Nominations for the 2021 Board of Directors

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

By Chris Matthews

Minnesota Atheists holds elections for the Board of Directors every year. The board of directors consists of president, associate president, chair, associate chair, secretary, treasurer, and three directors at large. All positions are up for election each year. If you are interested in joining the board or would like to know more about a board position, please contact any current board member and/or attend the January Business Meeting.

To be eligible for office, the nominee must have been a dues-paying member for at least one year prior to the date of assuming office, except for director-at-large nominees who must have been a member for six months prior instead. If you’re interested in being on the board but do not meet these qualifications, consider getting your dues in now so you may qualify next year.

The elections will take place on February 21st during the February Business Meeting at 1:15 p.m. This meeting will be held virtually due to COVID. The new board will take effect on March 1, 2021.

Please see the nominee statements below.

Ben Blanchard, President

In my candidate statement last year, I wrote with hope about what could happen in 2020. Unfortunately the year became more difficult than anyone could have expected.

Fortunately, even though we are not yet though this difficult period, we can see a brighter day on the horizon. While I’m not sure exactly what Minnesota Atheists will look like for the next several months, nor the more distant future, I am sure that we are stronger together. I look forward to working hard with our board and membership at large to forge the best 2021 we can.

Stephanie Zvan, Associate President

I believe in working to forge and strengthen relationships with national organizations in the secular movement and leveraging some of those relationships to help MNA meet its local goals. I’m working with the Center for Inquiry to push Minnesota to finally allow marriage officiants from atheist and secular humanist groups who don’t identify as religious. Working with Secular Woman (where I’m also a board member) and Black Nonbelievers, I’ve helped organize two Secular Women Work conferences in Minnesota in partnership with MNA. I’m excited to work on other partnerships that can help us do more without consuming all our resources.

Heather Hegi, Chair

I have been a dedicated volunteer and member of the board of Minnesota Atheists since 2012. I am happy to serve the board as Chair as it’s the position I have held for the majority of my time on the board. I look forward to being a part of this year’s board as we work as a team to keep
Minnesota Atheists relevant and active through this pandemic. I am a passionate atheist who sees religious thinking as harmful to society, suppressing science and critical reasoning. Since religions are widespread, I think this organization is an important voice of reason.

Kamrin Duncan, Associate Chair

This will by my 3rd year on the board and I am now moving from a Director-at-Large into the Associate Chair position. I write a monthly article for the MNA newsletter called Kamrin’s Corner and hosted a couple of blood drives this past year. I am always amazed with the amount of work that MNA does for Minnesota and the atheist community, and although 2020 was a bit different, MNA has continued to provide a safe community for atheists and secular-minded individuals despite the limitations of social distancing. We are still connecting through social media, online events, and safely-distanced community engagement. I am excited for the opportunity to continue working with the MNA board and to see what the future holds as we head into the new year.

Chris Matthews, Treasurer

I am a Minnesota native and a life member of Minnesota Atheists. I personally value positive atheism and the separation of government and religion. I have served on the board as treasurer since 2011. I am proud to help provide the infrastructure that the organization needs to pursue goals that we collectively find worthwhile, and I look forward to continuing in this role.

Alyssa Ehni, Secretary

I am excited to have been nominated to continue serving Minnesota Atheists as Secretary. I so enjoy this community and the many wonderful people in it. The past year was difficult and I have seen (and been on the receiving end of) our community supporting one another. Continuing to foster fellowship and build our community in the ways we are currently able are important tasks for the coming year.

Hertzey Hertz, Director-at-Large

Many years ago I found myself looking for an atheist social circle. I had read lots of blogs and even started to listen to a couple of podcasts. But I missed having events to go to on a regular basis. I found, through Meetup, the Minnesota Atheists, and specifically the Newbie Night and Godless Gamers. Through these events, I found many friends and events to occupy my extroverted self. As I enjoyed the events, I became curious about the leadership and started to attend board meetings as a general member. It did not take long for me to become a Director at Large. During my tenure I held multiple roles on the board, planned the Solstice Dinner of 2016 and 2018, and was head of the radio show. After a sabbatical, I have accepted the nomination for Director at Large. I am very excited to see how I can help our community grow and flourish. Thank you!

Dane Haverly, Director at Large

Mike Trombley, Director at Large

My view is that many people are de facto atheists, whether formal members of MN Atheists (MNA) or non-believers “on their own.” I think of MNA as a group where the broad societal expectation of “we’re religious so you must be also” is gone. It’s a relief to be around or socialize with others without pretending to be something I am are not.

I have put in many hours of community service volunteering since retiring a few years ago. It seems true that religious groups are often the primary means to get some specific charity action accomplished or launched. I’ve often felt obligated to remain a closeted atheist while helping others within a religious-based charity. As a Director of MNA, I’d like to help make it easier for any and all atheists to feel comfortable with their non-belief in society. In particular, I’d like to initiate some additional ways to show that a non-belief doesn’t diminish our interest or value in society. Lastly, I’d like to add my voice to many others, stating the perceived rights of the religious do NOT override the rights of the non-religious. Religion and government should never mix.

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