Welcome to the Ethical Culture Society of Silicon Valley

The Ethical Culture Society of Silicon Valley (ECSSV) is an affiliate of the American Ethical Union.  Ethical Culture is a humanistic religious, philosophical, and educational movement inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of life is working to create a more humane society.  Our focus is on how we live our lives. Our faith is in the capacity and responsibility of human beings to act in their personal relationships and in the larger community to help create a better world.


The Ethical Culture Society of Silicon Valley is a vibrant, caring community dedicated to cultivating ethical growth and action in its members and in the larger world.  We are a democratic fellowship for people seeking a rational, compassionate philosophy of life without regard to belief or nonbelief in a supreme being.

We discuss ethical dilemmas that arise in our lives and in the world around us; hold programs to learn about ourselves, each other, and the issues of the day; and seek to be engaged citizens of our nation and our world.  We collaborate with other organizations working for a more just and humane world.



Sunday Spotlight: Food Waste Heroes

Sunday, May 21, 2017           11am to 12:30pm

Neutra House, 183 Hillview Ave., Los Altos, CA 94022

Join us one Sunday each month to hear from an inspiring, active speaker who will share information about an organization working to make our community and our world a better place.  Topics run the gamut from basic needs to social justice to the environment.  We welcome you to participate not only by listening and engaging in thoughtful dialogue, but also by reveling in uplifting music.  We provide coffee, tea, and a welcoming space for inquiring minds and open hearts to learn from one another.

Our guest in May is John Loughrin, Community & Business Development Manager for OLIO, a free app that connects neighbors to reduce food waste.  This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away.  John will be sharing ideas about how collectively – one rescued cupcake, carrot or bottle of lotion at a time – we can build a more sustainable future where our most precious resources are shared, not thrown away.

The program begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m.  We’d love it if you’d stay afterward for a beverage and light refreshments and to share your thoughts.  It’s OK to just show up, but it always helps to know how many people to expect.  You can use our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or you can contact us by email or this site’s contact form .




Event dates can also be found on our calendar page



Wednesday April 19, 2017          7:30pm to 9pm

Ethics Discussion: Immigrants and Their Needs

Immigrants live among us, whether documented or not.  What are their needs as they become “at home” here, in their new home?  What are some of the issues they deal with that impact society as a whole?  What can we do to mitigate some of the problems and make the world a better place for all those who live among us?  Molly leads the discussion

Soup is served at 6:30pm, discussion starts at 7:30.  Please RSVP for location details, as this event is held at a private home.  Use our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or contact us by email or this site’s contact form .



Saturday April 22, 2017             11am to 4pm

March For Science Silicon Valley

San Jose City Hall, 200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113

Come join the Science March in San Jose!  We will gather with others at City Hall and begin marching at 11 am to Plaza de Cesar Chavez.  Show up wearing your Ethical Culture t-shirt!  There will be a festival in the plaza at noon with food, a science fair, and other family-friendly activities.

The March for Science Silicon Valley celebrates the crucial role science plays in driving our economic growth, preserving out environment, and protecting the health of our communities.  We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for policymakers to champion and fund science that upholds the common good and to advocate to evidence-based policies in the public interest at the local, state, and national levels.  This event is sponsored by March for Science Silicon Valley.



Sunday April 23, 2017          10:30am to noon

Ethical Culture Book Group

Greenmeadow Room @ Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303

Over the past few months, several Ethical Culture members have expressed an interest in starting an Ethical Culture Bookclub.  For this first meeting, the main objective is to gauge interest and decide on the first few books to read for upcoming meetings, so please bring along a few suggestions (ethics related books of course).

This probably won’t take the whole 90 minutes, so for those interested in having a discussion in the remaining time, we thought it might be nice to have a journal club (since there isn’t too much time to read a whole book between now and Sunday).  We thought perhaps this article would be a good short discussion piece:

It’s OK to just show up, but it always helps to know how many people to expect. You can RSVP via our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or contact us by email or this site’s contact form .



Wednesday April 26, 2017           7:30pm to 9pm

Video Night: A Young Poet Tells the Story of Darfur

Emtithal Mahmoud chooses poetry because it is visceral, creates awareness of our own humanity, and gives courage.  She uses poetry to convince people to hear her and see her because it is hard to convince people they deserve to be seen.  She asks: Will you witness me?  Who has the right to break the silence?  We will ask, what is our response to witnessing another? Do we deserve to be seen?  Here is a link to the video on Ted Talks.

Soup is served at 6:30pm, video starts at 7:30.  Please RSVP for location details, as this event is held at a private home.  Use our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or contact us by email or this site’s contact form .



Sunday April 30, 2017          2:30pm to 4:30pm

Silicon Valley Interreligious Council panel discussion:

I Am The Other: Countering Stereotypes, Religious Illiteracy, and Hate Crimes

In the wake of recent hate crimes against the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Sikh communities, we’ve witnessed an increase in ignorance and stereotypes that have lead to violent attacks and dangerous misrepresentations that cause great harm to minority communities.  Just in the past few months, a Sikh man in Kent, Washington was attacked, while there have been a string of anti-Semitic incidents and bomb threats to Jewish centers across the country.

Join the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) on Sunday, April 30, 2017 for a diverse interfaith panel discussion to address the important issues that are currently facing minority religious communities in the U.S.

Location: Fremont Hindu Temple and Community Center, 3676 Delaware Drive, Fremont, CA  94538.  More details can be found on the SiVIC web site .



Friday May 5, 2017           10am to noon

Friday Morning Ethics Discussion: What Is Privacy In The Internet Age?

Lyon’s Restaurant, 4233 Moorpark Ave., San Jose, CA.  95129

Your ISP “sees” everything you ever send over the internet.  Should the ISP keep more information than what is required by law?  Whom should the ISP share it with?  Is it OK to share information about a specific account, only aggregated information, or no information at all?  Should an ISP be required to get my permission before releasing any of my information?  What if the information is only sold in the aggregate?

What are the ethical issues in keeping personal information private?  Issues like transparency, consideration of interests and fairness are part of the ethical discussion.  For instance, if I tell you something about me, are you free to tell someone else?  If I tell the bank something, are they free to tell someone else?  If I buy something online, is the merchant free to tell others?  Does selling the information make a difference?  Where do you draw the line on privacy?  Ann leads the discussion. Molly hosts the meeting.

Please join this group and feel free to invite others!  Bring your unique point of view and add to the discussion, which starts around 10:30.  Please arrive early if you’d like to order food (highly recommended!).  It’s OK to just show up, but it always helps to know how many people to expect.  You can RSVP via our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or contact us by email or this site’s contact form .



Sunday May 7, 2017           4pm to 6pm

Sunday Study Session: MLK’s “The American Dream”

We all know Martin Luther King, Jr. from his civil rights work, but in his July 4, 1965 sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, he spoke about another topic near and dear to his heart: economic justice (text of the speech is here).  As we all know, this topic is all too relevant nearly 52 years later.  Let’s get together to discuss Rev. King’s views and consider what we might do to continue his fight for economic justice.  Becky will lead this discussion.

Please RSVP for location details, as this event is held at a private home.  Use our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or contact us by email or this site’s contact form .



Sunday May 14, 2017           10:30am to noon

Coffee And Conversation

Ada’s Cafe, 3700 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA   94303

This recurring event happens on the second Sunday of every month at the Cafe in front of the library at Mitchell Park Community Center.  There is no predetermined theme, just friendly and respectful conversation.  RSVP if possible so we can arrange the tables.  If it’s raining or too chilly to be out in the open, we’ll be in one of the conference rooms inside the library or on the second-floor covered balcony that overlooks the library entrance.  Look for the little blue Ethical Culture Society sign and you’ll know it’s us!

You can RSVP using our Meetup page if you have a Meetup account, or you can contact us by email or this site’s contact form .