Message from the President (HHH V1 I11)

America’s mid-term elections are upon us so I thought I would share some talking points from our ACLU talk by Ashley Toruno.  Her talk, titled “The Seven Point Plan to Protect Civil Liberties,” is a set of steps for how the ACLU hopes to address the challenges of living in America’s democratic society in today’s political climate.

First, we need government accountability and transparency.
Second, protect immigrants’ rights.
Third, defend reproductive rights.
Fourth, protect first amendment rights.
Fifth, defend LGBTQ rights.
Sixth, defend core civil rights and civil liberties from erosion, which includes protecting voting rights and encouraging independent redistricting.
Seventh, mobilize the American people to vote and take action to protect the umbrella of democracy under which we live and thrive.

She recommended the following resources:
www.allindemocracy.org
www.aclu-in.org
www.aclu.org/voter
volunteer@aclu-in.org  to email the ACLU to volunteer

I encourage everyone to exercise your democratic right and vote in every election.  Remember the adage, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”  While that sentiment is not in our constitution, your voice matters, and every vote matters.  

Karen Mizner, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 11 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 11/6/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I10)

Since we are approaching the end of this year, perhaps we should start thinking about 2019. What do we need to do better? Our most successful event this year in terms of the largest turnout was the Loftus-Spiegel debate. We had a poor turnout for the recent Dr. Maloney presentation. We've also seen a certain amount of previous members and one-time drop-ins not returning.

As such, it seems important to consider what our group offers. It seems that the most basic answer is "community." We are a community of free thinkers, agnostics, and atheists. Therefore, our target audience should be people with similar viewpoints that may be looking for a group like FreeThought Fort Wayne. Our most successful event followed that theme.

In order to stage an event like the debate, we need to follow a well thought out process, devoting enough time to ensure a successful outcome. The AHA grassroots manual suggests up to 90 days from conception to presentation. That would limit us to no more than four such events per year.

Finally, we need to develop a plan to follow up with new people in order to retain them as members. I hope we can take the time to discuss these thoughts and any others that can help our group grow.  We want, indeed need, our members to help guide us in the direction they would like to see us move forward.  Please consider contacting any board member with your thoughts/ideas AND consider volunteering or running for a board position when we hold our annual member meeting and board elections early next year!

Robert Brandt, Former President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 10 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 10/15/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I9)

Banned Books Week is September 23-29 this year.  The list is posted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and refers to books/materials that have been banned in some libraries, schools, and universities.  Among the top ten books banned in 2017 was Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” published in 1960!  Many of the books on the list have been banned due to topics such as suicide, profanity, gender identity, sex education, and in the case of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” violence and racial slurs.  Anyone who has read and studied the book knows that the violence and racial slurs are purposefully included to show what racism looks/sounds like and to illustrate the horror of such acts as part of America’s history.
 
In thinking about banned books in America, my thoughts moved to the many current challenges to our Constitution.  Challenges such as freedom of speech are apparent in cases where institutions ban books; NFL players silently demonstrate to protest the, sometimes brutal, force used by some police officers toward members of the black community; our current POTUS punitively silences anyone who criticizes him, or prevents immigrants seeking asylum from having their day in court, or assaults the news media with claims of “fake” news just because he doesn’t like the news being reported.
 
If Americans wish to keep their civil liberties of freedom of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the rights of assembly and petition, we must raise our voices when we witness the abuse of these freedoms by any individual, group, or government representative.  If Americans do not stand up for these rights, they may be lost and so, too, our nation.

Karen Mizner, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 9 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 9/3/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I8)

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and as kids prepare to start school, this is good time to make sure their vaccines are up to date. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunization currently prevents 2-3 million deaths every year. The first vaccine to protect children against malaria will be piloted in three African countries in 2018. Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and over one million people die from malaria every year. Mass vaccination campaigns in Africa since December 2010 have nearly eliminated epidemics of meningitis A, an infection that can cause severe brain damage and even death.

Global measles mortality has declined by 84% from 2000 to 2016 due to vaccines. In 2016, the region of the Americas was declared free of measles due to a mass 22- year vaccination effort against measles, mumps and rubella. Polio is closer than ever to be eradicated due to a major vaccination effort. Vaccines also serve as a frontline defense against antibiotic resistance because they help reduce the need for antibiotic application. Vaccines not only protect our own children, but also those children who dare not get the vaccine due to a compromised immune system or other legitimate health condition.

Karen Mizner, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 8 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 8/4/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I7)

FTFW is such a dynamic and interesting group. In June, we started two new ventures. The first was the launching of our live call-in TV show, “We Are Atheists” (WAA), coordinated by Calyb T. and his enthusiastic team of volunteers, including John Loftus. Besides the Kent Hovind debate (which was pre-recorded), WAA aired two other shows (recorded live) and are planning on airing a show at 7:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday and second Thursday of each month. We also launched a new discussion group in June titled, “Meeting of the Minds,” which will meet every third Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne. This is a participant-driven discussion of whatever two topics the group decides to talk about.

Saturday, July 21st we will be hosting our annual FTFW picnic, which is open to all who want to come from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring a dish to share, as well as the kids, and make it family outing as we celebrate being humanists. Additionally, for the very first time, we are not only participating in the Pride March (as we have the previous 2 years), but we will also be a part of the Pride Fest celebrations on Saturday, July 28th. We will have a table set up from noon until 7:00 p.m, where we will be handing out literature about humanism/FTFW and interacting with the crowd. It should be a fun event for everyone involved, so come out and support our local LGBTQ+ community in Fort Wayne!

Karen Mizner, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 7 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 7/1/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I6)

School is out and there are lots of new graduates going out to face the world with high hopes to make their dreams come true and among them is my first grandchild.  Pondering the future of the 2018 graduates had me reflecting on our FTFW group and our future.  In the span of four years, our group has risen from the ashes of the previous iteration of FTFW and continues to grow and reach new heights. 

We now have a monthly newsletter, the “Hoosier Humanist Herald,” a radio show, the “Hoosier Humanist Hour,” and a TV show, “We Are Atheists” (which will air its first show very soon, thanks to Calyb T. and his group for both broadcast shows).  We are also starting up a new discussion group, FTFW’s “Meeting of the Minds,” which will be launching on Wednesday, June 20, thanks to Bob Brandt. 

Additionally, we have an expanding website with PayPal options for new/continuing members and we now have FTFW merchandise for sale on our website through CafePress and SquareSpace links in the “Store” tab along the top of the webpage.  CaféPress currently has FTFW shirts in lots of colors, styles and sizes.  Keep your eyes on the selection of products on CaféPress, as we will be expanding the types of merchandise that are available for sale featuring our FTFW logo, thanks to Chris Rex.  We also have our very own celebrant in Victoria Gipson. 

All of these wonderful programs are the result of the hard work of our members who all volunteer their time to help make our group what it is today.  We also had three of our members represent FTFW at the American Humanist Association (AHA) conference in Las Vegas May 17-20 (pic below).  Let’s celebrate FTFW as we continue to grow and actualize our vision!

Karen Mizner, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 6 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 6/4/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I5)

Our new board members are installed.  Congratulations to Chris Rex and Victoria Gipson on their re-election/election to our FTFW Board of Directors.  Our roles are as follows, Chris Rex is VP again, Chris Woods is Secretary, V is now Treasurer, Victoria Gipson will be our Communications Director and I have assumed the role of President.  In addition, Calyb T. is (and has been) the Trustee of the Hoosier Humanist Hour and Robert (Bob) Brandt will remain active in a Trustee role (yet to be determined).

All FTFW Board and Trustee positions are voluntary and open to any paid member who would like to take an active role in leading or supporting our group.  All dues-paying members are welcome to attend board meetings which are usually held on the third Monday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Locations vary from month to month.

Volunteers are always welcome.  Want to be a part of the radio show or our upcoming TV show?  Would you like to write a short article (250-350 words) for the newsletter?  Help organize or work an event?  If so, please speak with a board member, as we would love to hear your ideas.

BIG NEWS!  Thanks to Calyb and his team, we will soon be hosting a TV show called, “We Are Atheists.”  The first televised show will be a debate on “Is There Good Evidence for Biblical Creation?”  Kent Hovind (Christian fundamentalist and evangelist) will present the creationist perspective, John Loftus (former minister, now atheist advocate and author of many books on atheism) will speak to the atheist side, and Chris Rex (Ivy Tech biology professor) will give perspective from the biological point of view.  Following this initial debate, the TV show will be a live call-in show shown semimonthly on cable TV networks.

We have a lot of exciting things happening in May so be sure to check our calendar or Facebook for more details.

Karen Mizner, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 5 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 5/6/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I4)

This will be my last President's letter.  I'm pushing 80 years, so I've decided to make room on the Board for more energetic and talented folks. I would like to welcome Victoria Gipson back to the Board.  I wish her great success in whatever capacity she will serve.  Also, my thanks to Chris Rex for signing on for another term.  He has contributed greatly to our accomplishments over the past year.
   
It has been an honor to serve our group and the mission of Secular Humanism.  I won't be going away.  I will continue to help with the mundane tasks of assisting with events, baking for Pi day, making pulled chicken for the picnic, making giant bubbles, and freezing in the wind and rain at Graveyard of the Gods.  Well, maybe not that last one.  I hope that by relieving the Board members of those tasks that they will have more time for developing strategy and plan for growing our group and spreading our message.
    
My thanks to all for your support and kindness.

Robert A. Brandt, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 4 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald, which was published on 4/4/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HHH V1 I3)

I'm writing this in the aftermath of yet another national tragedy, this time the killings in a Parkland, Florida high school. It's difficult to maintain any kind of positive outlook in the face of yet another such incident. I fall back on the first paragraph of Humanist Manifesto III: "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity."

This is in stark contrast to the outworn views being expressed wherever you look. To me, it is a light and guide in the midst of darkness. To those of us who adhere to this philosophy, it should be a clarion call to present our case to as many as are willing to listen.

My hope is that the Humanist Manifesto will give purpose to each, comfort the afflicted, and provide hope for the future. The last sentence of the Manifesto is also worth revisiting: "The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone."

Robert A. Brandt, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 3 of the Hoosier Humanist Herald (the name of the newsletter has changed from the Hoosier Herald), which was published on 3/4/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HH V1 I2)

2017 was a memorable year in many respects for FreeThought Fort Wayne.  We updated our by-laws, incorporated, refurbished our web site and started a newsletter.  I believe our organizational structure is secure.

Nominations for two open Board positions begin January 22nd and end February 26th. I hope many of you will be willing to serve either on the Board or as Trustee.  Voting will be held on March 18th at our regular Sunday meet up at Old Crown. To be qualified to vote you must be a paid-up member.  If you wish to support our group financially, see Karen Mizner at Old Crown at our Sunday meet up or go to our web site and use the "Donate" button.

We also need some help with our events.  As Steve Zimmerman says, people who are willing to "chop wood and carry water."  We can use help in staging events, such as acting as a greeter, setting up a display table, providing snacks and advertising.

We have a tentative schedule of events for 2018 so I hope this will be a year during which our past efforts will bear fruits.

Robert A. Brandt, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 2 of the Hoosier Herald, which was published on 2/3/18 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.

Message from the President (HH V1 I1)

Welcome to the first issue of the FreeThought Fort Wayne, Inc. newsletter, "The Hoosier Herald." The newsletter is the latest addition in our ongoing attempt to construct a strong foundation for our group. The Hoosier Herald will be e-mailed monthly to those who wish to receive it. The newsletter will include our calendar of upcoming events, member news if you would care to submit an item, board and member short articles, a quote or two of interest, and more!


We have been busy this year. We revised our bylaws so that we could become incorporated and that happened in May. We have redone our entire website and launched it via our new website platform provider. Kudos to Calyb T. for investigating and proposing the new software to the board and to Chris Rex for designing the entire new website. We continue to enhance the website with new features so stay tuned. Check it out at www.freethoughtfw.org.


Did you know that FTFW has two members who do weekly radio shows on the Allen County Public Library's radio station WELT 95.7 FM? Chris Rex hosts "Based on Facts" which airs on Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Calyb T. and others host "The Hoosier Humanist Hour" airing
Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. In addition, we are looking into producing a live call-in television series on the library's Access Fort Wayne TV station. Stay tuned for updates!


So, as you can see, we have been busy AND we want to hear from you. What would you like our group to do for community outreach, educational presentations or social activities? And, what can you do to help? Please direct your thoughts to fortwayneaha@gmail.com.


Robert Brandt, President of FTFW

This "Message from the President" was included in Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Hoosier Herald, which was published on 12/31/17 by FTFW. 

If you would like to view the entirety of that newsletter, you can view the online version here or the pdf here.