The state of our union in HAPI is strong!
Mabuhay and hello to the Board of Trustees, our officers and of course, to our membership and friends of the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International. The state of the union is strong in HAPI.
The Year after “The law of natural selection took place”.
The year 2018 has brought new leadership into our organization with our new officers, Alvin John Ballares, Executive Director, CFO, Edwin (Dwengster) Bulaclac, Jr., Juan Miguel Silva, Internal Auditor, Jamie del Rosario Martinez, Executive Secretary, an amazing Board of Trustees, HAPI, chapters throughout the Republic of the Philippines and an international membership stocked full of passionate and dedicated humanists. We have over 7k members of our HAPI FB page. We have a twitter account. People through Asia and world-wide listen to us and await announcements. Our leadership as an organization of humanists in thought, philosophy and action is unmatched.
Our work will continue.
Our outreach as a humanist organization has always included our core programs of the Nutri-camp, SHADE and ARK, but 2018 saw new efforts, outreach and partnerships including our “Green Movement” and forming relationships with the LGBTQ Alliance. We have spread the good and rational news of Humanism and equality to many through our actions as individuals and as the HAPI organization. Everyone should be proud of what has been created and what we have accomplished this year. I am proud and humbled every day to be a part of something as great as HAPI.
The Road ahead at the HAPI- General Assembly in Bacolod, Philippines.
In 2017 we have had great challenges and struggles. But if there is no struggle, then there is no progress. Many of our humanist members resigned, walked out or left HAPI to pursue other paths in their lives. For me, when people follow their aspirations and dreams in life, I can only wish them well and success in their new endeavors. However, this action left us with a void and one that needed to be filled immediately. Fortunately for us, the void did not stay a void for long. Our members volunteered. Our members stepped up and filled those voids. The BOT and Officers was reorganized. I have worked with a few NFP’s over my years and the Officers we have in HAPI are unmatched for their dedication and love for the organization, its membership, humanity, and our environment. This love and dedication always inspires me and gives me that “second wind” when I tire. Alongside our programs this year we have taken on the General Assembly 2018 themed “The Road Ahead”. How fitting a name for our 2018 gathering. The program we have prepared for the GA 2018, the venue and other events during the three day Assembly hopefully will inspire, be thought provoking and motivate us for action over the next year. Special thanks go out to our Bacolod Chapter for their tireless efforts and work to make the General Assembly a success.
The state of the union in HAPI is strong.
So as we end 2018 and move toward a new year, let me tell you the state of our union as humanists and as an organization is strong. We have had challenges. We have had a setback or two, we overcame all adversity that was thrown in our path and we came out winning. I mean, how could we not? Humanism is at stake.
As a new Chairman in 2019 replacing Ms. M.
In 2019 I will be sworn in as the new chairperson for HAPI. Let me tell you friends…this humbles me. My heart beats hard and fast when I think of the awesome responsibility that I have inherited and been given through this selection. My example for leadership as I assume this position is of course epic, as our current leader and chairperson is none other than the HAPI Founder, Ms. Marissa Torres Langseth, RN, MSN, ANP. Marissa or Ms. “M” as she is fondly referred has been so much more than our “Chair” Marissa is our “rock”. Ms. M. has dedicated her life to HAPI and humanism in the Philippines and world-wide. Marissa has kept us afloat when the organization might otherwise have sunk. Marissa does not hold back her love or passion, dedication and spirit. I personally am humbled and grateful for all Ms. M does for us. I am humbled and grateful for all that Marissa does for me as a friend and colleague individually in spreading the good news of humanism.
New strategies for 2019: Membership and fund raising.
2019 will be another challenging year I am sure. I want to keep our existing programs strong. As a focus this year however, I would like to add a few new efforts internal to the organization. We need work on growing our membership. Both paid and non-paid membership needs to increase in number. Paid membership is important for us to function as Not for Profit Corporation. As a NFP we need a revenue stream and membership dues, even if small can help provide that. We need more members in general because as we grow, we cannot recycle the same people over and over again. Our members no matter how dedicated and passionate they are to humanism can get burnt out. We always need have that passion and energy that comes with a new member. We also need to look to outside of our friends and members for funding opportunities. We cannot rely on the same individuals and groups to fund our activities over and over again. They just like or membership can get tired. So with that I propose that we have two new committees in 2019; MEMBERSHIP and FUND RAISING. While these committees of course will have some overlapping efforts I believe that without strong membership and funding of our organization, our efforts will not fulfill our mission completely of promoting secular humanism.
My request as the new Chairman.
I have one more request directly from my heart. As the new Chair in 2019, I will need your help. I am speaking now individually to our membership, our BOT’s and Officers. The challenges I will face as the new Chair will be immense. It will take all I have to live up to the legacy left for me by our current Chairperson. I live 12,000 miles or about 19,500 km from the Philippines. There is a 12 hour time difference between us. I am not a Filipino. My understanding of Tagalog is limited. But my passion for HAPI and the people of the Philippines is strong. I know that with your help I can do it. So if I send you an email, pm or text asking for your help. Please say “yes” J . Remember to fulfill our destiny as an organization we have to work together. Great acts require small deeds…what I like to call “tactical humanism”. Short term actions that create long term change. We are in this world “together”. So let’s function in this organization “together”. Remember why we are here. Thicken our skins and egos. Put the shoulder to the wheel and “push”. This world is greater than you or I. Secular humanism and love for human kind and non-human animals will change and save this world. Let’s be a part of that change.
In closing I want to let everyone know I am excited about our upcoming General Assembly in October. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I am excited to hear the speakers, to see the venue, and I know as always I will be humbled to be around our membership . . . and who knows, I might even eat Balut.
Michael Sherman, AICP
Assistant Chairperson, International Liaison Officer
Incoming Chairperson, 2019
Urban Planner based in Florida, USA