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Humanist Essay for December 2011
"HSNM Year in Review"
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[Reprinted from the HSNM December 2011 Newsletter.]

December already? Let's take stock of what we've accomplished together in 2011:

First of all, we sustained our ambitious schedule of three monthly meetings in Albuquerque, plus one in Santa Fe. The diversity of topics and quality of discussion have attracted a number of visitors and new members. Our speaker meetings provided well informed perspectives from distinguished presenters on significant social issues, culminating with AHA Humanist of the Year 2011, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, sharing her insightful and positive approach to promoting humanism.

Through our excellent website and monthly Newsletter, we promote our projects and meetings and those of related groups to facilitate the growth and cross- pollination of our local community of humanists and freethinkers.

We have continued to sponsor and actively promote a Children's Humanist Sunday School, which meets twice monthly as a project of the HSNM Family Co-op.

Our members are frequently out and about in the community, teaching, organizing and consciousness- raising on humanism and a range of social justice issues important to humanists.

We've launched an exciting cross-generational project called Humanist Lives, through which we are gathering oral histories and views on humanism from our senior members.

These activities have drawn the interest of our parent organization, the American Humanist Association. We are building a close and mutually supportive relationship with the AHA leadership and staff, after negotiating through a surprise change in their chapter policies that was handed down last January. We had a challenging year in general from the organizational standpoint, during which we successfully completed the revision of our HSNM Bylaws.

We have sought out opportunities to make ourselves more visible in the community and contributed to worthy local institutions in the process. For the second year, we provided a phone team for the KUNM pledge drive in support of community radio; and we sponsored a new "Philosophy" category for the New Mexico Book awards, which gives secular books a chance to stand apart from the proliferation of religious publications. We have also opened the "Humanist Society Fund" at UNM to provide a $1,000.00 scholarship to a resident of NM, granted on the basis of merit and financial need.

We sound great, don't we? But our work for 2011 is not done. We'll be collecting food and checks for the Roadrunner Food Bank at our HSNM HumanLight celebration on Saturday, December 10. Bring a box, a can - or a case - of non-perishable food and/or a check made out to Roadrunner Food Bank, and all will be donated on behalf of HSNM.

Throughout the year, I have tried to acknowledge specific members and the contributions they make to HSNM operations. In this column I acknowledge us as a group. We're all in this together, through our membership publicly declaring our humanist values and establishing a platform from which to speak and act with authority. That's a big deal. Let's keep it growing.

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Copyright © 2011 Zelda Gatuskin

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