Everyday Humanist Hero: Bryon Pavlacka

TheHumanist.com’s series Everyday Humanist Heroes celebrates our movement’s group organizers, activists, support staff, and volunteers making a difference in their communities. Who do you want to celebrate?

Bryon Pavlacka is an everyday humanist hero because he continuously works hard to make the world a better place for all. If everyone was even just a little bit more like Bryon, the world would be a pretty awesome place—but at least we have one of him!

Bryon is a tireless champion of critical reasoning and science both professionally as a teacher—focusing most of his teaching on math and sciences—and in his personal life through interactions with his friends. In 2019, after living in China as a teacher, he returned to the United States and found a humanist group which I started in 2016. For our group, he has arranged fun activities like science experiments, actively researched and prepared positions for formal debates on important topics, and encouraged others to learn about and join the humanist movement locally and nationally. This past May he became a leader in the organization and is now one of our senior leaders.

Not only has Bryon been a strong advocate for critical reasoning and science, but he’s also been a great force for good. He understands that humanism is more than just not worshipping gods. It’s about using our empathy to take positive and productive action in society on all levels. He has a deep appreciation for the value of building real humanist communities and a dedication to better humankind. To do that, he’s had to get over his own biases, fears, and habits. I admire how he is able to show humility and learn from others, always striving to understand better and grow.

Whether acting as an independent volunteer or organizing others, Bryon finds countless ways to serve the community and inspire us all. When a member of our local group had a concussion, Bryon made dinner for them and their caregiver. He has cleaned up trash on the street, assisted people moving, helped people clean their homes, and visited people in the hospital. He’s helped organize really effective charity efforts for homeless people in our community, supported a whole community in committing to a reducetarian lifestyle, done humanist outreach, and marched in Pride parades. Bryon has also been open about his mental health struggles to encourage others to get the care they need and understand that they are not alone.

I greatly appreciate knowing and being able to work with Bryon on so many meaningful projects. He believes that our small acts of compassion have a tremendous ripple effect across space and time. “Once I truly understood the power of my simple actions, I found so much purpose in my life. That purpose filled me with the energy to keep going. To be a human on planet earth is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Make the most of it!”