Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
Board Members
Richard Dewey

Co-Vice President:
Seráh Blain

Co-Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte/Ariane Apler
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Michelle Rose

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Odyssey of the Mind:
Brian Calaway

Lego League:
Brian Calaway

Girl Scout Troop:
Alisha DeCou

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Kevin Moriarty

Ted Talks:
Kevin Moriarty

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

Continuing with last month's format, my column this month will be a bit more useful than the previous format. I did receive some feedback on the new format and I will attempt to address the input this month. Let's see how it works. Please do send me feedback at the address at the bottom of this column if you have any additional feedback. I'm always interested to hear suggestions (and also find out if anybody actually reads this. :)).


I'll start again with the statistics regarding our following. As of today (March 1st), we now have 300 dues paying members. While this is a small decrease from last month, it's certainly an impressive number and we do expect variations depending on how many new members join and how many existing members renew. January gave us the biggest increase ever, so this result is not overly surprising. Let's see where we go from here. We have 638 followers on our Facebook Group (more on that below), which is a significant increase from last month, and 1052 members on our Meetup page. The Meetup number just keeps climbing and that is very exciting. Our new Facebook page (different from out FB group as explained last month) currently has 256 followers as well. That's also an increase from last month and is an interesting development. For your convenience, the link to our new FB page is Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Facebook Page. In February, we had 16 officially sponsored events, 5 of which were outings and we listed three other non-HSGP sponsored events on our Meetup page that we thought would be of interest to members. How's that for stats?


The big event for HSGP this month was our annual Darwin Day celebration, this time a "luncheon". Yours truly decided to have a flu that day and consequently missed it (aren't you glad I didn't go?) and I am royally pissed. From the reports that I've received, this was more than just successful, it may well have been our biggest event ever. There were apparently so many people in attendance, we couldn't fit everybody! That is truly awesome and quite exciting and I wish I could have made it. Such is life. Also, our co-VP, Seráh Blain worked hard on trying to get local city mayors to issue proclamations recognizing Darwin's birthday but, well, you know politicians. No go. But it was worth the try and I'm excited to see that we're actively getting our name out there making a difference and I'm sure we'll keep trying things like that.


We held a press conference in February regarding the shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, of three young Muslims, apparently in response to a parking dispute. The shooter, who is an avowed atheist, has wide connections to many people in the non-theistic community across the nation, including some of our members, on social media. And some media outlets tried to portray this barbaric act as evidence of deep hatred of Muslims by secular communities, particularly atheists, which is patently absurd and obviously false. Many secular communities around the country responded very quickly by categorically condemning the shooting and making it very clear that we do not condone violence of this kind in any way. We, as Humanists, cherish life and we are very clear on that. The conference, led by our co-VP, Seráh Blain, included six leaders from around our community and was well received both locally and nationally. You can watch the Youtube video of the conference at HSGP Chapel Hill Press Conference. Watching the video will explain this much better than I can do in this column. I apologize in advance for the quality of the video. We didn't have a suitable camera available so this video was taken with my cell phone which is much less than ideal. But the message is still quite clear.


If you haven't already heard, our Facebook Group, at Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Facebook Group, is NOT just for kids! We have a tremendously active following on that page with some very deep discussion threads and very provocative, as well as some very humorous, posts. This is worth a look if you haven't already done so. Keep in mind that you can stop notifications on any thread that you have been following and you can tailor your notifications with some fair amount of flexibility. So if you are like me and have limited time to devote to social media, you can still get on occasionally to see what discussions are ongoing and find out what's on the minds of our followers. Check out Jennifer's column to the right on "... Social Media Tips ..." for suggestions on this and many other ways to use social media effectively.

Another interesting development is a new Meetup page exclusively for our very own secular Girl Scout troop (Troop 1080). This page is intended to be used by the parents of the scouts and is for planning troop events. Anyone who is interested in getting one or more child involved in this troop can message the leaders (use the "Contact" button under "Organizers" on the left) to get details, ask questions, etc. This development was intended to make it easier for the parents to quickly see what's coming up. While we will still post their events on our own Meetup page, this will only contain Troop 1080 info and that is very useful to a very active troop. Their page can be found at Girl Scout Troop 1080 Meetup.

This leaves us with a third Meetup page that is currently not being used. Discussions are underway on what we might do with that, so expect something interesting down the road. Again, suggestions are welcome and you can email me at the address at the bottom of this column.


There are still more exciting events coming up in March and April so be sure to keep an eye on our website at and our Meetup page at HSGP Meetup to keep up with events. Remember that you can click on the "Our Calendar" icon on the left side of our Meetup page to get a calendar view of all upcoming events for about two months.


You can email me at or find out who your board members and committee chairs are, on the left side of this page, and talk to them! Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP


Girl Scout Cookies are on their way!
Look for them at upcoming HSGP events and be sure to bring along cash to buy your favorite varieties. Details to follow.

Have you re-enrolled your Fry's Food Stores VIP card to benefit HSGP?
Support HSGP via your purchases Fry's Food Stores – Reenrollment required, even if you signed up before!
Every time you make a purchase using your VIP card at Frys, you can donate to HSGP WITHOUT any additional cost to you.
Even if you have enrolled in the past, you need to re-enroll in August of every year to ensure Frys will continue to donate a percentage of your eligible purchases to HSGP.
If you have not recently renewed your enrollment, please take a minute to double check. It only takes a couple minutes to reenroll. Here is how:
* You first need to have Fry’s V.I.P. card. If you don’t have a card, you can get one from the store’s courtesy desk or a cashier.
* To enroll, go to and either sign in or set up a Fry’s account if you don’t already have one.
* From your Fry's account page, select Edit under Community Rewards. You will be asked to enter the name of your designated non-profit. You can enter Humanist and then select Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix when it is displayed. Select Enroll to connect your card to HSGP.
* The amount Fry’s pays varies depending upon the amount that has been spent in a 6 month period.
* Several categories are excluded, such as pharmacy, alcohol and gasoline.
* If you need help enrolling, on most Sundays you can catch Rebecca Beltran who can help enroll you on the spot with her laptop or Email Ariane at

Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Bashas', Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at

We are looking for other business people who might be interested in increasing their sales and then giving back to the Humanists. If you have an interest in a business, consider if you would like to offer a way to increase your business and support HSGP. Please contact Ariane at about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Mar 03rd
HSGP Prose Writer's Circle
Event:  Writer's Circle Regular Meeting

The Humanist Prose Writer's Circle meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month to share and critique each other's work. Please remember this is a critique group for writers of prose, not poetry.

If you are planning to attend as a new member, please contact Jim or Rosalie Pearson at for details on what to bring to the meeting.

Write on---

Mar 04th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Topics chosen by attendees


Attendees who have topics present (5 minutes per presentation discussion lengths vary)

TED video (or any public domain video) is voted on for presentation order

Videos are watched and discussed in order as time permits

Led by Kevin Moriarty

Mar 07th
To Be Announced
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group

Hosted by Kevin Moriarty the first Saturday of each month.

Please go to our website to learn all about HSGP: http;//

Mar 07th
Roy Zimmerman: Satirical Songster Dude
Event:  Special Event - Concert at HSGP
Roy Zimmerman sings satirical songs - original songs about class warfare, creationism, same-sex marriage, guns, marijuana, abstinence, Republicans (a lot of songs about Republicans), ignorance, war and greed.

There's a decidedly Lefty slant to his lyrics. "We used to have a name for Right Wing satire," he says. "We called it 'cruelty.'"

The Los Angeles Times says, "Zimmerman displays a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society's foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer."

Tom Lehrer himself says, "I congratulate Roy Zimmerman on reintroducing literacy to comedy songs. And the rhymes actually rhyme, they don't just 'rhyne.'"

Joni Mitchell says, "Roy's lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection."

In twelve albums over twenty years and on stages, screens and airwaves across America, Roy has brought the sting of satire to the struggle for Peace and Social Justice. His songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime. He has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records. He's a featured blogger for the Huffington Post. And everywhere Zimmerman goes, the Starving Ear goes with him.

Sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church & State Greater Phoenix, FFRF Valley of the Sun, and the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix.

Free and open to the public. Donations welcome.

Mar 08th
Speaker:  Bruce Petticrew
Mar 08th
Event:  Children's Program
Mar 08th
Event:  Children's Program
Mar 13th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Mar 14th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Mar 17th
Event:  Writer's Circle Regular Meeting
Mar 22nd
Speaker:  Per Aanestad
Mar 22nd
Event:  Children's Program
Mar 22nd
Event:  Children's Program
Mar 28th
Event:  Book Club
Mar 28th
Event:  Service Outreach
Apr 01st
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Apr 04th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Apr 05th
Speaker:  Film and Special Guest Cristian Arcega
Apr 07th
Event:  Writer's Circle Regular Meeting
Apr 10th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Apr 11th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Apr 19th
Apr 21st
Event:  Prose Writer's Circle Regular Meeting
Apr 25th
Event:  Service Outreach

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is open to presentations on a variety of topics, many of which are controversial. Please note that the opinions expressed by our guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or philosophy of HSGP.

Membership Matters

by Anita Romanowski

Humanist Minute Suggestion: We begin every Sunday meeting with a Humanist Minute presentation by a member or attendee. I've come up with a brilliant idea for material for these presentations: It would be wonderful if everyone would write up a brief essay on "How I Became A Humanist" and present it as a Humanist Minute at a meeting.

Now, I have an ulterior motive for suggesting this. I'd love to compile all these essays into a 3-ring binder to be kept in the library so it can be viewed by fellow and future humanists. Hal Saferstein had asked me to do this a couple of years ago. I tried, but it never took flight. This would a marvelous way to fulfill Hal's dream.

Welcome new members:
Caroline Bissell
Merrill Leffmann
Roxi Moore
Christine Walden

Please contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email.

If you would like to have an announcement or general request appear in this column I'll be happy to post it for you.

Anita Romanowski
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

February 28th from 10 AM-1 PM. Human Services Campus, 230 S. 12th Ave., Phoenix.

The Human Services Campus offers comprehensive assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County. The campus is home to more than a dozen social services agencies. We will help with a cleanup or organizing task, to be determined based on their current needs.

When we volunteered at the HSC in December, we helped to re-fill and re-organize their library. We noticed lots of books filled with old, outdated information or pseudoscience, and LOTS of religious texts. If you have some books you’d like to donate, please bring them by the HCC or bring them along to our outing! Please note that there is a gate code – I will send out the gate code and directions to the building a few days in advance to those who RSVP.

For more details and to sign up, visit Meetup or email Michal at


Are you interested in learning how to use coupons to save money for yourself, your family, or for donations? If so, we may be able to help. We are considering holding another Strategic Couponing Workshop this spring. For those who missed our last two workshops, participants will learn the skills to shop and coupon effectively and efficiently to help you save time and money. If you are interested, let Michal know and she will send you more details. If there is not enough interest, we will not host another workshop.

Many of us have coupons left over from the Sunday paper, or we cut coupons and then they expire before we can use them. Don’t throw them away! Bring in your unused, unwanted, and expired coupons, and we will use them in two ways: our coupon club will use the coupons to shop for items to donate to local charities or we will send expired coupons to a military family living on a base overseas (they can use the coupons for up to six months after they expire). Only manufacturer’s coupons are accepted – these are the coupon inserts that have “Red Plum” “Smart Source” and P&G” on the cover; please do not send store, restaurant, or internet coupons or ads.

Please place coupons in the Tumbleweed donation box at HSGP, or mail them to HSGP (Attn: Michal Otten).

For more details and to sign up, visit Meetup or email Michal at

If there is an organization you would like us to become involved with, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Please email me at with your ideas.

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #18

by Jennifer White

As of this writing, there are 1029 Humanists in our Meetup group. New members join every day.

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Meetup group was founded on June 24, 2010, about the time we were moving into our new home, the Humanist Community Center. We finally had the space and facilities to host more, new members and add new, widely varied activities to our traditional Sunday Speaker program (which continues to draw growing crowds of enthusiastic Humanists).

With more kinds of activities, we are becoming a more diverse group as well. Children and family- friendly activities have made us more attractive to young families. We have Odyssey of the Mind, Lego League, and Girl Scouts. We have teamed up with Camp Quest AZ to organize a fun family winter camp this month. We will set up tents right in the main meeting room!

Our service outreach programs attract people of all ages who want to give time, money and effort to help fellow humans in need. We also show our support of and solidarity with disenfranchised people, such as immigrants, homeless youth, and LGBTQ people.

We also know how to party, whether it’s to celebrate Darwin’s birthday, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Winter Solstice, or hang out with visiting celebs, like Aron Ra.

We can and do enjoy musical performances, screen films, discuss books and philosophy, have play and poetry readings, make art, bang drums, have work parties, raise money, march in parades, attend concerts and art exhibits and festivals, strategize, eat and drink together, play board games, crochet sleeping mats for homeless people—and so much more! We get to meet new people at every event who were attracted to something we offered on Meetup and decided to join us.

Meetup is a powerful tool for people who are looking for people like us. Humanists. Just 11 more and we will be up to 1000!

Check out this month's Bookworm report by clicking on the Humanist Rising Blog below.

HSGP Humanities Project Fundraiser
Books & Music Bookshelf

HSGP's Humanities Project has a Book & Music Bookshelf for your convenient shopping pleasure. Books, CDs and DVDs on the bookshelf are for sale at a great price. The deals are even better on the 2-for-a-dollar bottom shelf. The Bookshelf is located under the bulletin board near the entrance to the restrooms.

The prices on these items are so great that some folks are using it like a rental library: They buy a book for a super-cheap price, read it, and bring it back as a donation. The book goes up for sale again, and they "buy" another one! Cool!

Take a look at the Bookshelf next time you're at the Humanist Community Center and consider buying or donating to this fun new effort.

Human Inspiration

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
Attributed to Elie Wiesel

"People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad."
Attributed to Stephen King, The Stand

Quotes courtesy of

Programs to Support HSGP from Grocery Stores and Amazon

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City), your local Fry's Food Store, or your local Albertson's HSGP can receive a percentage of the money you spend. In addition, when you shop at using our HSGP link, we receive a percentage of the sale.

To activate any of these no-cost-to-you revenue streams for HSGP, go to the HSGP Supporting Businesses page Supporting Businesses and follow the instructions for the program you want to use.

If you shop at any of the local stores that participate in this program, please consider obtaining and using an HSGP community support card whenever you make purchases. When we support our local merchants, they support us!

Susan Sackett, Certified Humanist Celebrant, would like to remind you that she is available for all your life passage ceremonies, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, funerals/memorial services, and even divorce celebrations! Special 10% discount for all HSGP members and their immediate families! Humanist Celebrant. Discounts for HSGP members! Contact her at Susan Sackett .

Have you joined our parent organizations? If so, you still must pay dues to be a member of HSGP - your enrollment in either of our parent organizations (American Humanist Association or Council for Secular Humanism) does NOT automatically include membership in the local chapter, HSGP. And conversely, if you join HSGP, you are not automatically enrolled in our parent organizations! Each is separate and must be joined separately. Why not join all three today? Humanism depends on your financial as well as emotional support!
HSGP is a Chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association and also a chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism.

American Humanist Association
1777 T. Street
Washington, DC 20009-7102
Council for Secular Humanism
Box 664
Amherst, NY 14226-0664