ChapterMeetings

MARCH 2019: DISRUPTING MASS INCARCERATION

Elizer Darris, who experienced the dehumanization of prison as a juvenile offender, spoke to our March chapter meeting about strategies to “Disrupt, Dismantle, and Destroy” mass incarceration. Darris, now a field organizer for ACLU of Minnesota, was sentenced to life in prison at age 15 but worked to educate himself and successfully fought to get his sentence reversed on appeal. But his experience as an inmate, where “every day you have to fight to preserve your humanity,” continues to inform his work.

FEBRUARY 2019: THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF DNA TESTING

The explosive growth in genetic research and testing is creating a host of ethical and practical concerns, Bonnie LeRoy, professor and director of the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling at the University of Minnesota, told our February chapter meeting. Things are moving so fast, much of it driven by commercial testing companies, that the medical community is having a hard time keeping up, she said.

DECEMBER 2018: HOW TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

A panel at our December 2018 chapter meeting discussed the challenges that people with mental illness face and offered tips for supporting them. Larry Ellis and Humanists of MInnesota member Mick Anderson discussed their experiences with Guild Incorporated, a nonprofit that offers community services to people with mental illness—Larry as a client and Mick as an employee.HofMN Mary McLeod, whose son has schizophrenia and who volunteers for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, gave suggestions on how to interact with people with mental illness.

SEPTEMBER 2018: MONEY IN POLITICS

A panel of experts discussed ways to curtail the influence of big money in politics at our September chapter meeting, kicking off a new program year. They included Vicki Barnes, Minnesota state coordinator for both American Promise and Take Back our Republic; State Senator John Marty; and Kathryn Pearson, associate professor of political science at the University of MInnesota.

APRIL 2018: CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

The speaker at our April chapter meeting and Earth Day program was Leslie Mackenzie, a community organizer with Transition Twin Cities and a founding member of Transition Longfellow. Transition is a grassroots movement of people around the world who are shifting their lifestyles away from dependence on fossil fuels toward a lower-carbon, more sustainable and resilient future.

FEBRUARY 2018: Humanism and the Arts Both Allow Us to Find a Political Voice 

FEBRUARY 2018: Humanism and the Arts Both Allow Us to Find a Political Voice 


By Susan Schaefer

Humanists of Minnesota member Susan Schaefer planned our February chapter meeting on The Impact of the Arts on Social Justice and Politics. Speakers included Susana di Palma, founder and artistic director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater, and arts critic Will Harris. Di Palma discussed and showed video excerpts from the company's upcoming production of "Garden of Names,"  which explores the impact of terror and torture as experienced in Argentina during the political upheaval of the 1970s. Susan made the following introductory remarks:

NOVEMBER 2017: Immigrants Face New Restrictions, Myths, and Cultural Fears

NOVEMBER 2017: Immigrants Face New Restrictions, Myths, and Cultural Fears

By Suzanne Perry

The gap between the number of people across the world who are trying to migrate and the number of spots available to them is staggering. And the United States under the Trump Administration has become increasingly unwelcoming. Michele Garnett McKenzie, who spoke at the November chapter meeting, has seen the devastating consequences through her work at The Advocates for Human Rights.

September 2017: Chris Stedman on Why We Need Humanism Now

September 2017: Chris Stedman on Why We Need Humanism Now

By Nathan Curland

More than 60 humanists and friends attended our first chapter meeting of the new season on September 16 to hear Chris Stedman give an impassioned speech on “Why We Need Humanism Now.” He has been a humanist chaplain at Harvard University, is the founding executive director of the Yale Humanist Community, and has moved to the Midwest to build a new Humanist Center of Minnesota. Stedman started by reminding us that a world without religion is not necessarily “good."