The Merrin Moral Voices program promotes the importance of raising a moral voice in our society, an idea that is deeply rooted in Jewish values and culture. Each year, the series addresses a single social justice issue through programming, film, discussion, and social activism connected to that theme. Our goal is to expose students to exemplars, regular women and men who have done extraordinary things in their communities. Their courage to raise a moral voice brings attention to injustices around the world and inspires us to take action ourselves.
This year, our theme focuses on Homelessness in America. We aim to educate ourselves and the Tufts campus at large on the issue from a variety of perspectives: telling the personal stories of people experiencing homelessness, highlighting the public health issues associated with homelessness, emphasizing policy education related to homelessness, and actively volunteering in the Medford/Somerville community to fight homelessness.
Moral Voices puts on a variety of diverse programs over the course of the academic year. In February, we will be bringing Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelley to campus, producers of the documentary The Homestretch, to host a screening/Q&A of their film. The Homestretch tells the personal stories three teenagers – Kasey, Anthony, and Roqueas they brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school, and life alone on the streets as they try to build a brighter future. Because the documentary is told through the lens of young people much like ourselves, we hope will walk away with a deeper sense of personal connection to the issue of homelessness in America.
A still from "Homestretch," a documentary which will be shown as a part of this year's Moral Voices program. Trailer can be found here.
We will also be bringing Dr. James (Jim) O’Connell to campus this Spring to speak about his recent work. Dr. O’Connell is the co-founder of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which is now the largest free-standing treatment center for the homeless in the country. He’s been dubbed “The Saint of Boston” for his work helping the local community. Dr. O’Connell will speak to speak to the public health side of the issue of homelessness, engaging Tufts students who are interested in medicine or public health, or those interested in getting involved from a policy standpoint.
Each year in a keynote address, activists show the importance of raising a moral voice in our society. Through the generosity and vision of the Heyman-Merrin family, the series encourages understanding and activism for the most important social issues of our time.
The 2015-2016 Moral Voices Keynote speaker will be Sister Mary Scullion. Sister Scullion is the co-founder of Project H.O.M.E, a nationally recognized organization that provides supportive housing, employment, education and health care to enable chronically homeless and low-income persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. She was also named by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009.”
For information about how to get involved with Moral Voices, join the planning committee, or general information about resources on homelessness in America, please get in touch with Carl Haber, Erica Tooch, or Itamar Ben-Aharon (contact info listed in"Contacts" sidebar).