Humanists of West Florida

July, 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue...

• From the President, Past

• First Friday FreeUp: William Missouri Downs: The Constitution, Thomas Paine, and The Treaty of Tripoli

• Share Your Voice

• Discovering Myself a Humanist: Taylor Wells-Part 2

• Introducing our new HWF Board of Directors

• Membership Drive

• Get Involved! HWF Committee Action

• Adopt-A-Highway

• Opportunity to make a difference!

• Partners for Secular Activism


Dear Members and Friends,

I know you thought you'd gotten rid of me, but not quite yet. While I have handed the baton over to the next HWF Board of Directors, I will continue to pull together the most up-to-date information for our newsletter. Next month, however, you will see some words from the new president! Please read below to learn about our new board members.

There's much more in this newsletter! Don't miss out on our First Friday FreeUp! We have an excellent speaker that you won't want to miss. We've also got Part 2 from Taylor Wells' ongoing story of his experience as a humanist in prison.

This next part is important...

We need you! Whether you are able to pitch in to help with ongoing projects, or just a one-time thing, or maybe you want to help support what we're doing by becoming an official member or even making additional (tax deductible!) donations to help us work towards our mission, each and every person is important to the success and future of this organization.

As the outgoing president, I'm asking you to consider becoming a member, to invite friends and family to become members, and most of all, renew your membership now. Together we can work to make this a better place.

Thank you!

Rose Jansen

HWF Past President


First Friday FreeUp: William Missouri Downs: The Constitution, Thomas Paine, and The Treaty of Tripoli

Friday, July 4, 5:45-7:00pm 

Bayview Senior Center

2000 E Lloyd St, Pensacola, FL 32503
Cross Streets: Near the intersection of E Lloyd St and N 20th Ave on Bayou Texar north of Cervantes

The Topic: William Missouri Downs: The Constitution, Thomas Paine, and The Treaty of Tripoli

Bill Downs, an American playwright, director and author will be speaking at our July First Friday FreeUp.

Bill's plays have been produced by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, The San Diego Rep, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Salt Lake City Acting Company, the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the
International Theatre Festival in Israel, the Stadt Theater Walfischgasse in Austria, the Jewish Theatre of Toronto, The Bloomington Playwright's Project, the Detroit Rep, the New York City Fringe Festival, the Civic Opera House in downtown Chicago, the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa, and over 100 other theatres worldwide. A member of the National New Play Network, Bill has also developed dozens of new plays.

These events are free but donations are accepted to cover the cost of the facility rental.


Would you like to guest post in our newsletter or our blog?

We want to keep our newsletter informative, and local. If you are interested in writing about local events and activities, inform readers about local personalities activities in our greater communities, or even have photos or artwork related to humanism you'd like to share, please submit your 500 words or less article by the 20th of each month for consideration. (Not all submissions will be published, depending on the space available.)

This is the second installment of Wells' story. I'm sure you will be as intrigued and touched by his story as we have been.

Discovering Myself a Humanist-Part 2

On May 1, 1993 I was arrested. That Saturday morning officers took me from my apartment to a local jail and then on to the county detention center where I was to stay overnight and see the judge the following morning. I braved that first night just knowing for certain the judge was going to drop the charges and release me. There was no way I could imagine still being incarcerated over 21 years later.

Read more.


Introducing the 2014-15 HWF Board of Directors

We're happy to announce that our new board of directors! Please welcome:

Kay Rudolf has experience teaching, developing training programs, researching and organizing. She's had experience with nonprofit organizations and is interested in community service, policy development and program evaluation among other things.

Buz Ryland is running for a second term, currently serving as the HWF treasurer. "I've enjoyed immensely being on the HWF board this past year, and would look forward to another term to help advance and grow the chapter."

Amanda Kondrat'yev is a business student at UWF and the mother of two daughters raised without religion. Amanda experience in finance, accounting, human resources, fundraising, and grant writing among other things.

Suren Shah is running for a second term, currently serving as the HWF vice president. "There is two aspects of the growing group like Humanists of West Florida. Community Building and Community Service. I can help in both areas; although I get more into the Community Service projects."

Michael Fulford is running for a second term, currently serving as a member-at-large on the HWF BOD. Michael has provided connection to the greater humanist community through his work with New Covenant Group and his skeptics YouTube show. to our chapter.:

Charles Stauffer has management experience that will be beneficial to our chapter. His experience includes the areas of fianance, accounting, personnel, community service, outreach and advocacy among other things.

Sedona Strong: Sodona's skills, experience, and interests include administration, management, Community service, Program evaluation, public relations, communications, education, instruction, outreach, advocacy.

HWF Membership Application

Membership Drive!

It's time to renew your membership! 

We appreciate our members that have supported us in getting this chapter of the American Humanist Association going, but we still need your help!

Our membership year goes from July to July. Our first year was only a partial year so we extended memberships through our next full year. We need you to rejoin!

With the help of your financial support, HWF has been able to accomplish a lot over the last year and a half. 

Join us, whether it be in person, or with your financial support!

Here's a list of some of the things we've done so far:

• Gave out Personal Care Packets for the Homeless

• Adopted 2 miles of Nine Mile Road for beautification

• Purchased and gave out 500 pounds of food to families in need

• Began monthly FreeUps to build social community and spark discussion

• Received $1500 grant from AHA

• Received several generous donations from local businesses and individuals

• We'd like to do so much more, but we need YOUR help! Come join us!


Get Involved!


Want to get involved in some of our activities and help build our humanist community? Contact the committee chairs and find out how you can help!

You can find a brief outline of our committee structure HERE.


• FFM Chair/Contact Person: Suren Shah - Email:

• Team Leaders: Buz Ryland, Michael Fulford, Rose Jansen


• CCP Chair/Contact Person: Rose Jansen - Email:

• Team Leaders: Michael Fulford, Dayna Beddick, Amanda Kondrat'yev


• PPE Chair/Contact Person: Buz Ryland - Email:

• Team Leaders: Barry Fulford, Dayna Beddick, Suren Shah

Team leader emails:

Michael Fulford:

Barry Fulford:

Dayna Beddick:

Amanda Kondrat'yev:


NOTICE: This will continue to run in the newsletter to keep members and friends updated about this opportunity.

Here's your chance to get involved and make a difference, right here in Pensacola!

Old News: The City Council and County Commission still offer invocations (almost exclusively Xtian prayers) before every meeting.

Good News: Anyone can deliver an invocation! You just have to ask. From what I can tell, they need volunteers. I've done it three times, offering non-prayers and mocking pan/non-theist prayers. We need more! PLEASE PARTICIPATE. Here's how.

CITY: Contact Ericka Burnett ( and ask to be included on the list. Don't accept no for an answer. You don't have to be a clergyman, nor should you be put off for months. Currently, they have a list of local churches they ask and they have a hard time finding speakers. Why not fill that list with free thinkers?

COUNTY: Contact a commissioner. They choose who will speak. Yes, they mostly pick Xtians too. Here is the rotation: 

July 10, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
July 24, 2014 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson
August 7, 2014 District 2 – Commissioner Valentino
August 21, 2014 District 3 – Commissioner May
September 4, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
September 25, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
October 9, 2014 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson
October 23, 2014 District 2 – Commissioner Valentino
November 6, 2014 District 3 – Commissioner May
November 20, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
December 11, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
January 8, 2015 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson

PLEASE, let's get some diversity into this archaic, religion-dominated practice. 

Here's some information about giving a secular invocation.

If you'd like to know more about getting involved in offering a humanist/secular invocation at a meeting, or discuss this more, contact David Suhor at 850 512-2220.


Partners for Secular Activism

Partners for Secular Activism is a new nonprofit educational organization based in the Washington DC area. The PSA President is John Shook, PhD., and you can email him at

The mission of Partners for Secular Activism is to facilitate education about secular, scientific, and civic issues and activities for the public. By bringing knowledgeable scholars and expert communicators together with audiences wanting more information about issues that matter to their lives, we will elevate the general understanding of reasoning, science, civics, ethics, and topical issues affecting the public. Courses announced by PSA are open to anyone, and they deliver educational value for everyone. (

Upcoming online workshops:

• July: Kile Jones and Ryan Bell on Boundary Crossings: Talking, Thinking, and Working with Christians

Only $59 for a one month course. Course readings, lectures, and forums for discussions between instructor and students are within the website classroom. There is nothing “live” to be missed – participate anytime day or night, 24/7.


How are we using Social Media?

We now have a Facebook group!

If you hang out on Facebook, please come join us for conversation!

We also have a Meetup group to schedule our community service projects so please join it and choose to receive emails from that group if you'd like to participate! 

Also, please "like" our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, circle us on Google+ (follow links below)!


Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might be interested! If you look at the top of this newsletter in your email box, you should see a link that says, "Display problems? View this newsletter in your browser." Click that link and when it opens in your browser, copy and paste it into an email or on Facebook or other favorite social media.

Not a member yet? Join us today!

 Like what we're doing and want to help HWF out financially? We're a 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible! Thank you!


The Mission of the Humanists of West Florida...

,,,is to facilitate the advancement of humanist thought and action in Pensacola and surrounding areas by interconnecting groups of humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious. We will strive for equal participation in government and societal life through building strategic partnerships with other humanist and freethought organizations and with our religious neighbors to advance the greater good of humanity.