January 2017

Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly, Esq., human rights attorney, activist, and advocate spoke with our group on Thursday, November 10, 2016. Directly following the election two days earlier, her remarks were nevertheless optimistic, encouraging, and insightful. She spoke with us about our country’s racist and patriarchal structure from the founding days to the present, including her ongoing research relating to Thomas Jefferson’s slave breeding activities and the impact of slavery on our nation’s development. She challenged us all to question the structures of our society that are rarely investigated by those in positions of unearned privilege! Read more about Kate Kelly and her work on Wikipedia—Kate Kelly (feminist)—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Kelly_(feminist)—or at her own site—http://www.katekellyesq.com/

–Elaine Stehel


10th Annual Darwin Day

Join the Humanists of Utah at the Officer’s Club (150 South Fort Douglas Blvd) at the University of Utah on Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 5:30-8:30 PM to celebrate our 10th Annual Darwin Day Celebration in Utah! From 5:30-6:30 PM, there will be hors d’oeuvres and the opportunity to mingle and peruse tables hosted by community organizations who also love Darwin, gleaning more information about science-loving groups, their upcoming events, and opportunities to get involved. From 6:30-8:00, we will hear our President, Robert Lane’s thoughts relating to the science of climate change and the past 10 years we’ve been celebrating Darwin Day in Utah, then we will host a community discussion with a group of panelists working on various aspects of climate change-related scientific research. Bring your questions and be prepared to engage and leave more informed and energized with new and changing information to share with everyone you know! From 8:00-8:30 PM we will cut into and enjoy the ceremonial Darwin Cake. This event is free and open to the public—please bring your friends and family! We look forward to celebrating with you.


Member Spotlight

John Barnes was born in Kansas City, Missouri, September 15, 1931, but he grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In about 1950 he was called into the National Guard.

In 1956 on to the University of Wyoming where he majored in Business Management attaining his Bachelor of Science Degree after four years. During this time, he met and married Joyce who was attending the University of Colorado’s State Teachers College. They have two daughters who live in California and Montana.

After college, John was employed as a Data System Analyst for The Martin Company in Littleton, Colorado, for five years. Then moved to the Salt Lake area where he worked for Hercules Aerospace as a Data System Analyst for the next thirty years until retirement in 1989.

John and Joyce have done some travelling, but mostly enjoy the local cultural events in Salt Lake City by regularly attending the symphonies, ballets, operas, and theater productions. A great pastime in reading magazine publications, such as; Discover Magazine, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and The Bloomberg News Newspaper.

John has been a member of the Humanists of Utah for twenty years and a Board Member for three years. He says that joining HoU, he has enjoyed the company of developing intelligence of the members. As to his sense of humor which he shares liberally, he believes that he acquired it mostly on his own.

—Sally Jo Fuller


2016

This is my story of twenty-sixteen
when most of my dreams came true
while too many of my hopes were dashed.

‘What were your dreams?’
you may wonder, as do I.

‘Which hopes were dashed,
and how, and why?’

I was raised near poverty
not always knowing when or how
I would eat, or sleep, or study,
or wear clean clothes.

I lived on my hopes, wishes,
dreams, and plans for a better life;
I lived on the generosity
of strangers;
I lived in the throes of gratitude
for what life and love I had.

I have much in common
with the library patrons I serve;
I have the pain of hunger
stamped on my soul
I no longer believe exists.

In twenty-fifteen, I fought;
I listened, I suffered, I cried:
when my big sister found out
in the terror of mania
she had bipolar disorder;
when my best friends’ dogs
all died;
three different friends,
three different dogs, all family,
all gone;
when my step-brother died
within months of my cousin
and six months later another
brother-in-law also died,
all unexpectedly, all young.

 

When twenty-sixteen began,
I was ready.
I thought life couldn’t get worse,
while simultaneously I knew
my life was better then
than it had ever been.

 

I saw my LCSW weekly,
and my GP monthly;
I scheduled massages
and chiropractic care;
I lost eighteen pounds,
and I meditated daily;
I learned to sleep,
and began to master self-care.

As I truly learned to care
for my own self above all,
I began to see my influence
on the lives of those around me
continue to grow and expand.

My dreams of changing the world,
beginning by changing myself,
were finally coming true.

Today I teach English
to speakers of other languages;
I serve the public at the library
with passion and creativity;
I celebrate the many successes
and mourn the minor failings
of my teenage siblings
and my young nieces and nephews;
I serve my non-religious community
on the Board of Directors of the
Humanists of Utah.

Every day I interact with Mormons & Muslims,
Atheists & Jews, Liberals & Conservatives,
women & men, adults & youth, people & animals,
good & evil, beauty & sorrow.

My dreams are coming true:
of living, learning, and loving
more and better than my parents
and grandparents;
of applying my education
to my work of changing
and improving my life
and the lives of others.

Yet, even as my dreams become my reality,
my hopeful, incurably optimistic mind
returns repeatedly to feeling bombarded
by the pangs of the hunger
of my childhood years
As the world around me,
and the country I thought I loved,
are changing in ways
I never imagined I’d see.

At times, I find it too difficult to continue to hope;
to continue to feed my mind’s hunger
for truth, justice, fairness, and equality;
to combat my mind’s fears
of loss, sadness, inequality, and pain
with hope for a better future.

So, I ask you, the most curious, hopeful,
educated, and empowering of humans
I know in this city I currently call home:

‘What are your dreams?’

‘How have your hopes been dashed, and why?’

And, perhaps most importantly,

‘How are you renewing your hope?

What are you reading, and why?’

Elaine Stehel


President’s Report

Greetings freethinkers, I hope the holidays were enjoyable for you. As free thinking individuals, it can be hard to be all that “festive” around Christmas time. Not too often, but a few times at party or family gathering I’ve been asked why I celebrate Christmas if I don’t believe in Jesus. I try to be a little humorous by stating that I not going to let Christians have all the fun with the gluttonous materialistic turmoil. It usually works, as they usually must agree when I say that it hasn’t been free thinkers who turned it into the frenzy.

But I had a good time at our Annual Banquet and Business Meeting and we took in a respectable number of donations for the Homeless Youth Resource Center. The Board voted to add enough to the money we took in for the raffle to round it up to $600.00. I always buy more food than we use at the social with because I’m more worried about running out than having too much. So, I also took a couple of frozen turkey breasts, a bunch of extra drinks and a few other things we had left over. Additionally, my brother is associated with an AA fellowship hall which received several cases of pies. They had way more than they could use, so he gave me around twenty pies. I kept two and added the rest to what I took to the Homeless Youth Resource Center. Going to the center also gave me a chance to see their new home and it’s a nice place, far better than their old home on State Street. I want to thank Board of Directors for supporting our renewed commitment to this cause and to especially thank Board members Lauren Florence and Elaine Stehel for taking the lead in helping support this cause.

To start the New Year, the Board of Directors of Humanists of Utah has decided to make our January 12th general meeting into our first book club meeting. Being that it will be the first, it will be one where we will plan how to precede, how often, where to meet and so on. I have never actually been part of a book club, so I hope you’ll come and join in the planning. I suspect some, if not many of you have been in book clubs and can give us some hints on what works. I’m excited to start this group, because one of life’s pleasures is good literature. There are a lot of possibilities we can consider, like whether to meet on a different day say Saturday or Sunday. We can perhaps think about meeting where coffee and refreshments are available.

In regards to the literature to consider, we discussed the idea that we could pick a book for two or three months down the road and some shorter subjects, and even some periodicals monthly subjects. Anyway, I hope a good number of you members and friends come and join us to get this thing off the ground.

Before I say good night, I want to remind everyone that our tenth annual Darwin Day celebration with Humanists of Utah is coming up in February. Keep your eyes open for other announcements regarding the event, and plan to attend and bring a friend or two.

Good Night

—Robert Lane
President, HoU