Beginning in the 1960s, teach-ins were held on university campuses across the United States. A teach-in was a time when the community gathered to reflect on important political realities of the day, such as the war in Indochina.
Today, we face another controversial issue that has divided our society: stem cell research. For many, it represents their best hope of healing terrible illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, juvenile diabetes, spinal injury, MS, ALS, heart disease, and other medical conditions. For others, stem cell research, when it uses embryonic cells, goes against their religious or ethical views, and they would have it banned.
Here in California, voters passed Proposition 71, the "California Stem Cell Research and Cures" Initiative, in 2004. But the proposition is mired in political controversy, and none of the funds that it allocates for research have been released.
At our "Stem Cell Teach-in" we examined the science and politics of this historically new science. The exhibits presented posters and, in some cases, printed hand-outs that go into the subject in a little more detail. Exhibitors and visitors discussed the ins and outs of the science and politcis of the research.
We may develop our exhibits further and present them to the public on another occasion. E.g. Sproul Plaza, Berkeley Farmers Market, and/or the Genetics Policy Institute conference at Stanford in early June.
List of teach-in exhibits:
Table 1. Introduction to the Science, Ethics, and Politics of Stem Cell Research (Leonard Wong)
Table 2. The Healing Potential of the Research: Spinal Cord Injury, Parkinson's, and Juvenile Diabetes (Joanna Wung)
Table 3. Current Status of the Research at UC Berkeley (Atul Saxena -- he was unable to attend the teach-in and his exhibit was not presented)
Table 4. Stem
Cell Bank -- What it is and How it Works (Laurel Barchas)
Table 5. Religious Perspectives on Stem Cell Research (Steven Lee)
Table 6. Proposition 71 and the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (Raymond Barglow)
Table 7. Stem Cell Research -- the
Politics of the California Initiative Process
Teach-in presentations and exhibits examine questions such as: