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 to Be a Panelist at the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule Workshop
The Federal Trade Commission will be hosting a series of panels with leading funeral experts regarding the proposed updates to the Funeral Rule on September 7, 2023. The Rule, a regulation that protects consumers purchasing funeral goods and services, has gone unchanged since its creation in the 1980s. Proposed changes regarding requiring funeral homes to provide pricing on websites, clarifying language about embalming, and wether to include “new” forms of disposition such as green burial, aquamation, and human composting.
Order Executive Sarah Chavez will be speaking about this historic piece of regulation alongside fellow Founding Order Members, Katrina Spade of Recompose, and Tanya Marsh from Wake Forest University School of Law at the workshop on September 7th. The event will be live-streamed.
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. The FTC will be hosting a public Funeral Rule Workshop on September 7, 2023 to seek input on the proposed changes.
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.
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.
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.
Order of the Good Death Launches Death Legislation and Advocacy Hub and Newsletter
The Order has created a new section on their website-a hub for all things death legislation, advocacy, and grassroots organizing that aims to protect and expand people’s ability to have a good death. This expansion includes:
–Calls to Action – An overview of the Order’s legislative efforts, ways people can support, and updates on each issue’s status.
-Supporting Compost Legislation – For the latest news about legalizing human composting across the U.S. and ways for advocates to be involved.
–Legislative Advocacy News – All the latest legislation and advocacy news and events. From efforts to protect Black burial grounds to landmark court cases that could affect the future of death doulas, you’ll find it here.
–How a Death Bill Becomes a Law – Have you ever wondered how a new death law, like human composting, goes from idea to practice? We take you through the process step-by-step in this primer.
The Order has also launched a new, free, newsletter, The Death Positive Advocate for activists working to create a more sustainable, equitable, and meaningful future of death through funeral reform, legislation, and community care. The newsletter will publish four times a year, with occasional special action edition alerting activists to specific calls to action that require a rapid response. These urgent requests typically happen in relation to a Bill we’re working on, an upcoming protest, or other issue that requires action.
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.