December 2016

Chapter Happenings

Community Partnership Announcement

At our Annual Banquet and Chapter Business Meeting on Thursday, December 8, we will be pleased to welcome a presenter from the Volunteers of America’s Youth Resource Center—they will give a presentation to our group about the impact our donations and volunteer time have had in past years, and will continue to have in the coming years, on the Homeless Youth they serve in and around Salt Lake City. Please join us to learn more about the incredible work they are doing, and how we can all help more by serving hot meals once a month throughout the coming year! Beginning in January, our group will either join forces with the Atheists of Utah to provide meal prep for the Youth Resource Center, or, if there are a great enough number of our members interested, we will be able to plan an additional meal prep day for the Humanists of Utah. All donations received at our Annual Banquet this year will benefit the Youth Resource Center. Please come to enjoy wonderful food and company, and make a huge impact on the lives of these youth!

Darwin Day 2017 Update and Invite

We are pleased to announce that the 10th Annual Darwin Day Celebration with the Humanists of Utah will be held at the University of Utah’s Officer’s Club (150 Fort Douglas Blvd) on Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. Please save the date! Also, as you, our members, will be our honored guests, please let us know if you know of a local scientist specializing in climate change, who would enjoy being on our panel of scientists that evening from about 7-8 p.m. Send nominations for panelists to board@humanistsofutah.org.

Thanks!

—Elaine Stehel


President’s Report

I want to finish my little series about my personal experiences with people of color. It also comes to an end because after my years in the Air Force, I have had only minimal contact with blacks or other people of color a “white boy” gets living in Sugarhouse. I want to finish with two thoughts, one the Black Lives Matter movement and the other a thought about diversity.

Regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, I think stupid white people should keep their mouths shut, rather than making statements like “all lives matter.” Because on its face, the statement is an attempt to diminish the fact that Black folks do have a problem with being more likely to be shot by police than other races do. It is an unfortunate fact these shootings happen and are one of the results of poverty, as are poor health care, poor nutrition, etc.

My thoughts on diversity begins with how wonderful it is that the universe is as diverse as it is, including the part of it we call humanity. But in our dealings with other races we humans tend to use diversity to divide us. We see this tendency throughout history and we see it played out daily in the present. It really is too bad that we humans don’t embrace this diversity better. Imagine how boring it would be if we humans, for some weird evolutionary reason, could only be one shade of grey. But then if human nature stayed the same, I guess we would find some other “difference” in “some” people in order to have someone to dislike. The shape of your ears perhaps. Whatever. I’ll have more to say, but later.

Our December Social is coming up on the 8th and I hope you will, as I always say, join us for some good food and good conversation. One item that I plan to talk about a little bit at the dinner is our plan to start a book club series. In discussing ways to make our meetings more appealing we (board members) decided to make some of our second Thursday general meetings into book club meetings rather than having a speaker. With that in mind, I hope you will give some thought to the idea and come to the social with a few suggestions for books you like. I think we can consider some periodicals also. I think our general meetings should also have more forums on current affairs. So again, think about some books and forum subjects for us to consider. I’m excited about these changes because I have always enjoyed discussion groups and forums where we can all get involved and have our say.

I suppose I should say something about the election. First, I can say I am so sick of politics I could just…you name it. But in my sixty-eight years I have seen the back and forth nature of power and politics. The good times the recessions, wars and presidential resignations. I kind of hate it when people say we must move on, but the clock does keep on ticking so we do have to start planning, together and as individuals. I think for me I am going to be putting more of my time, energy and donation to help and advocate for causes that will be needing support considering the fight that the new administration will bring. I also plan to personally get more involved and donate more to organizations that appeal to me, such as the The Planetary Society, the American Humanist Association, and our chapter. I think we should all remember that our favored organizations need funds and support now more than ever.

See you at the social.

—Robert Lane President, HoU