By Ellie Haylund
Happy New Year!
I’d like to enthusiastically thank you all — dues-paying members, event goers, volunteers, generous donors, the Board, committee chairs and participants, fellow humanists, and newsletter readers. You not only help to make our organization thrive, but each play an important role in raising awareness about spreading our values into the community and the world.
I cannot wait for 2023. We are seeing unprecedented momentum in HumanistsMN and in secularism overall. We recently helped establish the new Secular Government Caucus at the Minnesota Legislature, which means big things for separation of religion and government. With the legislative session beginning, you will be seeing HMN billboards advocating for secular government and against Christian nationalism as we work to support the caucus.
We are deeply grateful to those who donated to pay for a third month of our two billboards, allowing us to share our message through the session, including during our spring National Day of Reason event (May 3 — Save the Date!). More on that to come!
In other priorities, our Humanists in Action team has created a robust community-service program. Now the Board is considering additional ways to use our money and talent to help groups who serve those in need.
We awarded our first Paul Heffron Scholarship for Secular Students over the summer and we are thrilled that the recipient — Kazi Ahmed Habib, president of Mavericks Alliance of Secular Students at Minnesota State University, Mankato — will speak at our Community Gathering in February.
In the face of Christian nationalism, loss of reproductive rights, and political turmoil, humanism continues to be an ever-important champion for equality and equity. Despite the increased visibility of bigotry and hatred, statistics do not lie. More and more people are disaffiliating from religion but continue to embrace goodness, morality, and compassion.
We are not just a home for those people; we are an advocate for all, whether they share our beliefs or not. This is the essence of humanism and I’m proud of our organization and all of you who support our mission. We are at record-high membership of almost 300 members and have strong finances thanks to donors over the years. This enables us to grow and broaden our impact.
As we look forward, our Board is prioritizing long-term strategic planning. We also hope to strengthen our work to attract new members and nurture our existing ones. We have talented and dedicated leaders in our organization; our extensive programming is a testament to this. We want to harness those skills and commitment to think big. It’s all about creativity, optimism, and tenacity.
We always appreciate ideas and feedback — if you ever have a proposal or suggestion, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
Ellie Haylund is president of HumanistsMN.
What encouraging and motivating words, Ellie! Thank you for your leadership in pushing the message of universal values that need no religious text: equality, equity, goodness, morality, and compassion.