May

2019 Useful Dates

  • Asian American History Month
  • May 2 National Day of Reason (first Thursday)
  • May 3 World Press Freedom Day
  • May 5 Anniversary of Town of Greece V. Galloway
  • May 15 International Day of Families
  • May 16 International Day of Living Together in Peace
  • May 17 International Day Against Homophobia
  • May 27 Memorial Day (last Monday)
  • May 31 World No-Tobacco Day

Focus for May

The National Day of Reason is held on the first Thursday in May (in parallel with the National Day of Prayer) to continue our Founders’ efforts to keep religion and government separate while ensuring that reason is the basis for public policy. The National Day of Reason also serves as an alternative to the National Day of Prayer, during which government officials at the federal, state, and local level ask their constituents to join them in sectarian prayer. Not only do government officials use National Day of Prayer to participate in an egregious violation of the separation between church and state, but they also alienate millions of humanists like you and me and others who look to reason—not prayer—to solve problems.

Activities

Ask your congresspeople to disavow the National Day of Prayer
“Will you represent all of your constituents–religious and non-religious, theist and atheist–by not supporting a Day of Prayer, and instead supporting inclusive solutions to the problems our state faces?”

Invite speakers or hold discussions on local “unreasonable laws” (examples below) and what can be done to counter them

  1. Laws which allow for parents to exempt their children from vaccination requirements.
  2. Laws which allow for Americans to discriminate against other Americans for religious reasons, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  3. Laws which prohibit discussion of climate change by state officials.

Get a Day of Reason Proclamation in your state/city/town and encourage your legislators to make statements and/or resolutions

WHEREAS, the application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth, improving conditions within the universe, and cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interactions among people and their environments, and

WHEREAS, those who wrote the Constitution of the United States of America, the basic document for governing the affairs of humankind within the United States, based it upon principles delineated within the philosophies distinguishing the historical Age of Reason, and

WHEREAS, most citizens of the United States purport to value reason and its application, and

WHEREAS, it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to promote the development and application of reason

NOW, THEREFORE, I [name, title] hereby proclaim Thursday, the 2nd day of May, 2019 a DAY OF REASON
and I encourage all citizens, residents and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to the resolution of human problems and for the welfare of humankind.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I hereunto set my hand and cause the Seal of [government] to be herein affixed.

Education – Recommended Books & Movies

Social Media Toolkit

Hashtags: #NationalDayOfReason #NDoR #reason #DayofReason
Quotes:
“Reason is a fundamental tenant that shaped this nation’s constitution, upon which America’s founders established our most cherished freedoms.” ― Roy Speckhardt

“The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.” ― Robert Green Ingersoll

For graphics and the latest news on the National Day of Reason, visit nationaldayofreason.org.

Humanist Celebrant Training in Los Angeles – June 22, 2019

The American Humanist Association Center for Education is offering an on-site training for individuals interested in becoming Humanist Celebrants and current celebrants who wish to build skills and knowledge for their celebrant practice. Register Here Today!

Saturday, June 22, 10am-4pm Performing Life Ceremonies

University of Southern California
University Religious Center
835 W 34th St., Rm. 205
Los Angeles, CA 90089

  • Learn how to prepare unique & inspiring humanist wedding ceremonies
  • Care for individuals nearing the end of life & support their families
  • Gain understanding of how humanists celebrate life events & milestones
  • Understand how to give proper local meeting invocations

Participants will receive supporting materials to begin (or add to) their personal library of resources i.e. sample ceremonies, suggested readings, creative ideas.

Note: The AHA Center for Education trains celebrants and The Humanist Society endorses celebrants, enabling them to perform ceremonies. This training will inform you how to get endorsed but will not endorse you.

Register Here

Program Cost: $85

A full refund will be provided if cancellation notice is given 15 days in advance of the training. No refunds will be made thereafter.

Trainers

Kathy Diedrich holds credentials as a Humanist Celebrant and a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant. She earned certificates from the Celebrant Foundation and Institute in Foundations of Celebrancy, Weddings, Funerals, and Ceremonies for Children and Families. Since 2010, she has performed over 250 ceremonies, writing each one to meet the needs and wishes of her clients. Kathy has offered weddings, memorials, naming ceremonies, and coming of age ceremonies. While the demand for secular services came as somewhat of a surprise, Kathy is happy to provide custom, meaningful ceremonies throughout southeastern Minnesota, and to often be the first face of Humanism for her clients. Before becoming a full-time celebrant, Kathy was a programmer and project manager at IBM for 28 years.

April

2019 Useful Dates

  • April 1941 Founding of American Humanist Association
  • National Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • April 7 World Health Day
  • April 7-13 National Library Week
  • April 12 National Day of Silence
  • April 13 Thomas Jefferson’s birthday
  • April 18 Ask an Atheist Day
  • April 22 Earth Day
  • April 26 Arbor Day

Focus for April

Humanists recognize that we have one life to live and only one planet to live on, therefore we must ensure that we sustain the world around us for all living beings and address our most dangerous threat: climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels, water shortages, increased severity of storms, exposure to toxins, lack of affordable nutritious food in every community, and so much more become worse as our politicians ignore climate change and deny that it’s human-driven. Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that climate change is real and human induced, and the consensus is that we must stabilize global temperatures at the two degree Celsius target to prevent dangerous impacts to humans, flora, and fauna. The consequences of our actions—and inaction—regarding the destruction of our environment for ourselves and future generations mandates a naturalistic social responsibility inherent to humanist values. See AHA resolution on climate change.

Activities

Green Your Group
Whether you meet in someone’s home, a community center, or have your own building, there are lots of ways to make your gatherings more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Replace one-time use plastic materials (like utensils, cups, bags) with kitchenware you can clean or compost. Recommend attendees use pubic transportation and/or encourage shared rides to events. Try to cut down on printing paper and take advantage of online communications methods.

Postcard Writing Party
Visit House.gov/Representatives or Senate.gov/senators/contact to find your legislators and write to inform them of climate change.

Clean Your Community
Organize a service project to clean up garbage locally. Consider a street, highway, park, or stream clean up activity to help your environment prosper.

Education – Recommended Books & Movies

Join Earth Day 2019 theme to Protect Our Species
The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by climate change. The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we demand immediate action.

Social Media Toolkit

Hashtags: #HEREforClimate #ClimateActionNow
Quotes:
“Being a humanist should suggest that we recognize the responsibility to maintain the earth as an interesting and wonderful place to live—its plant and animal species, it waters, ecosystems, and its air need to be preserved, not extinguished or turned into junk piles, toxic dumps, or deforested wastelands. And we need to make the world a better place for ourselves, for future generations, and for all of life as we know it.” ― Roy Speckhardt, AHA Executive Director

“For way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything to fight the climate crisis, but we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer. We are striking because we have done our homework and they have not.” — Greta Thunberg, Climate Change Activist

Climate Justice: A Better Future for Us All | Sat. May 18 in MN

Our next Open Lecture Series, Climate Justice: A Better Future for Us All, will build a narrative on the human right to a safe and habitable environment, and the challenges posed by over consumption and a rapidly industrializing world. Panel members will share stories and creative solutions to address the degradation of our environment and the inequalities within our communities.

RSVP on Facebook.


Join us at First Unitarian Society (900 Mount Curve, Minneapolis, MN 55403) Saturday, May 18th, 10am-4pm.

10am – 12:30pm Keynote Speakers (see below)
12:30pm – 2pm Lunch (cash donations appreciated at the door)
2pm – 3pm Q&A with Keynote Speakers
3pm – 4pm iMatter Youth Panel
This event will be videotaped and available online under Open Lecture Series.

The onslaught of the 21st century has brought enormous development, globalization and economic expansion to our world. Unfortunately, that rapid development has come with a massive environmental cost: rising temperatures and sea levels, water shortages, increased severity of storms, exposure to toxins, lack of affordable nutritious food in every community, and so much more. Global environmental degradation affects everyone, but it affects people of color, the global poor, Indigenous citizens and other marginalized groups most acutely. These disenfranchised populations are often hit the hardest by climate injustice, as they lack the resources and political power to combat its grave consequences.

RSVP on Facebook.

Keynote Speakers

Bailey Webster is the Food Hub Director for the Hmong American Farmers Association. Bailey has been involved in various aspects of organic and sustainable agriculture for over a decade. She has a BS in Horticultural Science from the University of Minnesota, and has worked on several non-profit and for-profit vegetable farms. She ran her own farm for two years before working for the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) as an events coordinator from 2017-18. She lives on a small farm in Wisconsin where she grows garlic as a weekend farmer.

Ben Passer, Fresh Energy’s Director of Energy Access and Equity, directs Fresh Energy’s work to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota’s energy system, and also supports the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. He joined Fresh Energy as a Policy Associate in May 2015. Ben’s previous experience includes legal clerkships with the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Honeywell International, and internships with Governor Mark Dayton and Senator John Marty. Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law. He is a member of the Minnesota Bar.

Catherine Fleming has been an IT professional, a business owner, a real estate developer, a social worker, a mother, a wife and a social and economic activist in some form or fashion, for most of her life. A native of Georgia who grew up in NY/NJ, a job assignment at Ameriprise brought Catherine to MN and ultimately she decided to make it her home. Her involvement with the environment and climate change initially came via her relationship with Project Sweetie Pie, a grass-roots organization focused on urban farming, youth development,access to healthy foods for all and economic development. Catherine sits on or is a member of many environmental groups. She is the District D MPOSC Commissioner via the Met Council and Co-Chair of the Blue Line Bottineau light rail extension CAC. Catherine is a Board member of the Hennepin History Museum and a Board Member of MICAH (Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing. Catherine is a member of the City of Minneapolis’ Green Zone Task Force and the Environmental Justice Coordinating Council. Catherine is a proud northside Minneapolis resident.

Mysti Babineau serves as MN350’s Climate Justice Organizer, leading the Climate Majority Project and coordinating the work of the Policy Action Team. As an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation, Mysti was inspired by the events at Standing Rock and has since volunteered her time to support indigenous-led resistance to the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. In addition to her work at MN350 she serves as Honor the Earth’s legislative liaison to the Indigenous and People of Color Caucus in the Minnesota State Legislature. She is eager to help MN350 build its political power and build an inclusive climate movement with the leadership of people of color, immigrants and indigenous people.

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas is the General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, a community energy co-op based in Minneapolis that develops affordable community solar gardens that help families reduce their energy bills through solar at no upfront cost and advances workforce equity for communities of color. Timothy has a background in energy democracy organizing and social enterprise. Timothy also co-founded Grand Aspirations, which supports teams of youth innovators creating green economic opportunity for their communities, and helped co-convene Community Power, a Minnesota coalition which has secured the nation’s first city-utility Clean Energy Partnership in Minneapolis.

Vishnu Laalitha Surapaneni is a practicing internal medicine physician from India with a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She did her residency at Case Western Reserve University Hospital and currently works as an assistant professor in the department of general internal medicine at the University of Minnesota. She is a board member of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, a member on the steering committee for 100% Minnesota campaign and a member of Health Professionals for Healthy Climate. She divides her time between patient care, teaching students about how climate change impacts health and advocating for environmentally sound policies. In her time in Baltimore, she testified for the Maryland Department of Environment on environmental justice impacts of a local incinerator. She was also part of a campaign that worked to pass landmark climate legislation to limit crude oil trains passing through Baltimore city. Dr. Surapaneni is an assistant professor in the department of general internal medicine at the University of Minnesota. She is a member on the steering committee for 100% Minnesota campaign and an executive member of Health Professionals for Healthy Climate. In Minnesota, she was invited to give health expert testimony at the State Capitol. She is currently working on clean energy and electric transportation legislation.

Youth Panel: Activists from iMatterYouth & Climate Generation

Ana Martinez has been involved in the climate movement since elementary school. Ana grew up in Mexico for most of her life, spent four years in Panama, and moved to Minnesota last summer. She is currently a freshman at Edina High School, and a member of her school’s environmental club. Ana has worked on initiatives in her school and community to raise awareness about the climate crisis and promote sustainability in her community.

Katie Christiansen has worked with St. Louis Park students and community members for nearly two years, pushing her city to implement a Climate Action Plan. Last summer, Katie served as part of the core group that founded MN Can’t Wait, a youth-led climate advocacy organization that recently released the MN Green New Deal bill. A senior at St. Louis Park High School, Katie has had the amazing opportunity to watch and lead as youth in Minnesota and around the country push for real action to fight climate change and create a livable future for ourselves and our children.

Lia Harrel is the founder and leader of the Minnetonka Climate Initiative, a coalition partnered with iMatter that is working with the City of Minnetonka to develop a climate action plan for the community. Lia helps plan and lead workshops and summits on various climate justice issues as a core member of Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN). Lia is an organizer for MN Can’t Wait, which recently introduced the MN Green New Deal, and she excited to pursue an education in environmental policy at Claremont McKenna College next year.

Shahad Geer is the Partnership Director for the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike working to engage schools, community centers, and environmental groups to participate in strikes, marches, and demonstrations for climate justice. A sophomore at Roosevelt High School in south Minneapolis, Shahad is working to improve her school’s recycling system as a member of the Roosevelt High Earth Club. She hopes to pursue an education in environmental science and social work to because a full-time environmental and social justice activist.

Tiger Worku is a community organizer in the Seward Neighborhood of Minneapolis, and recently co-authored Minnesota’s first ever youth-led MN Green New Deal bill. A junior in Minneapolis’s South High School, Tiger is passionate about diversity in the environmental movement.

 

Moderators

Larry Kraft, Keynote Panel
Larry Kraft is on the Core Team at iMatter, an organization dedicated to supporting youth leaders who care deeply about necessary and just climate action to step into their power. For the past four years, iMatter’s Program has been helping increasing numbers of youth leaders around the country push their local governments for aggressive policy action. He left a successful 25 year career in high tech to focus on climate change and supporting young people.

Anya Steinberg, Youth Panel
Anya Steinberg is a rising junior at Colorado College where she majors in environmental science and minors in race, ethnicity, and migration studies. Anya has worked as a program facilitator at iMatter Youth for almost a year, and has found empowering youth to take action on the climate crisis and working in local government to be some of the most fulfilling experiences of her life. When she’s not fighting for climate justice, Anya likes to ski, read good books, and journal.

March

2019 Useful Dates

  • Women’s History Month
  • March 1 Zero Discrimination Day
  • March 3 World Wildlife Day
  • March 8 International Women’s Day
  • March 14 Pi Day
  • March 16 Freedom of Information Day
  • March 20 International Day of Happiness
  • March 20-21 Spring Equinox
  • March 21 International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • March 22 World Water Day

Focus for March

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month” to honor women’s contributions in American history. The 2019 Women’s History Month theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” The theme honors “women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.” See more at https://www.womenshistory.org.

Activities

Honoring Women Members:
Show your female members appreciation by inviting them to share their stories and celebrating the work they have done for your group or their dedication to making the world around them better. Recognize female members who have passed and young growing members who are beginning to get more involved.

Address Sexual Harassment:
Build a consensual culture in your group by learning about how to have respectful interactions and counter harassment. Consent is not just about rape, it includes any unwanted advancements and touching. The American Camp Association has a great
#NotHereAtCamp campaign with valuable resources on creating community with respect and civility. The #ThatsHarassment Video Campaign consists of six vignettes produced by actor David Schwimmer to expose real uncomfortable and unsafe interactions that happen all the time. They invite much needed discussion on what sexual harassment looks like and how we can stop it.

Get Active with Feminism:
Our Feminist Humanist Alliance is developing a pilot program with local American Humanist Association chapters to train and support social justice representatives at chapters around the country. Chapters interested in being part of our first cohort, should email .

Education – Recommended Books & Movies

https://www.womenshistory.org/students-and-educators/resources
https://www.womenshistory.org/students-and-educators/biographies

Social Media Toolkit

Hashtags: #WomensHistoryMonth #WomensRights
Quotes:
“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”
Susan Polis Schutz, poet

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”
Angela Davis

Recording: “Good Life, Good Death” Humanist Society Teleconference

Quarterly Humanist Society Teleconferences provide instructional and collaborative opportunities to Humanist Celebrants & Chaplains.

People suffering from unbearable medical conditions should have the right to determine their own deaths. In this presentation, Dr. Martin Seidenfeld discusses the issues involved in the right suffering persons to determine their own deaths, and how The Final Exit Network works with qualified people to achieve death with dignity.

Feminism and Humanism: Women of Color Beyond Faith

In my book Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars, I argue that the literature on secularism and gender does not capture the experiences of women of color negotiating racism, sexism, and poverty in historically religious communities. The relative dearth of secular humanist and freethought traditions amongst women of color cannot be separated from the broader context of white supremacy, gender politics, and racial segregation.

This course discusses how black feminism emerged from the struggle against white supremacy and white racism. In that racial slavery depended on the sexual exploitation of black women and the commodification of black women’s reproductive labor, it established an economic and gender hierarchy of women that advantaged white women and continues to shape feminist politics to this day.

Follow end of course: special feature article originally published Huffington Post “10 Fierce Atheists: Unapologetically Black Women Beyond Belief”

Take Course

by Sikivu Hutchinson

skepticon-croppedSikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is an educator and writer. Her books include Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars, and the novel White Nights, Black Paradise, on Peoples Temple and the Jonestown massacre. She is a contributing editor for the Feminist Wire and her artcles have been published in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the L.A. Times, Religions Dispatches and The Humanist Magazine. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Scholar at USC’s Center for Feminist Research and was named Secular Woman’s “Secular Woman of the Year” in 2013. She has taught Education, Critical Studies and Sociology at UCLA, the California Institute of Arts and Seattle University.

Are the “Nones” Done with Civic Engagement? – Course Complete

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Are the “Nones” Done with Civic Engagement?


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