RRUUC’s Contemporary Issues Forum (Coffee, Controversy & Conversation – CC&C) has been informing our members and guests for the past 35 years with over 30 programs per season. The weekly programs often focus on social justice issues, but also include an eclectic range of topics including foreign relations, U.S. security, state and federal government policy, art, history, nature and more. The weekly CC&C programs are held mid-Sep. through May at 10:25 – 11:10 am (between worship services.)

February 23

“Give Me Life!”– The Road to Falstaff
Edward Gero, Assoc. Prof. of Theater, George Mason University

Actor Ed Gero, a veteran of over 30 roles in Shakespeare’s plays, had never played Falstaff, as he did in the summer of 2019 for DC’s Folger Shakespeare Theatre King Henry IV- Part I. Having seen Stacy Keach, Ted van Griethuysen and others play Falstaff, and not until then having imagined himself doing it, Ed explored the obstacles, challenges, and opportunities in playing this beloved character. He will discuss how he thought to vary and enhance that role. Ed will also discuss what paving that path of playing the evolving Falstaff has meant in his own professional and personal evolution.

March 1

Credit: API, 2004

Insights into Restrictions on the Media
Hamit Bilici, Editor-in Chief of Zaman News Media

Hamit Bilici will speak about the importance of free media, from the perspective of losing objective media and other freedoms in Turkey. Bilici was Editor-in Chief of Turkey’s largest media outlets: Zaman (Time/Age) and the English version Today’s Zaman. After an attempted coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration shut down news outlets and arrested the editor and hundreds of journalists, for being critical of the government. Bilici endured a sham trial and is in exile in the US. Turkey, once a model of democracy in the Muslim world., now accounts for a third of all journalists imprisoned worldwide.

March 8

No Forum.

March 15

Teaching Peaceful Conflict Resolution to Kids
Linda Ryden and Cheryl Dodwell, Peace of Mind

Linda Ryden and Cheryl Dodwell will discuss the importance of equipping our children to resolve conflicts peacefully, regulate their emotions, speak up in the face of injustice and move through the world with compassion and courage.  They will present their innovative Peace of Mind program which integrates mindfulness, neuroscience, and conflict resolution for students in elementary and middle school. Come and learn about how mindfulness and neuroscience can transform schools and make our world a more peaceful place.

March 22

Monitoring and Reporting Hate Incidents
Sgt. Kathy Estrada, Montgomery County Police Dept.

Part of Sergeant Kathy Estrada’s work with the Montgomery County Police Department is community engagement. She has a seat on the county’s Committee Against Hate Violence; at each meeting, Sgt. Estrada reports on any hate violence incidents that have occurred in the county during the previous month. She also makes presentations throughout the county about community policing, active shooters, and hate & violence issues. Sgt. Estrada will discuss what kinds of incidents happen in the county, how the police monitor occurrences, and how the police report these incidents to the state and federal governments.

March 29

Race, Class and Care: Paid Leave
Rachel Mannino, Family Values @ Work

At some point, families will need paid leave and most people have none. Rachel Mannino will speak about Family Values @ Work, a national network of coalitions in 27 states, including MD and DC, working to establish paid leave at the state and federal levels. With bipartisan support for paid family and medical leave and proposals on the table, she will discuss the key issues shaping the policies that matter to working families in the US and what you can do to ensure that the most inclusive policies become law.