MHA Newsletter - January 2017

Hello, fellow humans!

It’s 2017! Welcome to the future! It’s a good time to renew your commitment to your local humanist group, and renew your membership! The Mississippi Humanist Association (MHA) relies entirely on your membership dues and donations to exist. We are the only chapter of the American Humanist Association in Mississippi and we appreciate your support! We’ve made it easier than ever to donate with our splendid new website  - which costs money to run and host! We put all our event info, news, and past newsletters here, as well. The money goes from everything from paying local artists for our graphic designs, to buying the shirts, bumper stickers, and pens that we give away at our events, to hosting speakers, running our meetup group, and of course, our Annual Membership Meeting.

Yes, the annual meeting is right around the corner, on February 11, 2017! We desperately need new nominees to serve on the Board of Directors. As of this moment, THREE of our FIVE directors are NOT running for re-election. Without nominations, the Board of Directors may downsize to a three person board. Nobody wants this. Nobody wants a three person MHA board - the current five are all working quite hard to keep things rolling, and having a three person board would hamper our efforts to continue building a strong secular community here in Mississippi. There is only so much each board member can do, and we want to continue to grow!

So how can you help? Simple. Nominate someone to run for the Board of Directors! Yes, you can nominate yourself. The only caveat is that you must be a member of the MHA in good standing. Just submit your nomination via email by January 28, 2017 so we can prepare the ballots. However, if you can’t make this deadline, write-ins will be accepted at the annual meeting.

At the annual meeting, we’ll also be proposing two amendments to the bylaws to be voted on by the membership:

First, an amendment to elect members to officer positions. Currently, the membership simply chooses individuals to run for the Board of Directors, and then the directors appoint positions. This change would make the election a bit more important, as the membership would directly choose who was in what position - instead of simply electing a director, you would elect a president, a vice president, and all the other positions. This would lead to a brand new election of directors NEXT YEAR in 2018.

Second, due to the confusing nature in which memberships are currently being kept track of, we are also proposing a change in the way dues are administered. Instead of membership being due on January 1st, we want to move to a more traditional "year of date" membership, in which your membership is due one year out from the date you joined. Because of this change, and the confusing nature of our current membership structure, we will propose that all lapsed members be considered "paid-in-full" for voting purposes at the annual meeting. If this change is approved by the majority of the voting members in attendance, the rule will go into effect retroactively, allowing year-to-date memberships to become the norm.

If you become part of the Board of Directors, you’ll get to do things like “remind the membership that we’re ending the book drive with Big House Books!” EXCITING!

By the way, we’re about to end our book drive with Big House Books. We have 20+  books donated and more on the way, so we’ll need to have a packing party with BHB volunteers sometime soon. Get ready, and if you haven’t donated a few books from the list, do so now! You’re also barreling toward the Humanist Happy Hour on the 18th, at Buffalo Wild Wings off of Lake Harbour in Ridgeland. You can check out the details here and if you don’t know if you’d like our events, check out the last one: The Second Sunday Brunch, which was at the Corner Bakery in Flowood this month. It’s always on the Second Sunday of the month, and you can always find the details on our Facebook page and our website and meetup dot com.

Finally, our state leadership is attempting to mandate, at the point of fines for a school, the Pledge of Allegiance. Even without the anti-humanist addition of “One Nation, under God,” the forced ritual of obedience is against freedom of thought and individuality. You know what to do - it’s not a law yet, so get in there and make your voice heard.

Thanks Humans!

Patrick Jerome
Mississippi Humanist Association
Communications Officer