February 2020 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM Events
Monthly meeting – Lost Cultures
Saturday, February 8th, Canad Inns Polo Park, 1405 St Matthews Avenue, 5:30 – 830 PM
Join us as educator and science enthusiast Luc Blanchette takes a look at the people who came before. Who were the first people in North America?
Plus we’ll celebrate Darwin Day as we delve into a little-known time in human history.
HAAM and Eggs Brunch
Sunday, February 23rd, Salisbury House, 1277 Henderson Hwy (near Springfield Road), 9:30 – 11:00 AM
This monthly casual get-together is a great way to meet and get to know your fellow HAAMsters.
In February our brunch will be in East Kildonan. New people are always welcome.
Spring meeting dates
Sat, March 14
Sat, April 4
Sat, May 23
Check our Events calendar for the latest information on all upcoming events.
Upcoming Community (Non-HAAM) Events
Brainy Brunch Breakfast
Members of the Eastman Humanist Community (Steinbach and area) get together for brunch on the first Sunday of every month, at 9:30 AM at Smitty’s in the Clearspring Centre.
HAAM members are welcome to join them.
For more information about the brunch, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For current information on all upcoming non-HAAM events, visit our Community Events page.
Charity of the Month – Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
The name Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata translates from Ojibway into the phrase, “we all work together to help one another.” This organization has over 30 years of experience helping Indigenous people rebuild families. Today Ma Mawi has over 50 programs, 11 sites, and 200+ staff and volunteers.
The centre provides gathering places for learning, traditional arts and crafts, youth programming, community events and celebrations, and a Bear Clan rest stop. Its programs and services are numerous and varied. Highlights are:
Money management skills
Computer lending and free internet access
Short- term assistance and services for families in financial crisis
Personal growth and development workshops
Support for families healing from the effects of violence
Home-based crisis intervention for emotional, behavioural or psychiatric difficulties
Addressing the sexual exploitation/trafficking of underage girls
Facilities for children in care
Short-term assessment home for young women 13-17 years old
Short term licensed homes and intensive support for birth families working toward reunification
Long-term safe house for young women and transgender youth 13-17 years old
A rural healing lodge for young women and transgendered youth 13-17 years old
Residential learning facility for pregnant adolescents and mothers 13-17 years old
Long-term licensed homes for Aboriginal children and youth
Long-term home for young boys 11-14 years old
Emergency care program for children under the age of 10 and their siblings
Cultural teachings and sacred ceremonies
Hunters & Gatherers (Cubs & Scouts)
Future is Yours – for youth ages 14-20
Positive Adolescent Sexuality Support (P.A.S.S.)
Free recreational and cultural programming
Rising Sun Pow Wow Club
North End Hockey Program
That’s an amazing list of resources working to strengthen children, youth, families and community.
Let’s help Ma Wawi to build safer communities, protect children, and keep families together.
If you would like to contribute but cannot make it to the meeting, you can make a donation by credit card via the ‘Donate’ button in the sidebar. Just include a note that the money is for the charity of the month.
Tax receipts will be issues for donations over $10.
New! ‘Escape button’ now on our website
Sadly, it’s not always safe to be publicly identified as a non-believer. For some people, it may not even be safe to be seen reading books or websites about atheism or Humanism. Depending on someone’s age, occupation, family structure, financial status, or community, that could get them into a lot of trouble. It’s not uncommon for non-believers who are ‘outed’ to lose their jobs, end up divorced, be evicted by their parents, have educational funding cut off, or be socially shunned. Many times, at our Outreach booths in Morden and Steinbach, we have had young people (and sometimes adults) approach us with curiosity or enthusiasm but refuse to take a brochure (or even a business card,) lest they be caught with it later.
We direct these people to our website and tell them to contact us if they have questions. But what if that’s not safe, either? The website receives visitors from all over the world. Depending on someone’s personal circumstances, they may be viewing it on a computer at school, at work, at a library, or from some other public place where they risk exposure.
Introducing the ‘leave site quickly’ button. It’s hot pink, and you’ll see it just under the menu bar on the right side of every page if you’re on a desktop or laptop computer (see screenshot below). When you hear your mother / teacher / boss coming, click that button and it’ll take you to the YouTube home page. Happy surfing!
Notes from our AGM
Here are our 2020 HAAM executive, elected at the AGM on 11th January:
President – Pat Morrow
Secretary – Andrea Kaplen
Treasurer – Henry Kreindler
Members-at-Large – Tammy Blanchette, Karen Donald, Cheri Frazer, Tony Governo, Donna Harris, Sherry Lyn Marginet, Arthur Prystenski, Dorothy Stephens, and one person who needs to remain anonymous.
These are the people who plan our meetings and events, monitor our social media accounts, pay the bills, send out the newsletter, update the website, organize social activities, answer emails, keep track of membership, etc etc etc.
The motion to amend our Position Statement on Human Rights to include respect for gender identity and personal pronouns was passed by our members. You can read all of HAAM’s Position Statements here.
The About Us page has been updated with an acknowledgement that our meetings are held on Treaty One territory.
Curious about HAAM’s history?
Our president’s message in last month’s newsletter sparked some questions and confusion among long-time and former members about HAAM’s origins. Such was the informal structure of the group back then, that we didn’t have many written records.
Thanks to the efforts of Helen Friesen, who searched her own memory banks and then emailed past president Barrie Webster (at right, now living in BC), we were able to flesh out some almost-forgotten details of our early days. The About Us page on our website has been updated to include this information.
Book of the Month – The Bible for Dummies
Regardless of your opinion of the Bible, there’s no denying that it has influenced much of western art, music, literature, and public discourse. But what do you really know about it?
Do you know who wrote the Bible and how it was put together? Who really killed Goliath? What did the Old Testament prophets prophesize about? What’s Elijah’s claim to fame? When was the Jewish exile? What exactly are seraphim? (Hint: they’re not particularly angelic.) How many wise men visited baby Jesus? Who were the Pharisees? What was the Sermon on the Mount? The mark of the Beast? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, aren’t you at least a bit curious?
If you’ve tried to read the Bible before but found your eyes glazing over, this book provides a great overview. You’ll find it helpful if you want to know the highlights without having to read all the details. It has no significant bias either for or against religion; it just provides an overview of the basics and avoids discussing contradictions and controversies, sticking instead with the consensus of mainline (mostly Christian) Bible scholars.
(Note: If you are really curious, and want to read the entire the Bible from a skeptic’s point of view, check out the Atheist Bible study page.)
All our library books and DVD’s are free to borrow for paid HAAM members.
Visit the Library page to request to borrow a book or DVD, and we will make arrangements to get it to you.
Partners for Life results
We did it! We actually beat our 2019 pledge! (see results below) Of course, there is no actual prize except for bragging rights and the satisfaction of saving lives – so we might as well brag about it!
We’ve renewed our pledge of 25 units annually for 2020, so let’s get this year off to a good start. Maybe we can hit 30!
If you have never donated blood before, or aren’t sure if you’re eligible or not, find out by checking the Canadian Blood Services’ Am I Eligible? page. If you’re eligible, make an appointment soon! Instructions on how to have your donation credited to HAAM’s pledge, and other useful information about the Partners for Life program, are on our website.
February 12th is International Darwin Day
It would be Charles Darwin’s 211th birthday, if he were still alive. He died in 1882 at the age of 73, but the implications (and repercussions!) of his work and discoveries continue today.
Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and humanity. Its purpose it to inspire people throughout the world to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.
We’ll be recognizing Darwin Day at our February meeting (a few days early, but Charles probably won’t notice).
HAAM get lots of emails and messages through our website and social media accounts. Questions, comments, concerns. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Messages of support and flaming apologetics. Our executive reads them all.
So thanks to everyone who takes the time to read our sites and contact us. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who are paying attention.
We take privacy very seriously. We never reveal our membership list, or ‘out’ anybody, or discuss confidential inquiries outside of the members of our executive who need to know (i.e. those responding to or helping the person with the concern). But we can share a few of the more interesting messages we receive without revealing personal or identifying information about the sender. Here’s a recent email from someone who just found our website, that helps make our efforts feel worthwhile.
After watching numerous videos and reading several books centered on or written by the likes of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even Dan Dennett, I am left to marvel at the patience that these men, and those like them, have when entering into “debates” with religious advocates, figures, or apologists. After a couple of decades of policing, I can say with experience just how exasperating it is to try to reason with someone who is under the power of a delusion. The position these men find themselves, nay, volunteer for, in the name of promoting free thought and discourse, is to try to reason with people who operate under the delusion of an imaginary, invisible friend who lives in the sky somewhere, who watches their every move and thought from the day of conception until beyond death. From experience I can say that a better recipe for frustration is difficult to find; the exercise is all but designed to fail.
To debate or discuss many topics with the “faithful” is, in my mind, akin to trying to speak seriously to adults who still need a nightlight to sleep at night for fear of the dark. These people sadly set themselves up to not be taken seriously, and their opinions on adult topics (those being world issues, matters of governance, medicine, or scientific endeavor or the like) ought to be dismissed out of hand, or at least penalized for weight, as those of not a “serious and grown up person”, as Hitchens would put it.
Contrarily, in our current state of global madness, it is exactly these types of people that hold the highest office. When pondered sufficiently, the realization of this is utterly depressing. This is to thank you for your website and your continuing work to inspire more people to hopefully put away the nightlights, and become serious grown-up people who put their faith in humanity, and accept responsibility for their role in it.