A STORY OF PERSECUTION, SURVIVAL, AND ANNIHILATION WITH LESSONS FOR TODAY

BY BOB ADERHOLD

We were in Lübeck almost two years ago, walking down the street, when we came upon a little brass plaque, about four inches square, embedded in the sidewalk. My Aunt Ursula, who grew up there, explained it was a memorial to a Holocaust victim who lived at that address. I’d never seen these before. It had been a long time since I was last in Germany.

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: KATHERINE JOHNSON

Joined HumanistsMN: April 2019

Profession/residence: I'm a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in crisis intervention. I've worked for Curry County (Brookings, Ore.), Atascedero State Hospital (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Canvas Health, North Memorial, and Abbott Northwestern, among others. I've also done a lot of volunteer work, including at the Walk-In Counseling Center. I'm currently doing telephonic counseling and crisis intervention for a multinational organization.

IN MEMORIAM: GREG HART

By Harlan Garbell

As many of you know, HumanistsMN member Greg Hart took his life in early June. At a  humanist memorial service shortly afterwards, many of his friends described a quiet, unassuming man who always stepped up when something important needed to be done. Personally, I will miss Greg terribly. His sweet nature, intelligence, and commitment to humanism always made me feel comfortable in his presence. 

MARCH 2019: DISRUPTING MASS INCARCERATION

Elizer Darris, who experienced the dehumanization of prison as a juvenile offender, spoke to our March chapter meeting about strategies to “Disrupt, Dismantle, and Destroy” mass incarceration. Darris, now a field organizer for ACLU of Minnesota, was sentenced to life in prison at age 15 but worked to educate himself and successfully fought to get his sentence reversed on appeal. But his experience as an inmate, where “every day you have to fight to preserve your humanity,” continues to inform his work.

‘AFTER LIFE’ ON NETFLIX: AN ATHEIST CONFRONTS LIFE WITH NO AFTER

By Mary McLeod  

There aren’t many TV series that feature an atheist as protagonist. But Netflix recently offered “After Life,” created by and starring British comedian Ricky Gervais. HofMN member Mary McLeod offers this review:

 The series centers on Tony, a misanthrope of massive proportions, who talks about suicide constantly, and calls his curmudgeonly hate a superpower. He claims there is no advantage to being nice, or caring, or having integrity, because the world will just defeat you in ways you can’t imagine. In other words, his wife, whom he loved beyond words, has died.


FEBRUARY 2019: THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF DNA TESTING

The explosive growth in genetic research and testing is creating a host of ethical and practical concerns, Bonnie LeRoy, professor and director of the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling at the University of Minnesota, told our February chapter meeting. Things are moving so fast, much of it driven by commercial testing companies, that the medical community is having a hard time keeping up, she said.

MOMENTUM GROWS ON CAMPAIGN-SPENDING CURBS: FEDERAL AND STATE BILLS INTRODUCED

BY VICKI BARNES

Humanists of Minnesota has endorsed efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to restore our ability to regulate campaign spending and curb the influence of money in politics. This would reverse damaging Supreme Court rulings, including Citizens United, which struck down restrictions on political spending by corporations and billionaire donors on free-speech grounds  Vicki Barnes, Minnesota state coordinator for American Promise, reports on recent legislative developments.

SPITTING IN THE SOUP: AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE MESS

By Harlan Garbell

When Lyndon Johnson was the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, he had a notorious reputation as a deal maker who would vigorously browbeat balky senators until he got the outcome he wanted. One of his favorite sayings to these senators was ,“Don’t spit in the soup, we all gotta eat.” Essentially, what he meant was that there was plenty of government largesse for everyone as long as no one objected too much to some other senator’s wasteful pork barrel project.