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Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute Boston

Tuesdays throughout our Spring 2018 semester, Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute Boston will offer a series of Brown Bag Speakers.

Brown Bag presentations are free of charge and do not require registration to attend. Both students in our courses and non-students are welcome to participate.Brown Bag Lunch

Brown Bag speakers are scheduled during the lunch period between the morning and afternoon Courses for that day. As the name suggests, participants are welcome to bring a bag or box lunch to eat during the speaker's talk.

Presentations will run from 12:15pm -1:15pm Tuesday afternoons at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 630 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, MA. Please use the Mass Ave entrance to the church to attend both Brown Bag talks and courses.

Please note that we do not leave the door to the church unlocked during courses or lunch time talks. However, we will post a sign with a cell phone number on the door for you to call for entry if you arrive after the start of your course or Brown Bag talk.


Rainbow LLI Boston's Spring 2018 Brown Bag Speakers

Date: March 13

Title: Taking Action to Address Homelessness

Synopsis:  Join us for a conversation with Kelly Turley of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless about housing and homelessness in Massachusetts, and how you can be involved in statewide advocacy efforts to promote housing stability.

Learn about current public policy campaigns to increase elders’ access to homelessness prevention resources and cash assistance.

Presenter: Kelly Turley

For the past twenty years, Kelly Turley has been an advocate with and for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Since 2002, Kelly has worked for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, where she now serves as the Associate Director. At the Coalition, she collaborates to develop public policy strategies to create access to homelessness prevention benefits, safety net resources, and affordable housing opportunities for elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and families with children throughout the Commonwealth.

In addition to her housing and homelessness advocacy, Kelly is a long-time human rights activist, currently serving as Coordinator of Amnesty International USA Local Group 133 of Somerville/Cambridge and Chair of the Students for a Free Tibet International Board of Directors.

Date: March 20

TitleReading from The Off Season, a new novelThe Off Season_New

Synopsis: Amy will read excerpts from her newly published novel, The Off Season, based in the resort/LGBTQ haven/artists’ colony of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Nora Griffin, an artist, and her partner Janelle Burnside, a tech genius, have recently moved there from Brooklyn, for Janelle to recover from breast cancer treatment and for Nora to paint. But then, the charismatic Baby Harris flirts into Nora's life in her red cowboy boots, and during a damp, windy winter, Nora must contend with heartbreak, aging, and local environmental worries, while creating a mural she hopes will be her masterpiece.

Along the way, she encounters the chain-smoking, motor scooter–driving landlady Miss Ruby; Reverend Patsy, the vegan minister of the Unitarian church; and Brunhilde, barista extraordinaire and rival for Baby's affections. As the first tourists begin to arrive in June, Nora must decide what she really wants from life.

Presenter: Amy Hoffman

Amy Hoffman is a long time LGBTQ activist and writer in Boston. Her novel, The Off Season, was published in October 2017 by the University of Wisconsin Press. She has published three award-winning memoirs: Hospital Time; An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay Community News; and Lies About My Family.

Amy is editor of Women’s Review of Books and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pine Manor College. Her MFA is from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has received several fellowships at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and serves on the center’s fellows council.



Haley House

Date: March 27

Title: Haley House: A History of the Boston Catholic Worker Movement

The Catholic Worker movement began in New York City in the 1930’s. Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin were attempting to live out the ideals of  Catholic social teachings on labor and justice. Their efforts inspired others to start their own houses of hospitality; guided by their faith and their reflections on the social implications of the Gospels. 

Haley House was opened in Boston’s South End in 1966. Kathe and John McKenna and a few brave souls lived and worked in an old brownstone that they purchased for $18,000. Over the past 50 years, Haley House has grown to include a soup kitchen for homeless men, meals for low income elders, transitional housing for at risk families, rooming houses for single men, a bakery cafe in Dudley Square, a Transitional Employment program for the recently incarcerated, an urban farm and a social entrepreneurship project called Dudley Dough. 

We will take a look at the inspiration for the founding of Haley House and how that original intention has unfolded throughout the 50 year history of this faith-based social justice experiment. 

Presenter: Ilona O’Connor

Ilona arrived at Haley House in Boston’s South End in 1983. She lived and worked in the community until 1991. Since then she has been a supporter of the work and a mentor to community members. One of her contributions has been to lead strategic planning for Haley House initiatives. In 2016, she headed up the 50th Anniversary Celebration committee. Beginning in 2017, she will be working to create a Haley House Archive at Boston College Burns Library. 

Infinity RainbowDate: April 3

Title: Discussion: Growing our Rainbow LLI Community

Synopsis: Each term we try to spend one of our brown bag sessions for sharing, discussion, and getting to know each other. 

The focus for this discussion is suggestions for helping to grow our Rainbow community, ideas for classes and brown bags and perhaps find some help in making this happen. Come and contribute ideas, and/or listen, and continue to grow our community.

Facilitator: Marsha Gerstein

Marsha is a founder and current board member of the Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute Boston.

Date: April 10

Title: A Pocket Guide to Practical Peace: How Peace in the Moment can Make Peace in the World

Synopsis: The Pocket Guide to Practical Peace distills into six practices what I have learned through the many moments of my activist life, from guerrilla to outlaw, through surrender and prison, and now to grandmother, from sources as varied as wisdom traditions, complexity theory, and my own body living on the earth.

The practices begin with compassion and end in action so that peace in the moment can help us bring peace to the world.

Presenter: Katherine PowerKatherine Power

In 1970, in the face of an escalating war in Vietnam and images of the government turning its guns on its own citizens, Brandeis student Katherine Power abandoned her commitment to peace and became a violent revolutionary. In the process of a bank robbery by the “guerrilla band” she had become part of, Boston Police Officer Walter Schroeder was killed. He left behind a widow and nine children, the youngest a toddler, the eldest a senior in high school. For 23 years, Power eluded the FBI, settling into an ordinary life as chef and restaurant owner, neighbor, and mom.

In 1993, she surrendered to authorities, pled guilty to armed robbery and manslaughter and was sent to Framingham prison.  Power’s inner journey took her from defiance and denial through layer after layer of surrender. She struggled to accept herself as a person who was both the perpetrator of brutality and a human being of value, at the same time. Power was released from prison in 1999.

She completed her Bachelors degree in the Boston University Prison Education Program in 1996. In 2001 she was awarded a Masters degree in Philosophy, Ethics, and Writing from Oregon State University.  

April 17 - Mid Semester Break. No Classes or Brown Bag Lecture

A Queeer history of the United StatesDate: April 24

Title: The Innate Queerness of American History

Synopsis: Using information from my book ”A Queer History of the United States” I’ll not only show how LGBT people have been present in every aspect of U.S. history but how the country’s history is, in many ways, surprising queer.

From the free-loving Merrymount colony in Massachusetts to gay male abolitionists, to cross-dressing women soldiers in the Civil War to 19th century lesbian labor organizers, to love between soldiers in WWII and the LGBT movement, queerness has defined the character and history of the United States.

Presenter: Michael Bronski has been involved with the LGBT movement since 1969 and have been an organizer, writer, and editor, published about queer ideas and topics for all of those years. He was involved in “Fag Rag” and “Gay Community News” and programmed the OutWrite literary conference for many years. Michael is now Professor of the Practice in Activism and Media in the program of Women, Gender and Sexuality studies at Harvard University. His “Queer History of the United State” was published in 2011. He has lived in Cambridge since 1973.

Date: May 1

TitleLearning To Be OldAge is an Issue_Mark Twain Quote

Synopsis:  An occasionally irreverent, often touching and honest look at the challenges, losses and rewards of aging, Sarah’s presentation will focus on the complex experience of growing old.

Sarah describes both ageism and aging as she addresses her own experience of aging and the management of cognitive, physical, and emotional changes including forgetfulness, hearing loss, poor vision and the challenge of driving, especially at night. Additional themes are social disinterest and unwanted solicitousness by younger people, the impact of aging on relationships, and the role of memory in reconstructing new perspectives on the different and similar selves that have populated our lives.  

Presenter: Sarah Pearlman

Sarah Pearlman is a long-time teacher, writer, and activist—nationally recognized for her pioneering role in establishing a psychology of lesbians.    

Sarah was selected by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (American Psychological Association) as the recipient of the 2011 Award for Distinguished Professional Contribution.
She is the author of Mother-Talk: Conversations with Mothers of Lesbian Daughters and FTM Transgender Children (published by Demeter Press) and The Lesbian Erotic: Bad Gird Persona and Other Poems. She is currently active in Boston’s LGBT elder organizations and a founder of Boston OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change).

She also has given a number of well received Rainbow Brown bags, and is one of our more popular presenters.

Date:  May 8

a man wearing a dressTitle: Author & Lecturer: a man wearing a dress

Synopsis: Glenn C. Koenig, author of a new book, “a man wearing a dress,” will give an introduction, read excerpts from the book, including some poetry, and answer questions from the audience. 

Excerpts will include stories from his life, his analysis of gender and gender identity, and his view of where culture and society are headed in the future.  He is an optimist and will provide his reasons for being so.  He will have books on hand for browsing and will sign any book purchased by anyone attending.

Presenter: Glenn C. Koenig recently wrote his first book, “a man wearing a dress” - a memoir and reflections of gender identity and the surrounding society today.

 He has been very active in volunteer work, having served on Arlington Town Meeting for 16 years, on Arlington’s Finance Committee, the Vision 2020 Standing Committee and Chair of the Communication Task Group.  He has been a member of the League of Women Voters and was the founding president of ACMI, Arlington’s Community Media Studio. 

 Check out his other appearances on his web site at www.messagerain.com/appearances--events.html.

Date: May 15

TitleManipulation: How Hidden Influences Affect Our Choice of Products, Politicians and PrioritiesData Manipulation Cartoon

Synopsis: We are all being manipulated daily in ways that are often invisible and unrecognized.  Elements of manipulation are essential factors in our important decisions, yet it is often difficult to know that we are in fact being manipulated, by whom and how.

This talk will explore the notion that manipulation is now so much a part of our lives that it is vitally important to gain an understanding of its impact in order to make appropriate and well-informed personal and societal decisions.

We will explore a number of forms of manipulation to gain an understanding of how they influence our choices, among them: psychological, physical, interpersonal, economic, ideological and technological. We will discuss fascinating examples of manipulation, such as consumer advertising, manipulative personalities, magic tricks,the lines at Disney World and lying.

Presenter: Sanford (Sandy) Sherizen was trained as a sociologist, went bad and became a criminologist, and then really bad by becoming a computer security and privacy professional. He has taught at various universities, been interviewed on tv and by newspaper reporters, led seminars and given speeches in many domestic and international settings.

As ex-president, he is active at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury. Flunking retirement, he taught ESL to adult immigrants and serves on a patient research ethics and safety board at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At BOLLI, he has taught courses on Surviving the Inquisition: Conversos, Crypto-Jews and Marranos, Your Privacy is at Risk, Crime Topics, and The Sociology of “Deviant” Behaviors.

Discussion Clip ArtDate: May 22

Title: Discussion: Looking Back, Looking Forward

This is our last week of the term.   Let’s spend some time sharing with each other, what we liked (or not) about this past term, or year, and what we’re looking forward to in spring and summer.

Facilitator: Marsha Gerstein

Marsha is a founder and current board member of the Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute Boston.


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