gender Equality, Rowell will present a broader view reframing gender equality beyond a board seat or a paycheck. He will expand the definition of gender equality, taking a deeper dive beyond surface problems and solutions—looking at sources of, the status of, hindrances to, and means of improving gender equality. Another installment of the Critical Minds Series, this session can be viewed at americanhumanist.org/CriticalMinds on March 11, 7:30-9:00pm (Eastern).

March will wrap up with Candace Gorham discussing Children and Mental Health: What Parents Should Know in the Speaking of Humanism seriesGorham, a licensed mental health counselor and author of The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking Out on Religion―and Others Should Too, will discuss how children and teens are experiencing mental and emotional health problems at historic rates during the pandemic. She will review mental and behavioral health disorders common in childhood and adolescence as well as common treatments and interventions, including medications. Mark your calendar for March 17, 6:30-8:00 pm (Eastern), to attend this seminar. Connect on at americanhumanist.org/SpeakingOfHumanism.

Be sure to keep a watch for April event announcements in email, on the Education Center’s website, and on social media. Feel free to connect with the Center for Education at additional offerings: education@americanhumanist.org.