February 2014

Art and Activism

With wit and wisdom, Charles L. Frost, aka Sister Dottie, entertained, enlightened and provoked our January meeting audience. His stated purpose was hoping that his LIFE as an ARTIST and ACTIVIST would be of some value. A wise friend once taught him that real change, enduring change, purposeful change occurs in three ways, and three ways only—via LITIGATION, LEGISLATION or LOVE. After deciding HOW to make change, there are ingredients one must possess: find, learn, gather, shout and convince. Idealists become active when they are angry. This feeds the machine of change, invention, new ways, new thinking, better systems and structure governments, leaders, organizations and hopefully, eventually social justice.

A manifesto, “ATTENTION: All you rule-breakers, you misfits and troublemakers—all you free spirits and pioneers—all you visionaries and non-conformists…Everything that the establishment has told you is wrong with you—is actually what is right with you” sums up his approach to making a difference and being a game-changer.

Emphasizing words such as ADD, distractibility and mood swings, he points out that some of these are used by society to deny it’s own illness by pointing to us. But change agents know that the hard, the cold, the oppressive will—at long last—be broken apart by a force that is beautiful, natural, colorful AND alive. This change has been going on for the last decade or so. Still, we face FEAR, SHAME, GUILT, JUDGMENT and IGNORANCE from those opposed to change. Change agents choose collaboration, cooperation, synergy, and most importantly LOVE.

To the new term: Show up and Show how and Show others, he adds, Show the Hell up! Non conformity, breaking and changing the rules, being a change-agent wherever you live, and for whatever purpose releases your finest passion. Resonance and Relevance, two more ingredients in being a successful artist-activist—and he adds: Rules for Activists, Rules for Artists—which can be found on our website.

The Artist-Activist Philosophy is also on that website. He points to public stories dominated by scarcity, consumerism, fear, selfishness and bad news. We all know there’s more to the story. Artist-activists challenge perspectives and continue to remind us of the most important aspects of the human condition. Community building paves the way to tangible actions. Organizers gather people together, encouraging action that makes society better.


Sister Dottie is one way Charles uses story-telling to raise consciousness by using humor and insight to help people “embrace the gray.” Find her message and goals of activism on the website, as well as his CHALLENGE TO ALL TO get involved.

—Joyce Barnes

Marie Springer
12/22/1917 – 1/7/2014

Long time Humanists of Utah member Marie Springer died peacefully on January 7, 2014 in Salt Lake City. She was 96 years old. She was born in Salt Lake on December 22, 1917 to parents Henry F. Grondel and Johanna Lether. She spent much of her life in Salt Lake but also lived in Pasco Washington, Chicago and New York.

She is survived by sisters Alice Evans, Carol Bertoch, Patricia Farnsworth, and brother Thomas Grondel (Vicki) and many nieces and nephews. Marie is also survived by daughter Beverly Taylor (Bruce), two grandsons, and 5 great-grandchildren and her dear friends Dr. Steve and Patti Horton and their son David.

Marie had a varied and interesting professional career and, among other things, worked for Look Magazine, Night Cap Radio, and most recently for the Salt Lake County Aging Services until retiring at the age of 80. She was a member of the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake since 1963 and served in many capacities including the Church Board and Friendship Manor Board and was president of the Women’s Alliance and chair of the Archives Committee. Mary, as she was known to her family, will be remembered for her deep appreciation of art and music, her strong political views, and her love of chocolate.

A memorial service will be held at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City on March 30th at 3pm. Her family will be forever grateful for the ongoing love and care the Unitarian Church has provided over the past few years.

Her smile and lively spirit will be missed by many.

Utah is Not “Willing and Able” to Help Uninsured

I am flabbergasted by Stuart Adams’ op-ed “Utah should escape the Affordable Care Act,” (Opinion, Jan. 25). He writes “Utah is ready, willing and able to clean up the mess created by Washington, D.C.” He is implying that Utah would do a much better job with health care than the feds once Utah “escapes” the federal law.

If Utah is really “ready, willing and able,” then why have we not done something sooner?

Depending upon your sources, between 11 and 18 percent of Utahns do not have health insurance and another 10-20 percent are underinsured, meaning if they get sick, they could go bankrupt. About half of bankruptcies come after a major illness which wipes out the family finances.

Also, the state of Utah does not co-fund Medicaid for every person who qualifies, since the needy can rely on charity care.

In effect, Utah is not “willing” to help everyone in our state get health care and therefore, we are simply not “ready.”

When will we be ready? Call the governor (801-538-1000), tell him to fully expand Medicaid. That would be one step toward Mr. Adams’ reality that “Utah is ready, willing and able.”

—Lauren O. Florence MD
HoU Board Member

Published in the Salt Lake Tribune, January 31, 2104

President’s Report

Humanists of Utah is gearing up for a busy spring and summer this year. As you may already know, next Thursday, the 13 of February is the date for our 7th annual Darwin Day celebration. This year we are co-hosting with the Utah Friends of Paleontology Our Keynote speaker will be Utah State Paleontologist James Kirkland. There will be refreshments before and birthday cake after the presentation. Plus, there will be fossil displays, literature tables and memorabilia for purchase. See details on time and address elsewhere in the newsletter. So please join us for a fun and informative evening.

As we plan for the spring and summer events, part of our goal is to create a professional kiosk for use by Humanists of Utah and the other Freethought groups in our area. We have applied for a grant to the American Humanists Association’s Chapter grant fund. If granted, (and I think they will), these funds will help purchase items such as canopies, tables, chairs, coolers and the other items necessary for a first rate kiosk. The kiosk will be large enough for two groups, as there will often be Humanists of Utah and other freethought groups at the same time at various events and street fairs.

I have reserved a space for Humanists of Utah for the Utah Pride Festival in early June. This will be a perfect opportunity to use this kiosk at an event that is going to be quite interesting this year, in light of the ongoing situation with Gay marriage litigation. We’re excited to be a part of this event and advocating for such a worthy cause. Plus there is the bonus that we get good public exposure and an opportunity to speak to people about humanism.

All summer we plan to have a presence at as many street fairs and the like as we can.

As is always the case, we can always use some volunteers to help out.

In closing I would like to ask that you think about subjects you would like us to cover or speakers you know of that would be a good fit for our audience.

Anyway, bye for now, hope you can make it to Darwin Day.

—Robert Lane
President HoU