Tom Bergstrom, a Humanist Community member will share important things in his life in this talk. He grew up in a blue collar town of 78,000 in southeast Wisconsin as a practicing Catholic. As a child he was mostly interested in riding his bike fast, and then later developed an interest in world events. However, in his teens he became ill.
For years during Tom’s teens, his best friend used fear tactics to challenge Tom to join the friend’s church. When Tom was 18, he finally joined his friend’s small modest conservative Church Of Christ. After eight years in the Church of Christ or the “C of C”, Tom found out that he could preach. His short preaching career began in his 20’s and lasted a few years from 1991 to about 1994. By 1999 he went through a divorce which led to a new discovery on Christian hypocrisy.
About this he says, “This hypocrisy opened my eyes. I educated myself about philosophy, Taoism, Buddhism, evolution, US history, particle physics, and other sciences. This new education eventually led me to become agnostic. At the same time as I was becoming progressive, American politics was becoming more conservative. Thus, I remembered my old Bible training which taught that there is a big difference between basic Jesus’ saying to love your neighbor and with right-wing American Christian propaganda. The right-wings’ lying rhetoric in the name of Jesus encouraged me to write, blog, protest, join socialists, join humanists, and to expose conservative right-wing American Christians’ hypocritical propaganda. I hope to open your eyes to the magnitude of the false Christian hypocrisy I have seen.”
Roberta Ahlquist has been a Professor in the College of Education at San Jose State for over 35 years. She has taught a variety of courses including Multicultural Foundations of Education, Educational Sociology, Educational Psychology, History of Education, Educational Philosophy and Critical Issues in Education. She supervises prospective high school teachers. Her areas of research include critical race theory, countering hegemony and whiteness, unlearning racism, critical multicultural education, indigenous education and postcolonial studies. Her most recent publication which is available on Amazon is: Assault on Kids (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education) by Paul C. Gorski (Author), Roberta Ahlquist (Author, Editor), Theresa Montaño (Author, Editor), Paul Gorski (Editor).
In addition, Ahlquist is President of a non-profit multicultural resource center, Our Developing World, in Saratoga, California, that reaches out to teachers at all levels of schooling, to provide resources and alternatives to the dominant mainstream curriculum that most students receive in schools. She sees herself as a social justice educator and activist.
Her presentation will include a discussion of the pros and cons of charter schools and why they have become so popular.
Ahlquist grew up in Great Falls, Montana, where she became involved in research about the Blackfeet Indians in Montana. She has been a visiting professor in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, where she shared anti-oppressive curriculum for two programs, the Udgeroo Unit for Aboriginal Studies, at Queensland University of Technology, and the University of Queensland, where she gave workshops, forums and presentations on white privilege and related topics. She also did research in the outback and co-authored several articles for international publications about Australian teachers teaching in the outback.
Ahlquist was a Fulbright Scholar in 2006 to Finland where she taught a course titled “Teaching for Worlds of Difference” at the University of Turku in Turku, Finland. While is Finland she presented workshops and gave paper presentations at the University of Tampere, at Rouma, a feeder university, and Inari, Finland, in Lapland, at the Institute for Saami Studies. She recently returned from 2012 research in the Middle East, addressing questions for U.S. teachers about the extent to which neo- colonialism continues to play a role in schooling. She is a long-time union and peace activist.
Ahlquist last spoke to the Humanist Community in September 2012, and we are delighted to have her return.
Can humanism truly provide a foundation for a society? If not what would it take to do so? Arthur Jackson will lay out his best thinking on this topic.
Arthur is current President of HCSV and Secretary for Humanist Society, AHA (the body that certifies Humanist Celebrants, Ministers, and Chaplains. He Chaired the IHEU Working Party on Humanist Counseling (1968-78). He is also the author of The Humanist Chapter of the Future and the Future of Humanism (1982, 1993) and How to Live the Good Life: A User’s Guide for Modern Humans (2011). He worked as AHA’s Assistant Director (1965-69).