I’ve had the blessings of being able to do some groundbreaking, amazing and historic things since my 1994 transition, but what is going to take place next month is mind blowing even by those standards.
On August 11 I’ll be at the historic Chautauqua Institution as part of their Pushing Our Bodies’ Limits Chautauqua Lecture Series interviewing Janet Mock at 10:45 AM EDT from their Amphitheater stage.
So what’s the Chautauqua Institution? It’s a nonprofit 750 acre education center and summer community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state 17 miles north of Jamestown that draws over 100,000 people for its wide range of events every summer.
It was originally founded in 1874 as a training camp for Sunday School teachers but broadened its offerings in 1878 with the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) and mission to provide those who didn’t have the time or money to acquire the skills and essential knowledge of a public education.
By 1880 it had acquired the reputation of being a national forum for discussion of public issues, international relations, science and literature where the leading thinkers of that time came to discuss the issues and concerns of the day.
Some of the long list of people who have graced the Chautauqua Institution grounds have been people such as Susan B. Anthony, who argued for women’s suffrage from there in 1892.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his ‘I Hate War’ speech from here in 1936. Margaret Mead, Amelia Earhart, Thurgood Marshall, Jane Goodall, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Kurt Vonnegut are some of the people who have spoken there.
The Chautauqua Institute tradition of timely conversations by thought leaders discussing the issues and concerns of the day continues with a timely discussion on race relations and Black Lives Matter this week with Deray Mckesson.
It also is a place where dance, music,opera, theater and the visual arts also reign along with an Abrahamic Program that seeks to build positive relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims complete with services for those faiths.
In a month, I’ll get to experience that.
Even more wonderful is that on August 11, Janet Mock and I will be joining that long distinguished list of people speaking from the historic Chautauqua Institute Amphitheater stage,
And I’m so looking forward to it.