A Talkback Series


 Professor Kathryn V. Johnston

Professor Kathryn V. Johnston

Galactic Cannibalism

Sunday, 6/10 at 3pm
Galactic Cannibalism with Kathryn V. Johnston, Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University

Galaxies! Images of these objects are awe-inspiring - spirals of billions of stars, along with the gas and dust from which stars form, spinning slowly in the sky. Yet these majestic objects are thought to have quite violent histories. We'll take a look at why astronomers think galaxies are cannibals and what this says about the future evolution of our own galaxy - the Milky Way.

Kathryn V. Johnston is a Professor in the Astronomy Department at Columbia University, interested in understanding how our Galaxy formed. She decided to become an astrophysicist after realizing that her first career choice as an astronaut would not even get her beyond the solar system – this was a way of reaching the stars without ever having to leave the planet. Albert Einstein provided some inspiration – the idea of dreaming up answers to how the Universe worked using nothing but your imagination is pretty spectacular. Her training includes a degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz.


A Talkback with NoStigmas

Monday, 6/11 at 8pm
Mental Health with Julia Thorncroft and Anne Mikusinski
Moderated by Playwright Charise Greene

Julia Thorncroft, a mental health advocate and Ally Leader, joined NoStigmas in March 2018. Her first brush with mental illness began at age nine when she lost her mother to suicide. As a marketing and theater professional, she dreams of operating her own arts organization devoted to diversity, inclusion, and using art as a vehicle for change.

Anne Mikusinski is a writer and mental health advocate who believes that everyone has their own story to tell and their own way of making it through each day. She feels strongly that promoting education about issues and raising mental health awareness are vital in helping us all to understand each other better and to live together peacefully.

NoStigmas provides mental health support for peers, by peers. Community-within-community support networks built by and for those whose lives are affected by mental illness and suicide. We are steadfast in eliminating the stigmas surrounding mental health  supporting the creation of peer support mental health communities everywhere.


A Talkback with Moms Demand Action

Saturday, June 16 at 3pm
Preventing Gun Violence with Sonni Mun
Moderated by Playwright Charise Greene

Sonni Mun, NY State Membership Lead for Moms Demand Action, will join playwright Charise Greene for a talkback event on preventing gun violence. Ms. Mun will discuss her personal experiences as a physician and mother, living in a city with one of the highest gun violence rates in the country. She will also talk about her organization, Moms Demand Action, and the many successes they've had passing gun safety legislation at the state level. Ms. Mun will outline concrete actions which people can take, current bills that they're focused on, and the best ways to interact with one's state and federal representatives about these bills. After this very important discussion, we hope the audience leaves with the knowledge and specifics on how they can each make a difference in preventing gun violence in their own communities.

Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to reduce drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms. Stay-at-home mom Shannon Watts founded moms Demand Action on December 15, 2012, in response to the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The organization quickly flourished into a leading force for gun violence prevention, with chapters in all 50 states and a powerful grassroots network of moms that has successfully effected change at the local, state and national level. In December 2013, Moms Demand Action partnered with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to unite a nationwide movement of millions of Americans working together to change the game and end the epidemic of gun violence that affects every community. Our nonpartisan grassroots movement has grown to include a chapter in every state across the country. We are educating, motivating, and mobilizing supporters to take action that will result in stronger laws and policies to save lives. We are facing a public health crisis: seven American children or teens are shot and killed every day. For too long, the gun lobby has dominated the conversation about gun violence. American families are being destroyed and we have had enough; we will no longer stand by and let elected officials, corporate leaders and other influential voices turn their back on sensible gun laws and policies. We are organizing to apply pressure that will result in stronger, sensible gun laws and policies that will protect our children and families. The momentum is with us, and we are winning.