Friends Evenings 2020-21

This series of small events features award-winning authors, musicians, and other leaders in their fields. Events will take place via Zoom and are limited to 50 guests to allow for more interaction between guests and speakers.

Digital tickets are $65 for each event.

Buy tickets here

January 25, 2021, 7pm via Zoom

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Message For Our Own

Featuring Eddie S. Glaude Jr., James S. McDonnell Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Dr. Glaude is a frequent commentator on MSNBC.
Sponsored by Kiki Jamieson and Will Dove 

In Begin Again, Professor Glaude examines James Baldwin’s world and how it is reflected in the present. Like Baldwin, Glaude argues, we live in the “after times” – in Baldwin’s case, the Civil Rights Movement, and in our times, the Black Lives Matter Movement. Just as Baldwin watched America respond to the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., America has responded to the murder of George Floyd with massive protests.

Begin Again is a fierce work that combines biography and history to make an argument that we stand on the precipice of a decision about who we are as a country that will reverberate for decades.
All participants will get a copy of Begin Again.
Buy your digital ticket here

January 30, 2021, 11am via Zoom (90 minutes)

Restoring Civility and Bringing Social Justice to American Life: A virtual brunch and talk

Featuring Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama, and Ralph Nader legendary consumer advocate– named by Time, Life and Atlantic magazines as one of the 100 most influential people in American history– in conversation with Carl Mayer, who runs a national class action law firm. Special guest Andy Shallal, founder of the restaurant Busboys and Poets, will prepare dishes from Mr. Nader’s recently released cookbook.

A special event featuring four lifelong advocates for social justice: Carl Mayer will lead a conversation with Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and consumer advocate Ralph Nader as they share their vision of a more just, egalitarian and united America. Cordray’s new book, Watchdog, outlines how the bureau acted quickly to protect consumers from ill-doing by the financial services industry. Nader’s latest book is The Nader Family Cookbook, which shares the cuisine of his Lebanese upbringing, presenting both popular and lesser-known dishes and stories about how his parents taught him social justice in the kitchen. Andy Shallal, founder of Busboys and Poets, a community gathering space in Washington, DC known for its dedication to fair trade, local agriculture and political conversation featuring authors and activists, will prepare select dishes from Nader’s cookbook during this 90-minute discussion where no topic will be off limits and participants can question each speaker.

Mr. Nader will be participating via audio only; all participants will receive copies of Watchdog: How Protecting Consumers Can Save Our Families, Our Economy, and Our Democracy and Carl Mayer’s Shakedown: The Fleecing of The Garden State. Participants interested in Mr. Nader’s The Nader Family Cookbook can special order copies through Labyrinth Books (609-497-1600) or direct from the publisher.

Buy your digital ticket here

February 28, 2021, 11am via Zoom or in the Community Room at PPL

The Toni Morrison Book Club

Featuring Winnie Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson, Juda Bennett and Piper Kendrix Williams in conversation

In this startling group memoir, four friends–black and white, gay and straight, immigrant and American-born, and all professors at the College of New Jersey–use Toni Morrison’s novels as a springboard for intimate and revealing conversations about the problems of everyday racism and living whole in times of uncertainty. Tackling everything from first love and Soul Train to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, the authors take up what it means to read challenging literature collaboratively and to learn in public as an act of individual reckoning and social resistance.

All participants will get a copy of The Toni Morrison Book Club.

Buy your digital ticket here

March 21, 2021, 11am via Zoom or in the Community Room at PPL

The Next 100 Years of the Universe

Featuring James Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and 2019 Nobel Prize recipient for Physics, in conversation with Suzanne Staggs, Henry DeWolf Smyth Professsor of Physics at Princeton University
Sponsored by McCaffreys 




Be witness to a conversation between two leading scientists and colleagues discussing their revolutionary and evolutionary work of trying to understand ‘what is out there?’ With relativity passing the century mark, are the basic beliefs about the universe still valid? What is the focus for the next 100 years to further both understanding and scholarship?

Buy your digital ticket here


Dina Shaw
Melissa Grzymala
Benefit Co-Chairs

Andrea Bradley

Michelle Baxter
Julia Benedict
Allison Bloch
Sally Branon
Anne Brener
Julie Cho
Jane Fransson
Dawn Frost
Melissa Grzymala
Veronika Häusle-Kalabacos
Helen Heintz
Janie Hermann
Rupert Hinton
Seva Kramer
Beth Leman
Ruth Miller
Dana Molina
Rosalind Muir
Jane Nieman
Stephanie Oster
Jennifer Podolsky
Yamile Slebi
Christa Smith
Melanie Stein
Pam Wakefield
Wendy Wilton
Mary Wisnovsky