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Some past presenters from our Virtual Speaker Series
have allowed us to record their presentations.
Those recordings are available to the public here.


Stay Connected and Informed —
Join Northwest Neighbors Village’s Virtual Speaker Series

Northwest DC is home to numerous dynamic, informed individuals.  Several have offered to share their expertise and insights in a series of talks. Plan to join us for one or all of these discussions, which are designed to engage and inform you. NNV’s Speaker Series is being offered free of charge to the community.

Click on the title of the program in which you are interested to register. Once registered, you will receive an email with the link to attend the day before the program.

If you or someone you know would like be a speaker in the future, please email Judie Fien-Helfman at

Thursday, October 22, 1 pm
All Stirred Up: How suffragists used food to win the battle for the vote and what women’s suffrage means for us today

Speaker Laura Kumin, local food blogger and author, brings the forgotten suffragists to life. These women may not have paraded or picketed for the right to vote, but they were soldiers for suffrage, using cookbooks and food to win their battle. You may know about the suffrage movement, but do you know about suffrage cookbooks or the suffrage lunchrooms? Did you take home ec in school “back in the day”? Find out what recipes the suffragists liked and how their food related to the home economics movement. Then find out what suffrage means in 2020 and how the legacy of suffrage includes Amy Coney Barrett and Susan Collins as well as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Harris.

Laura is the author of two books that combine history and culture with cooking, illuminating the little-known corners of a historical period or movement: All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food, and the Battle for Women’s Right to Vote and The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating & Entertaining in Hamilton’s World. Both contain original recipes and adapted versions that she created so that readers can enjoy dishes from those periods.

At her food blog, Mother Would Know, Laura encourages readers to become confident and creative home cooks. Her blogposts provide tips on food safety, explanations concerning differences between various types of ingredients, and other useful nuggets of information, as well as recipes. Laura’s articles have appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, the Huffington Post and the Jewish Food Experience. She has done podcasts and programs for a variety of audiences and groups, including the National Press Club, the Woodrow Wilson House, Tudor Place, and the Alice Paul Institute.

Laura and her husband, Kevin Mulshine, live in NW DC. Kevin is an active volunteer with NNVDC. Learn more about Laura at her author website:

Thursday, November 5, 11 am
Separation of Church and State and Racial Justice: A Critical Nexus
Speaker - Rachel Laser, is the first female and non-Christian president in Americans United for Separation of Church and State's 74-year history. She became president and CEO in February 2018. Rachel is a lawyer, advocate and strategist who has dedicated her career to making our country more inclusive. In her position at Americans United, Rachel oversees the organization’s work to protect freedom of conscience for all and ensure religion is not used to justify discrimination. Prior to coming to AU, Rachel worked as an educator on white privilege and racism and held positions as deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, director of the Culture Program at Third Way, and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Rachel is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School. She is a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Rachel will discuss our country’s longstanding relationship between religious freedom and racism, religious freedom’s misuse to advance a white Christian nationalist agenda, and what we can do to stop the abuse of an ideal that should make us all more, and not less, free.

Monday, November 9, 11 am
Peering into the Future: A Post-Election Analysis

Speaker John Lawrence will discuss the outcomes of both the presidential and congressional elections. If we know enough, John will also talk about the state legislative level since much reapportionment activity will happen there.

John A. Lawrence served for 38 years as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives, the last 8 as Chief of Staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of California’s Washington Center since 2013.

His articles on politics have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Hill, and many other publications. He is a weekly contributor on the XM Sirius radio program “POTUS.” He blogs on Congress and politics at DOMEocracy.

Upon leaving Capitol Hill in February 2013, Speakers John A. Boehner and Pelosi conferred on him the John W. McCormack Award for Excellence honoring his  dedication to the House and bipartisanship.

He is the author of THE CLASS OF 74: Congress After Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship (2018) (Available at the DC Library or from Politics & Prose), which Kirkus Review called “an essential work of congressional history. He is currently working on a history of the rise and fall of congressional Democrats in the Bush-Obama era based on 9,000 pages of notes.

He is also the author of several published Sherlock Holmes pastiches that feature actual historical events. His short story, “The Adventure of the Purloined Talisman,” appears in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, vol. XXI (2020) (Available from Politics & Prose).

Thursday, November 19, 11 am
Hurricanes: Past, Present and Future

Speaker - Dr. D. James Baker, the longest-serving Administrator of the National Oceanic and  Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (1993-2001), will recap the 2020 hurricane season and use examples of notable hurricanes from the past to explain what we know and don’t know now about predicting their path and strength. He will conclude with a discussion of what we can expect in the future as climate change provides a more energetic context for these disastrous events. Dr. Baker appeared on CNN during last hurricane season chastising President Trump for a baseless alteration of the predicted track of hurricane Dorian.

Dr. Baker trained as a physicist, practiced as an oceanographer, and over his long career has held leadership positions in academia, non-profits and foundations, and the U.S. government. Among these are as President of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia’s Natural History Museum, and Dean of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He has advised the United Nations through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, World Meteorological Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization. He was awarded the Vikram Sarabhai Medal by the Government of India for “outstanding contributions to space research in developing countries,” and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.  He is the author of the book Planet Earth: The View from Space, published by Harvard University Press.  He holds a B.S. in physics from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University, and three honorary degrees. He is currently helping developing countries monitor landscape use and protect their rainforests by providing technical assistance and access to satellite data.

Dr. Baker lives in Northwest Washington, DC with his wife, Emily

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