Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists. If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place. We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events. All are free and open to the public. Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more…we welcome you to join us!
Please note: MEETINGS AT THE LIBRARY ARE TEMPORARILY ON HOLD. We are meeting outside in person when possible, and on Zoom as schedules allow. Check the Upcoming Events below for details.
In the last six months, four of our fellow Grand Traverse Humanists have died. We are saddened by the loss of Ed Rom, Walter Foote, Mark Gustafson, and Gordon Grimm. Let us remember them well.
- G.T. Humanists Book Club: Caste
Sunday, May 23, 6 p.m. via Zoom
Grand Traverse Humanists will meet virtually to discuss Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” Join us for a discussion of Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. Register for this free event here on Zoom: https://us02web
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Amazon summary: “In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.
Beautifully written, original, and revealing, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.”
- G.T. Humanists Meeting: National Writers Series
Monday, April 12, 7 p.m. via Zoom
Grand Traverse Humanists present Doug and Anne Stanton with a talk about the National Writers Series. They’ll discuss founding and running this nonprofit and what it’s meant to them and the community. NWS is a year-round book festival which also works to build student reading and writing skills by offering poetry workshops at Traverse Heights and Blair Elementary and Battle of the Books, a reading competition for hundreds of area children. NWS also helped found Front Street Writers, a professional writing class held in partnership with the TBA-ISD.
Doug is a New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers, which was made into a Jerry Bruckheimer film and renamed 12 Strong. He also wrote In Harm’s Way and The Odyssey of Echo Company. Prior to writing books, Doug wrote for national magazines, including Outside, Men’s Journal and Esquire.
Anne is a former reporter for the Sacramento Bee, Traverse City Record-Eagle, and Northern Express. She recently stepped down as the executive director of the National Writers Series after serving for five and a half years. She now freelance writes and serves as editorial director at Mission Point Press.
This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. Click here to register for this free meeting, and receive your own unique link to join.
- G.T. Humanists Book Club: Stacey Abrams “Our Time is Now”
Sunday, March 28, 6 p.m. via Zoom
We will gather virtually to discuss “Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America” by Stacey Abrams. Amazon description: “A recognized expert on fair voting and civic engagement, Abrams chronicles a chilling account of how the right to vote and the principle of democracy have been and continue to be under attack. Abrams would have been the first African American woman governor, but experienced these effects firsthand, despite running the most innovative race in modern politics as the Democratic nominee in Georgia. Abrams didn’t win, but she has not conceded. The book compellingly argues for the importance of robust voter protections, an elevation of identity politics, engagement in the census, and a return to moral international leadership.
Our Time Is Now draws on extensive research from national organizations and renowned scholars, as well as anecdotes from her life and others’ who have fought throughout our country’s history for the power to be heard. The stakes could not be higher. Here are concrete solutions and inspiration to stand up for who we are now.
‘This is a narrative that describes the urgency that compels me and millions more to push for a different American story than the one being told today. It’s a story that is one part danger, one part action, and all true. It’s a story about how and why we fight for our democracy and win.’ –Stacey Abrams”
Click here to register for the Zoom meeting.
- Virtual Meeting: Karen Puschel Segal, “From D-Day to the Founding of the U.N.”
Monday, March 8, 7 p.m. via Zoom
As we march further from 1945, fewer and fewer people remain who were firsthand witnesses to the rise of the postwar order, which has framed our world for the past 75 years. Hear directly from two members of our Greatest Generation, Dick Grout and Isabel Kulski, who were personally involved in military and diplomatic efforts 75 years ago. Karen Puschel Segal of the International Affairs Forum will introduce the two videotaped interviews and facilitate a Q & A afterwards.
Click here to register for this free event; once you register, you will receive your own unique link to join the Zoom meeting.
- Virtual Meeting: “To Catch a Bird” with William Scharf
Monday, February 8, 7 p.m. via Zoom
Grand Traverse Humanists present William Scharf with a program called, “To Catch a Bird: the Art and Science.” William will talk about his background of bird capture in nine U.S. states and one foreign country, and his present project with the Leelanau Conservancy. He’ll cover his early work with birds of prey, island biology, and methods used to capture birds, with a special emphasis on arthropods parasitic on migrant birds in Leelanau County. To register for the meeting, click here.
William Scharf has a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (medical/veterinary entomology-bird parasites), is an honorary Elected Member of the American Ornithologist’s Society, and taught 30 years at Northwestern Michigan College. Since retirement, he’s held teaching and research positions with the University of Nebraska, Western Maryland College, and Lake Superior State University. He has many publications on birds, small mammals, fleas, lice, ticks, and tapeworms.
- Virtual Hungry Humanists: Casserole Night!
Monday, December 28, 6:30 p.m.
Join us for a virtual dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom from the comfort of your home. Make your choice of casserole, then meet to show (and eat) your casserole creation. Healthy Chef Ali Lopez will be joining us at 7 to give us some yummy winter casserole tips and tricks.
Click here to register in advance for this free event.
You will receive your own link to join after registering.