A Message from Executive Director Nadya Dutchin

(December 3, 2021) — “The only constant in life is change.” – Heraclitus

There are few things more daunting than change, particularly when you feel comfortable and in a good place in the world. My predecessor, Roy Speckhardt, did a staggering amount of work over the last two decades to build the AHA, its membership, and programs into the impressive and powerful place it now sits. When he left in August, he was clear that it was time for the AHA to become more reflective of the society we want to see so that we can better address the urgent needs of people and our society as a demonstration of our humanist principles. Roy knew that the nuanced, lived experience of a person of color, a woman, and/or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community was needed to strengthen our position as humanists today to propel the AHA and its membership forward into the future. Therefore, I am here to ensure that Roy’s vision for the AHA is realized by connecting my knowledge of climate, environmental, and social justice issues and the powerful relationships I’ve cultivated with justice movement leaders to inform how the AHA expands humanism in diverse communities and becomes a more vocal ally to changemakers in the U.S.

The AHA will always continue to do our important legal, policy and education work around issues including separation of church and state, fighting religious nationalism, and countering discrimination against nontheists. As a country, we are at a critical impasse and cannot continue to be naive or turn a blind eye to the historical suffering of communities that have been crushed by multi-layered systemic oppression. As humanists, it is incumbent upon us to provide compassionate solutions to society’s challenges rooted in common sense, rational thought, and science-based empirical evidence. Humanism is a worthy intellectual pursuit that must continue to evolve; however, it calls on us to be servant-leaders in the world through our actions. Who are we as a larger community if we are not dismantling broken systems and collaborating with affected communities to generate kind, sustainable, humanist solutions that ameliorate human suffering? James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” and now is the time for a renaissance. We must face our collective, historical truth as American humanists and work together to close and heal the gaping wounds that will assuredly continue to hinder us from meaningful societal progress.

We, as your AHA Staff, are excited about being bold in our words and actions with our members to create a deeply diverse and more youthful community of humanists to breathe new life into our movement and ensure our longevity.

To each and every AHA member, partner, donor, and supporter, I am profoundly grateful for your past support, as we could not advance humanism and humanist values without you. I welcome your insights, knowledge, connections, resources, and support (financial or otherwise) that can facilitate and nourish the intentional growth planned for the AHA and our membership. Cheers to our success and a restful, enjoyable winter break!

Yours, In humanism,

Nadya Dutchin