Man and woman with mask heads

Henrietta Duterte Scholarship Awarded

In 2020 The Order of the Good Death partnered with the Community College of Baltimore County to create the Henrietta Duterte Endowment Fund to provide funding for Black women to study Mortuary Science.

The 2022 Henrietta Duterte Scholarship was awarded to Jules Tetlow, a student in CCBC’s Mortuary Science Program, who is currently working as  an apprentice at West Haven Funeral Home in Maryland. Tetlow is passionate about building her skills in extreme restoration and reconstruction work saying, “Everyone deserves to say goodbye to their loved ones and if I can be there to help guide those who have been left behind, my life will always be fulfilled.” Tetlow will be honored at a reception at CCBC in May 2023.

The Order Launches Public Education Campaign About Possible Changes to the Funeral Rule

The Order started 2023 with a campaign to inform consumers that the Federal Trade Commission was soliciting the public’s comments about updating and strengthening the Funeral Rule and how it could impact them.

The Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to provide consumers with prices if requested in-person or by phone, to include other forms of communication like email, and websites. Since the Funeral Rule was created in the 1980s it doesn’t include modern forms of communication like emails and texting, or websites. Consumers can potentially save thousands of dollars on funeral costs by shopping around and comparing prices, however the FTC’s 2020 review found that over 60% of funeral homes had little to no pricing information on their websites. This update would not only be beneficial to everyone, but it has the potential to improve access for disabled, low income, and non-English speaking communities, as well as families planning funerals out-of-state.

The Order created educational content for use on its social media platforms, and created a step-by-step guide for consumers to navigate the FTC’s commenting process, as well as providing guidance on effective commenting.

Nationwide Volunteer Program Launched to Educate General Public About Their Rights and Choices in Death

The Order has launched a community outreach and education program spanning the U.S. and Canada. Volunteers work together to research end-of-life rights and options in their geographic location and then host free public events to educate their communities. Attendees learn about consumer rights, emerging sustainable choices like aquamation and composting, and more.

This volunteer effort is intended to reach small communities to offer education and resources that community members may not know about or otherwise know how to access. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the volunteer page.

Louisiana LGBTQ+ End of Life Guide

Good Death Fellow Wake Launches Louisiana LGBTQ+ End of Life Guide

While many are unprepared for the issues that attend the end-of-life, the LGBTQ+ community can be even more at risk of experiencing discrimination and disenfranchisement. To address these issues Wake, a community death care organization based in New Orleans that was among the first to be selected for a Good Death Fellowship from The Order of the Good Death, has created the Louisiana LGBTQ+ End of Life Guide.

The guide walks the reader through the basics of end-of-life decisions: how to be sure your wishes will be respected if you can no longer live independently, how to make sure they are respected after you die, how to legally formalize the role of your designated representative, and so forth. Personal stories of how the guide is helping people plan was recently covered in The Washington Post.

The Order, in partnership with Wake board member and Funeral Director, Ezra Salter who spearheaded the creation of the guide, are exploring ways to expand the guide to all 50 states.

Death in the Afternoon

Order of the Good Death Launches Season Three of Their Podcast Death in the Afternoon

The Order has reformatted their popular podcast, Death in the Afternoon, downloaded over 1.5 million times, to feature conversations with people in the death space who are actively working toward solutions that address problems in death care pertaining to sustainability, affordability, and equity at the end-of-life. Current episodes cover advocacy-focused issues like human composting legislation, green burial regulations, how starting a green burial ground, and the gaps in mortuary science education.

Season Three Guests include:

  • Katrina Spade, Founding Order Member and the creator behind the process of human composting, who provided listeners with inside look at the legislation efforts to legalize composting in states across the U.S.
  • Funeral Directors Joél Maldonado and Ezra Salter address serious gaps regarding race and gender in what is taught to  mortuary science students, and if they will be adequately prepared for the reality of working in the death industry.
  • Cat Warren, author and cadaver dog trainer and handler who has recently been working with dogs and communities to locate and protect hidden Black and Indigenous burial grounds in the U.S.

Une Bonne Mort

Good Death Fellow A Sacred Passing Hosts Fourth Annual Conference

Community death care and education nonprofit, A Sacred Passing hosted their fourth annual Une Bonne Mort Conference in Seattle, Washington on April 21st. Organizers were awarded a grant from the Fund For Liberation, which allowed A Sacred Passing to waive attendance fees to the conference; a gesture that helps the nonprofit to realize their value of providing communities with access to care and education.

Programming centered on conversations about access, systematically marginalized humans, autonomy, and community in end-of-life care. Speakers included full spectrum doula, Davinah Simmons, and hospice and palliative medicine specialist Hope Wechkin, MD.

Lone Star – Choose Aquamation

The Order Has Partnered With  Live Free, Die Free to Provide Texans With An Eco-Friendly Option to Cremation

The Order has recently partnered with Live Free, Die Free an organization that is working to expand sustainable death care choices to Texans beginning with Bill SB 105 which was filed by Senator Nathan Johnson (District 16, Dallas County). This bill would clarify the legality of alkaline hydrolysis (aka aquamation), a greener alternative to cremation.