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Northampton Neighbors launched its Speaker Series in October 2018.  Pre-COVID, we scheduled talks monthly between September and May; they were held at -- and co-sponsored by -- the Northampton Senior Center. Currently, we offer talks via ZOOM every other week. All speaker events were – and still are – free and open to anyone who would like to attend. 

Our in-person series included well attended presentations on sex and ice cream, sleep and balloons, birds and Northampton history, memory and filing systems, to name but a few. The ZOOM Speakers series has included an eclectic and entertaining mix of well-known authors talking about their books, an athlete talking about the law and celebrity, photographers and visionaries wowing us with beautiful images, an economist and hospital administrator talking about COVID's medical and financial fallouts, and those who specialize in the health of older people teaching us about how to care for others and ourselves. We are guided by a commitment to including topics of particular interest to older people and those intended for a broader audience.

We hope you’ll join us for future events in the Speaker Series. We have a great series planned through Spring 2021 and intend to continue offering lively, informative and entertaining talks remotely until we can return to in-person talks.

Send your suggestions for speakers to

NN offers Otter.AI live transcription of the event so you can read along with the spoken word during the presentation.

Read on for our next speaker, as well as a list of past speakers.
Visit our NN YouTube Channel for recordings of the NN Speaker Series since May 2020

Northampton Neighbors seeks to provide information and resources that help all our neighbors age well, in place, and with dignity.
NN does not endorse nor recommend any commercial products, processes, or services.

The primary purpose of the Speaker Series is to educate, inform, and entertain.
The views, information, or opinions expressed are those of the presenter and not necessarily those of Northampton Neighbors.

Northampton Neighbors Speaker Series Presents

America:The Country that Democracy Left Behind

by Douglas J. Amy 

Friday, February 26, 2021

3:00-4:00 PM via Zoom

Zoom Link

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 993 6788 2715
Passcode: 591001

Call 929 436 2866 to listen by phone without video 

Douglas Amy will talk about some of the issues addressed on his new popular website: SECOND-RATE DEMOCRACY: Seventeen Ways America is Less Democratic than Most Other Western Democracies. He will discuss how many of our American political institutions – like the Electoral College, the Senate, and the Supreme Court – work to undermine democracy, which political minorities and special interests benefit from this lack of democracy, and how other, more modern democracies have successfully avoided these problems.  

He will focus in particular on one of the most hidden institutional threats to our democracy: the separation of powers. Most Americans think a checks and balance system is necessary for any healthy democracy. But in fact, he argues, it diminishes our democracy by encouraging the rule of political minorities and creating a government unresponsive to the public.  That is why most other major democracies have decided they can get along just fine without a separation of powers. 

Douglas J. Amy is Professor Emeritus of Politics at Mount Holyoke College. He is a recipient of the college’s Meribeth E. Cameron Faculty Award for Scholarship in recognition of his work as a researcher and public intellectual. His primary area of research has been alternative voting systems. One of his books, Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Representation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy, won the George H. Hallett Award given by the section on Representation and Electoral Systems of the American Political Science Association in recognition of a book published that has made “a lasting contribution to the literature on representation and electoral systems.”

Amy is also the author of GOVERNMENT IS GOOD: An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution [] an innovative web project containing 22 original articles that critique the right-wing assault on government, defend the role of modern democratic government in furthering the public interest, and identify ways we can revitalize government and democracy in the United States. To date, this site has received well over 2 million visitors from dozens of countries. His second web project was launched in Seventeen Ways America is less Democratic than Other Major Western Countries and How We Can Do Better. []. The site explains why American democracy is failing, which special interests benefit from this, what we can learn from other countries, and what reforms need to be adopted.

SAVE THE DATE NN Speaker Series March 12, 2021

"mRNA, Proteins and Lipids Oh My!: Making Sense of Covid and the Vaccines" 

by Marshall Karpel

On ZOOM since May 2020

Carrie Baker-What Should We Do About the Supreme Court?
February 12, 2021

Mark Peterson-Taking Charge of Your End of Life Planning
January 21, 2021
Click on the buttons below for resources
NN SS PETERSON Prepare for your care

Clare Higgins
-Family in the Time of COVID January 8, 2021

Linda Desmond and Kathy Service-A Compassionate Care Approach for People Living with Dementia December 4, 2020

Tracy Kidder
-What I Try to Do as a Writer: Strength in What Remains November 13, 2020

Joe Gannon
-Red and Blue: Why Voting for Trump Is Not Always Hating Equality October 23, 2020

Mark Karpe
l-Like Nothing Else on Earth:Backyard Visionaries and Handmade Worlds October 9, 2020

Judy Dixon
-Facing Challenges: Racquet in Hand September 25, 2020

Katharine Baker
-My Journey: How One Woman Survived Stalin’s Gulag” by Olga Sliozberg
Translated by Katharine Baker September 11, 2020

Paul Shoul
-Photos from Here and There August 28, 2020
Dr. Rebecca Starr, Geriatrician-What I do and Why I do it August 14, 2020

Dr. Mary Young
-Aging on Your Own July 31, 2020

Judy Cockerton
-Intergenerational Living/The Treehouse Community July 17, 2020

Gerald Epstein
-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly June 19, 2020

Ellen Meeropol
-Her Sister's Tattoo June 5, 2020

Joan Marqusee
-Q&A with the CDHC CEO May 1, 2020

Visit our NN YouTube Channel for recordings of the NN Speaker Series since May 2020

Live at the Northampton Senior Center: 2018-February, 2020 

Cheri Cross
-Getting it Together

Tom Reney
-Why Duke Ellington Matters

Jonah Keane
-5 Years of Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary: A Natural Gem is Our Own Back Yard

Lu Stone
-Over or Under? What Would Downtown Northampton Look Like Today if the City had Lost its Five-Year Battle with the Railroads in the 1890's

Wendy Sinton & Diane E. Liebert
-Sojourner Truth in 19th Century Florence

Jane Fleishman
-I’ll Have What They’re Having: Sexuality and Aging

Mirabai Bus
h-Walking Each Other Home; Conversations on Loving and Dying

John Sinton
-A Walk and A Talk: Mill River and its role in the formation of Northampton

Rebecca Spencer
-Sleep on It! Why We Sleep and How to Get More of It

Greg Saulmon & Mark Karpel-
Up in the Air: Adventures in Urban Bird-Watching and Cluster Ballooning

Nina Kleinberg
-The Making of Casablanca: Film School in 90 Minutes

Brad Crenshaw
-Aging and Memory

Steve Herrell
-Ice Cream and Me