Newsletter: Week of Oct 2, 2017

From the Program Director

Sarah Chandonnet

In the wake of disturbing violence and hatred on display in Charlottesville this past summer, we in the humanist community went on a search for signs of hope. One of the most hopeful messages we found, anywhere in America, was that of a Sikh American victim of a mass shooting, and a former White Supremacist working together for peace. 

"On August 5, 2012, a man like the one I used to be walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and began shooting," wrote Arno Michaelis on "Before valiant police officers stopped him, this miserable, suffering person, who was a member of the white power skinhead gang I had helped to get off the ground back in the late 1980s, murdered six people and left an elderly holy man in a coma. Refusing to be subject to terror, the Sikh community opened itself to the broader American community like never before. The survivors, days after their loved ones were so senselessly taken from them, conceived an ongoing defiance of hate and violence called Serve 2 Unite, an organization I am deeply honored to be a part of."

Pardeep Kaleka is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka - the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, who was gunned down during the attacks of August 5th, 2012. Pardeep grew up in Milwaukee and he is a former Milwaukee Police Officer and a current teacher in the inner city. 

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, Arno Michaelis was a founding member of what went on to become the largest racist skinhead organization on Earth, a reverend of a self-declared "Racial Holy War," and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties and is still popular with racists today.

Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by the people he once hated all helped to turn Arno's life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. Today Arno is a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development working with Serve 2 Unite.

After the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting on August 5th, 2012, Pardeep and Arno founded Serve 2 Unite in a spirit of defiance. This Sunday, join us for a conversation with Pardeep Kaleka and Arno Michaelis. Their travel from Wisconsin to Harvard has been generously sponsored by The National Sikh Campaign, whose Executive Director, Gurwin Singh Ahuja, will also be joining us for this important dialogue. Ahuja, former White House official and leader in interfaith relations in the Obama administration, will be making his second appearance at the Humanist Hub. All who are interested in interfaith and peace building work are warmly welcome to this unique conversation, regardless of belief or background!   1:30-3:00pm, 30 JFK Street. Read more here.

Please note: Jill Abramson had initially been scheduled for this date, but her event has been moved to Thursday, November 16. More details TBA soon!
Upcoming Programs
Oct 15: Khiara Bridges: Race, Poverty and Privacy:
In this talk, Bridges will discuss the research that she has conducted with poor mothers and mothers-to-be, focusing on their experiences with state regulation and surveillance. She hopes to engage the audience in a conversation about what we can do -- as individuals and a community -- to ensure that poor people are treated with the dignity and humanity that they deserve.  1:30-3:00pm, 30 JFK Street.  Read more here.

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Get Involved!
Humanism 101: Last Chance to Enroll!
10/4: We're offering a weekly Humanism 101 course taught by Humanist chaplain Greg Epstein. A few spots are still available.    Enroll Now!
10/22: Next BQL & Katherine Ozment 
Join us monthly for our secular Sunday school, and a special morning program for parents. Read more here. See this month's event with Katherine Ozment here. And watch last month's event  here.
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