|Humanist Essay for August 2013
"2013 AHA Conference - Part 2"
[Reprinted from the HSNM August 2013 Newsletter.]|
Continuing with my report on the AHA Conference 2013, here are a few other recurrent themes and elements of the weekend. [Watch videos here.]
David Tamayo, president of Hispanic American Freethinkers gave a talk, "Latinos Exercised Their Power in the Last Election: Now What?" which reveals the uncomfortable fact that humanists and political conservatives have something in common - we're not attracting Hispanics. There's no question that our hearts are in the right place, but we still have only token multiracial representation in our organization.
Organization Nuts and Bolts
At the annual State of Humanism Address and other official functions, our new AHA President Rebecca Hale was welcomed with much enthusiasm and support. We're proud to have her as a member of the AHA Feminist Caucus, which was also well received. With my national FC co-chair Stephanie Hughes from Chicago, and help from Sylvia Ramos and Ashley Jordan, I led the FC business meeting, attended by about thirty people. The FC also hosted the Thursday night film screening of "Tough Guise," with discussion ably moderated by Ashley. Stephanie and I presented the Humanist Heroine Award to poet/journalist Katha Pollitt. The Ratify the ERA campaign, spearheaded by Sylvia and highlighted throughout the conference, was embraced by all of the AHA.
And so we finally come to Personal Growth and Fulfillment. Matt Harding gave a delightful presentation on how he has found his bliss by going around the world getting people to dance with him. His videos of people near and far (including some humanists in San Diego), all dancing to the same music, break down cultural barriers and show how alike we humans are and how naturally eager we are to like and help each other. Nikki Stern gave her talk "Hope in Small Doses," in which she espouses "a reasoned version of hope in an uncertain world." Our AHA awards recipients, each in their own way,demonstrated the humanist ideal of thinking for oneself, seeking and speaking truth, and applying one's talents to the benefit of all. Richard Leakey (who provided his address on video), Carl Coon, Dan Savage, Greta Christina, and Katha Pollitt inspired with their insightfulness, eloquence, wit and sincerity. But I want to emphasize that for every noteworthy presenter who held the stage, dozens and dozens of extraordinarily accomplished, wonderful people filled the audience. It was a pleasure to be among them.
Copyright © 2013 Zelda Gatuskin