Category: Humanist Community Gatherings

HumanistsMN sponsors monthly gatherings for our community at 3 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month. Everyone is welcome at these free get-togethers. We host engaging speakers on humanism, social issues, political affairs, science, and other topics of interest to world citizens. We take a break in June, July, and August, when we hold outdoor picnics with other secular groups.

March 2021: Solidarity Amid the “Other” Pandemics

Bill Hart, head of the religious studies department at Macalester College, discussed the need for solidarity in the face of the “other” pandemics in our society such as anti-blackness, gender bias, and political lies.

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February 2021: Free Speech and Disinformation

Law professor Mike Steenson spoke at our February Community Gathering about the history of the First Amendment and free-speech guarantees in the United States. He discussed a variety of Supreme Court rulings over the years, for example those that upheld the Sedition Act in World War I,  barred states from requiring Jehovah’s witnesses to salute the  U.S. flag, upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to hold anti-gay protests outside military funerals,  and restricted the ability of public figures to sue newspapers for defamation.

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January 2021: Restoring Indigenous, Rural, and Green Economies

Renowned environmental activist Winona LaDuke spoke at our January Community Gathering about her work as a “water protector” fighting the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota while also growing industrial hemp on her farm on the White Earth Indian Reservation.

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December 2020: Humanists Gather to Reclaim the Holiday Season

By Audrey Kingstrom

Most of us were literally home for the holidays this year. Covid kept us from getting together for the “Festivus for the Rest of Us” holiday party that HumanistsMN has hosted in recent years. Nonetheless, we still gathered virtually to reclaim the holiday season for ourselves. The Zoom-room full of people who met just a couple days before the Winter Solstice shared with each other all that we love about the season – and why it remains meaningful despite our nonbelief.

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November 2020: Building Wealth in Minority and Immigrant Communities

Economist and cultural entrepreneur Bruce Corrie spoke at our November Community Gathering about ways to build capacity and bolster wealth in ailing African, Latino, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) communities. Those communities have been hit hard by Covid-19 and the resulting economic losses as well as by the civil unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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October 2020: Religious Nationalism and the Threat to Democracy

Journalist and author Katherine Stewart spoke about her research into Christian nationalism at our October Community Gathering, warning that the Religious Right seeks political power by attaching itself to issues like abortion. Author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, she said its leaders promote the notion that religion makes us great, not a democratic system of government.

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September 2020: The Internet and Being Human

Humanist author and activist Christ Stedman discussed “What the Internet Can Teach us About Being Human” at our September Humanist Community Gathering.  More people, he noted, are moving their search for connection and significance away from communal institutions to more individualized digital spaces — but grappling with how to present themselves online.

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May 2020: HMN Programs, Social Action, and Outreach

Participants at HumanistsMN’s annual meeting, which took place over Zoom on May 11, broke into groups to discuss three topics: programs, social action, and geographical outreach. Suggestions from those sessions included engaging top-notch national speakers for our monthly community gatherings, giving priority to the environment in our advocacy work, and working with secular groups and …

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April 2020: Energy Democracy

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, co-founder and general manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, spoke about “Energy Democracy,” making the case for a powerful solar model. Elizabeth Dickinson, a board member with Community Power MN, discussed ways St. Paul 350 is working to promote energy democracy and renewable energy.

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March 2020: Restorative Justice

The speaker at our March community gathering, Michele Braley, discussed “restorative justice,”  which brings together offenders, victims, and the community to find ways to repair the injuries of crimes. She contrasted this approach to the “retributive process” used in the Western legal system, whereby the state assigns punishment “to fit the crime.” Braley is program …

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February 2020: Generational Change in American Politics

We are currently witnessing the passing of political power from one generation to another.  The prolific and entertaining political science pundit Prof. David Shultz from Hamline University provided a lively and insightful analysis of this political shift at our February community gathering.

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January 2020: And Justice for All

At our January community gathering, Ramsey County Assistant Chief Judge Jennifer Frisch provided an informative and enlightening overview of Minnesota’s judicial branch.

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HumanistsMN Celebrates Winter Solstice 2019 in Secular Style

HumanistsMN members and friends celebrated the Winter Solstice in secular style on Dec. 14, 2019. We honored the “reason for the season” with dinner, entertainment, and singing at the festively decorated First Unitarian Society. Big Oil (Marcy Woodruff Hillerson), Big Food (Suzy Bancroft), and Big Auto (Meline Juarez) abducted Father Winter (David Guell) in a “mummers play” written by Audrey Kingstrom. Other cast members included Sonia Aaroe, Suellen Carroll, Heather Hegi, Mary McLeod, Christine Retkwa, Summer Sasarita, Jeff Spencer, and Mitchell Thompson. Erica Klein and David Guell performed solo acts.

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November 2019: Brain Health Across the Lifespan

Cognitive decline is not inevitable, asserted  Dr. Lisa James at the beginning of her presentation at our November community gathering.  James, Kunin Professor in Women’s Healthy Brain Aging, is part of a research team that is assessing brain status across the lifespan to uncover the conditions and attributes that contribute to brain health and resiliency.

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October 2019: Facing Economic and Environmental Limits

Advanced economies are headed toward “The Great Simplification,” asserted Nate Hagens at our October Humanist Community Gathering. With our insatiable consumption of energy, we are living beyond the carrying capacity of the planet and a significant reduction in GDP is now likely.

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