Archive | Monthly Gathering

August Monthly Gathering – A Cold War Tragedy: The United States in Vietnam

The involvement of the United States in Vietnam spanned five different presidencies and was a direct consequence of our diplomatic strategies and domestic politics of the Cold War. In those senses, our involvement was inevitable. However, different presidents dealt with the Vietnam Problem (anti-colonial action, organized around Communist ideology) in radically different ways. After the Korean War, many diplomats and soldiers were aware of the dangers of excessive commitment; our allies in Europe and Asia issued similar warnings. Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy showed caution; Johnson bet heavily on fighting and winning a military struggle there; Nixon played a complex, equivocal game. The outcome of course was destructive to presidential reputations and deeply divisive. In some ways we still have not recovered from the divisions of the Vietnam Era.

Our guest speaker Bruce Zellers was born and raised in southeastern Michigan. He graduated from Oakland University and received an M.A. in history from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has taught at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor since 1983 and has been a Special Lecturer in the History Department of OU since 1990. He specializes in 20th Century American military history, particularly the Cold War conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. His book reviews have appeared in a number of journals over the years, but most recently in the Michigan War Studies Review and the Journal of Military History.

Join us on Saturday, August 18th at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield, to hear this story of what was arguably America’s most tragic war. Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.

Adult members: $4, or a strip of 4 tickets – $12
Adult guests: $5
Children 12 and under: $2
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

Continue Reading

June Monthly Gathering – My Journey of Survival, by Holocaust Survivor Irene Miller

Come and hear a different kind of Holocaust story, as Irene Miller, a Holocaust survivor, takes you on a journey little written of or known about. An amazing story of hope, the struggle to stay alive, and resilience of the human spirit. Listen to her narrative and will sleep in the winter under an open sky in no man’s land; you will freeze in a Siberian labor camp with the bears at your door. In Uzbekistan, you will live on boiled grass or broiled onions, and shiver with malaria. You will spend years in orphanages. In the end, you will wonder how a child with this background grows up to become a positive, creative, accomplished woman with a joy for living and love to share.

Irene Miller is a retired healthcare executive who has held positions as a hospital administrator, developer and administrator of the first federally qualified HMO in Michigan, and director of mental health for Livingston County. She also directed the psychiatric division at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital and treatment centers for drug addicted and dual diagnosed women and their children at the DMC. For a year she served in Washington DC on an advisory committee for issues related to drug addiction in women and children. Before immigrating to the U.S., she was a public school teacher in Israel.

In retirement Irene serves as a a docent and speaker for the Detroit Institute of Arts, a courts mediator, and on the Board of Directors of the American Jewish Committee. Since publishing her book, “Into No Man’s Land: A Historical Memoir”, in 2012, Irene has lectured extensively throughout the Midwest and in Canada. Her memoir serves her mission to promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity.

Ms. Miller has been interviewed extensively for articles in newspapers and on radio and TV stations across the country. Her story was the basis for the PBS documentary “Irene; Child of the Holocaust”, which premiered December 2016.

Irene Miller has lived in a number of countries, traveled extensively, and speaks 6 languages.

Join us on Saturday, June 16 at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield. Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.

Adult members: $4, or a strip of 4 tickets – $12
Adult guests: $5
Children 12 and under: $2
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

Continue Reading

May Monthly Gathering – Ike McKinnon on Society & Education

Join Ike McKinnon, Professor at UD-Mercy, former Deputy Mayor and Chief of Police of the City of Detroit, as he discusses Society and Education. Dr. McKinnon draws upon his own personal history growing up in Detroit, as a platform for explaining what is happening in American society and in its schools, and a widely held belief that our schools are not measuring up to society’s expectations. He will also analyze why public education is attacked by the media, politicians and citizens, and proposes strategies for supporting schools in the future

Isaiah “Ike” McKinnon was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1943, and moved to Detroit in 1953. At 22 Ike became a Detroit police officer. Working his way up through the ranks, he retired from the force in 1984 as an Inspector, to start his own security company. Clients included University Detroit Mercy, and the former Renaissance Center. From 1993-98, McKinnon rejoined the Detroit Police Department to serve as chief of police. When McKinnon left his position as police chief in 1998, he became a full-time professor at University of Detroit Mercy. In 2013, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan sought out McKinnon to join his transition team as deputy mayor. He served in this position until 2016. In his most recent retirement, McKinnon returned to teaching at University of Detroit Mercy.

Dr. McKinnon won an Emmy as the NBC News/Safety Consultant. He has authored three books and co-authored two others, in addition to numerous articles on crime victims. He has met six U.S. Presidents and Nelson Mandela, and has appeared on the “Today Show”, “Good Morning America”, “Oprah”, and “The History Channel.” He is a national motivational/inspirational speaker to Fortune 500 companies and schools. He earned his B.A. from Mercy College, M.A. from the University of Detroit Mercy and doctorate from Michigan State University. He is also a graduate of the FBI national Academy and the United States Secret Service School.

Join us on Saturday, May 19 at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield, for Dr. Partin’s in-depth overview of living on Mars! Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.

Adult members: $4, or a strip of 4 tickets – $12
Adult guests: $5
Children 12 and under: $2
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

Continue Reading

March Monthly Gathering – Let’s Go to Mars!

Colonizing Mars has long been the stuff of science fiction. But we are now on the threshold of making the possibility of Martian colonization a reality. Elon Musk founded SpaceX to get people to Mars. The Europeans think we should colonize the Moon first to gain experience. But before you start packing, you should consider the many challenges involved with traveling to, and living on, Mars. Challenges such as the effects of prolonged reduced gravity, cosmic rays, growing food, and more.

Our guest speaker, Dr. Dale Partin, is a teacher of astronomy at Macomb Community College, and an amateur astronomer. He has a B.S. and M.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. His work has been published in over 80 scientific journals, he has 38 patents, is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of Sigma Xi and of the American Scientific Affiliation.

Join us on Saturday, March 17 at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield, for Dr. Partin’s in-depth overview of living on Mars! Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.

Adult members: $4, or a strip of 4 tickets – $12
Adult guests: $5
Children 12 and under: $2
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

Continue Reading

February Monthly Gathering – Werner Spitz: World-Renowned Forensic Pathologist

Former Wayne County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Werner Spitz has offered his expertise on some of the most high-profile legal investigations of the century. He co-wrote a highly respected book on forensic pathology, and has often found himself in the position of criticizing the official investigations into widely publicized murders and wrongful deaths.

In 1969, Dr. Spitz testified on behalf of the parents of Mary Jo Kopechne, who died after Senator Ted Kennedy crashed a car in which she was the passenger. Years later, Spitz was called upon to re-examine the results of the investigation into John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Although Spitz agreed with the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, he said that the autopsy of Kennedy was “botched.”

Dr. Spitz went on to testify for the defense in the Casey Anthony trial, arguing that the autopsy of Anthony’s deceased child was “shoddy” and insufficient to pinpoint homicide as the cause of death. He also consulted on investigations into Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, JonBenet Ramsey’s death, and O.J. Simpson’s civil murder trial, to name but a few of his many cases.

Dr. Spitz was born in Poland and raised in Israel, where he received his medical doctorate, and began his career as a medical examiner. He moved to America in 1959. His decision to leave Israel was partly inspired by the lack of need for his chosen career path there. “In seven years in Israel, there was only one murder.” He said. “It just wasn’t the right place for a forensic pathologist.” Spitz later served as Deputy Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chief Medical Examiner for Wayne County. Today, Dr. Spitz is a professor of pathology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and an adjunct professor of pathology at the University of Windsor in Canada.

Join us Saturday February 17th at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield, to learn more about Dr. Spitz and his incredible career. Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.

Continue Reading