June 21st
World Humanist Day

World Humanist Day is a Humanist holiday celebrated annually worldwide on the June solstice, which usually falls on June 21. It is a day to celebrate Humanism and spread awareness of its philosophical life stance and means to effect change. Celebrating World Humanist Day is seen as an opportunity for Humanists to gather socially and promote the positive values of Humanism.


The first celebrations of World Humanist Day were convened by the American Humanist Association (AHA). Humanist International adopted it, and both organizations declared the formal celebration with twin resolutions on the same day.  


Please help us celebrate this important date in the Humanist calendar by becoming a member of Humanist Canada. Thank you for helping us share our vision for a compassionate society if you are a member. Each membership created is another voice for Humanism Canada, and our growing voices are getting noticed!  


Enjoy this edition of the Monthly News!  

Member Profile of the Month:
Tara Flynn
Hello! I've long identified as a humanist and recently became a member of Humanist Canada, and so happy to have joined this national organization! Years ago, after many years of identifying myself as an atheist (which never felt entirely right), I heard Stephen Fry speak on humanism and thought, "oh, I am actually a Humanist!". I immediately saw myself in humanism - my core beliefs in science, equity, and compassion - and was excited to find language that captured a fuller view of the world and a more affirmative stance than "atheism" can capture alone. 
I was sparked to join Humanist Canada after a touching request by my cousin to officiate her wedding. I've never been asked to officiate a wedding before and consider it a massive responsibility and a huge honor. My father is a retired Superior Court Judge who used to perform civil ceremonies at the special request of family and friends, and who officiated my own wedding ceremony 10 years ago, so I feel like I have had a window into the special nature of this role, its importance, and the preparation involved. In my own life, marriage has been an incredible teacher - I have learned, and continue to learn and grow so much through our married commitment as a couple, and would be so thrilled and honoured to bring these insights to this special role as an Officiant.
June is Pride Month 

With June being Pride Month, it’s an important time for 2SLGBTQ+ people and their families — and it’s an ideal time for Humanists to reflect on the hard-won rights and continued challenges faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community. One way in which many people celebrate Pride, and one of the most well-known events in any city’s Pride calendar, is the parade — and rightly so. Pride parades are an energetic and colourful celebration of what makes the 2SLGBTQ+ community so wonderful. But among the floats and fanfare, it’s important to remember where the parades began: as protests in the face of persecution.


The main precursor to today’s Pride parades were the “Gay liberation” marches, the first of which took place in the United States in June of 1970. The events in Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and New York City were organized to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a violent police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City that took place the year prior. Stonewall became an important symbol for the community — evidence that LGBTQ+ people were no longer going to tolerate oppression by police or anyone else. The goal of the anniversary parades was, and remains, to bring queer culture into traditionally heteronormative spaces.


Pride parades are now celebrated around the world, and while many, like those in Canada, are jubilant — in many countries they remain acts of resistance. It’s easy to forget, in a country where our major political leaders now march in Pride, that they are acts of defiance and solidarity. They are also only one highlight of an entire month of events. As Humanists, we should feel encouraged to demonstrate our solidarity through the many shows, concerts, vigils, talks, and opportunities to learn during Pride — while also being sure to enjoy a good parade.

Beginning June 8th at 6 pm EDT

We are pleased to announce our new "Members Connect Weekly Meetings" every Wednesday, 6.00 – 7.00 pm EDT, starting June 8. 


If you are a Humanist Canada member, join us to connect with other fellow members to catch up on the latest news, share your concerns and accomplishments, or just tell us what’s on your mind.


If you are a new member, stop by to say "Hi", learn more about our work, and make new friends!


Our weekly meetings take place every Wednesday, 6.00 – 7.00 pm EDT, on Zoom.


* This event is for current Humanist Canada members. Log into your account to register.


To join Humanist Canada click here.


Why Men Made God:

Our Past Explains Our Present

Why do we have only one god when there used to be so many? Where did the idea of marriage come from? How did the disparity between rich and poor begin?


Why Men Made God is a historical narrative that explores the evolution of modern Western culture, from Palaeolithic times to the present day. Using research from archaeology, anthropology, mythology, biology, sociology and history, it tells the story of what happened, why it happened and where we can go from here. Gradual changes in our attitudes toward gender and power, property, and earth become clear. The authors’ conclusions show that the primary impetus for developing Western culture was greed and exploitation on a grand scale. They show that our future as a species is uncertain without radical change.


It is a thought-provoking book, and the authors hope it will lead to changes in how we relate to the planet and one another. Since her early teens, concepts of mythology, culture, and social evolution have fascinated Karis Burkowski. Fifty years later, she is still enjoying that research.


Karis Burkowski has been a member of Interfaith Grand River since its inception in 2001 (just days after 9/11) and is a Past-President of the Society of Freethinkers (SOFREE). After walking the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in 2007, she presented talks about The Power of Pilgrimage, which she says extends far beyond any religious connection. In 2015, she co-authored a book about the evolution of modern Western culture.


Karis became a Humanist Officiant in 2019 and conducts her officiant practice as “Imagine Ceremonies.” She enjoys providing non-religious options to people wishing to celebrate Life’s important passages.

Coffee Chat: 
We hope you are enjoying our coffee chats! 
Have you ever walked El Camino de Santiago, Spain?
If you would you like to share your experience and offer tips to others who might be thinking about embarking on this memorable journey in a coffee chat, please email anna.popovitch@humanistcanada.ca
Also, are you knowledgeable and passionate about a salient topic?
Would you like to exchange your views with other HC members?
Or perhaps you know someone with an eye-opening story they'd like to share?
We are always looking for new and interesting topics and the best place to find them is with you!  Consider being a coffee chat guest. Email a brief proposal to anna.popovitch@humanistcanada.ca


Reproductive Rights
Are Canadians at risk of
losing these rights? 

Canadians are concerned with the recent news in the United States of the anticipated repeal of Roe v Wade by the US Supreme Court. The people most impacted by these types of decisions are the same people affected by barriers to abortion access.  These access barriers are trained physicians and practitioners providing care, geographic location, and money for those who need, want and have the right to care. Our concern lies in the question, "Can our laws on reproductive rights be repealed too?"  The short answer is, "They could!" 


In the 2021 federal budget, the government committed to providing $45 million over three years to improve Canadians' access, information, and services to sexual and reproductive health care. To date, nine projects have received $15.2 million in funding. On May 11th, the Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos and the Minister for Women and Gender Quality and Youth, Marci Ien, announced $3.5 million in funding to two more organizations that work to remove barriers to abortion services and provide accurate reproductive health information.


These investments are the government's commitment to:


Minister Duclos - "defend a woman’s right to choose while protecting and improving access to reproductive health services for all," and


Minister Ien - "We know that Indigenous, racialized and 2SLGBTQI+ communities face intersectional barriers when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and today's investment is another step toward breaking down these long-standing systemic issues. Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, and these projects will help build a more inclusive health care system.”


Action Canada received over $2 million to expand its Access Line and Sexual Health Information Hub Programs, which offer accurate sexual and reproductive health information and referrals. Action Canada will be providing financial help with travel and accommodation costs to those seeking assistance and logistical support. NAF Canada receives over $1.4 million to provide financial and logistical support to those seeking abortion services, train health care providers, and ensure abortion facilities can continue to provide services and related care.


The Ministers’ words show the government’s support. But, private members' bills continue to attempt to restrict our existing laws and rights, and 25% of current MPs support these restrictions. Anti-abortion organizations are well funded and continue to challenge the right to abortion in Canada.


Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."  These are our rights, and we must stand for continued access and promulgation of our position to all. 


Humanist Canada supports reproductive health rights by assisting the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics (OCAC) manage and fundraise for the Dr. Henry Morgentaler Scholarship Fund. This fund provides an annual scholarship to a physician training in surgical abortion. We are also allying with NAF Canada and OCAC to make the scholarship more widely available. This training was very near and dear to Dr. Morgentaler, and it is the basis of access to reproductive rights.


We MUST champion the human right to our reproductive rights.



If you want to protect reproductive rights in Canada, consider signing the petition from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada calling on our federal government to act now to honour several election promises vital to protecting and expanding abortion access across Canada.

Please donate to Dr. Henry Morgentaler Scholarship Fund so we may continue to train our physicians. 
Staffing Changes

Here at Humanist Canada, we have undergone some staffing changes.  


The Board of Directors has been a working board for many years, and as we have grown, it has become evident that the Board needs to move to a governance model. Therefore, the hiring of an Executive Director with the skills and experience to manage the day-to-day work is necessary.


Please be advised that Jag Parmar, Administrative Assistant, has left our employ. All emails are being forwarded to our new Executive Director. In the unlikely event that an email has not been responded to, we invite you to resend it.  


Ruth Henrich has taken on the role of Executive Director. Many of you will know that Ruth has been on the Board as our Treasurer. She has resigned her role on the Board to take up the mantle of ED. Ruth has been an integral part of Humanist Canada for many years and also contributes to the Ceremony and Officiants Committee. She is also an Officiant working in Grey & Bruce Counties. Ruth's knowledge of the organization and her administrative skills will assist the Board with its transition and keep the ship upright. You can contact Ruth at Executive.Director@humanistcanada.ca.  


We welcome Luis-Enrique Arrazola as our new Social Media Coordinator. Enrique is a freelance communications specialist working at the intersection of art, culture, design, technology and wellness. They work with organizations and institutes across North America and Europe and apply their cross-culture expertise in content creation, brand development and digital strategy services. Enrique returned to Canada in 2021 from working in Berlin for three years. They bring a wealth of experience to our social media platform, and we look forward to a very fruitful relationship.  

Humanist Canada endorses Humanism as a life stance. We promote the separation of religion from public policy and foster the development of reason, compassion, and critical thinking through education and community support. We are funded entirely through memberships and donations. Your involvement is incredibly significant and goes a long way to contribute to lasting change for a better society.
If you are not a member of HC, join Humanist Canada to continue your journey with us! You can also support our educational programs, including our webinar series and Public Humanities courses here: Donations
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