Everyday Humanist Hero: Celebrate Extraordinary Humanist Susan Sackett

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP) is excited to present Susan Sackett with our Extraordinary Humanist Award on September 18. All are welcome to join the celebration virtually or in person (includes lunch). The event will include stories, games, and special surprises.

Susan has been giving her interest and energy to HSGP since 1994 when she moved to Arizona from California. As HSGP membership expanded and a board of directors was formed, Susan became even more involved, serving first as the secretary, then the vice president, and, finally, as president from 2000-2010. We say she boldly led HSGP into the 21st century.

During this time, the group began searching for an alternative, permanent meeting space. After many years of gathering amazing speakers and humanist members in coffee shops, restaurants, and hotel meeting rooms that HSGP would always outgrow, we finally had the opportunity (thanks to generous donors) to own our own community center in Mesa, Arizona. Susan played a key role in finding our building and securing funding for its purchase and upkeep. In her January 2011 article in TheHumanist.com, Susan shared how HSGP’s dedicated members overcame five years of redrawn plans, city regulations, and unexpected expenses to prepare for our new home.

More than just a fantastic space with a huge meeting hall, children’s room and play yard, lending library, full kitchen, and gender-neutral bathrooms, our Humanist Community Center is a home for our history, our legacy, and our future. This year, we’ve added a Little Free Library and a Little Free Food Pantry that are open to the public. As always, we continue to host Sunday Speakers twice monthly, now along with other educational and supportive programs such as Intersectional Book Study, Leaving Religion Discussion Group, and SMART Recovery. The Humanist Community Center also gives us the space for celebrating important events like our annual Darwin Day Fish Fry and Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner.

In addition to her decade as HSGP president, Susan also served on the American Humanist Association board from 2006-2018 (for some years as secretary) and the Humanists International board (then called International Humanist and Ethical Union) from 2011-2017. She is a lifetime member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and has been a certified Humanist Celebrant with The Humanist Society since 2001.

Before moving to Arizona, Susan was executive assistant to the late Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) for seventeen years until his death in 1991. She co-wrote several Star Trek: The Next Generation scripts and is the author of ten non-fiction books about the entertainment industry. During her time on Star Trek, Susan learned about humanism through Gene as well as Isaac Asimov. She often gives talks and interviews on “Humanism in Star Trek” and “The Humanist Philosophy of Gene Roddenberry.”

Among Susan’s favorite things are traveling to new places, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures. With her time in Star Trek, and then serving on the board of Humanists International, she’s been all around the world and visited every continent except Antarctica, though she would love to take a cruise there someday. Susan also loves animals, especially dogs. She’s had seven of them in her life. Her current dog, Riley, is pictured with her.

Susan’s Star Trek celebrity, along with her unending dedication to humanism and HSGP, make her an inspiration to so many people. Susan has used her celebrity to spread the message of humanism, but she is modest about her accomplishments, not wanting to boast or have a fuss made over her. She deserves to be celebrated because she teaches us so much about how people can make a difference in their communities and how to live our humanist values. Please join HSGP in recognizing Susan Sackett as an Extraordinary Humanist on September 18.