Author Archives: cynthianne1000

In Memoriam: Allen Robnett


Allen Robnett, HSNM’s past president, passed away of natural causes on June 2nd 2021 at the age of 87.

Allen had a lifelong love of learning for himself and for all those around him. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at Princeton University in 1956, he moved to Albuquerque where he began work at Sandia National Labs. While at Sandia, he completed a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of New Mexico. In 1970, he moved with his family to Gallatin, Tennessee and began teaching physics and math at Gallatin High School. He taught there for nearly 40 years, during which time he introduced aviation and astronomy curricula that were among the first in the state. With help from students and other volunteers, Allen built an observatory atop the Gallatin High gym to house a telescope loaned by an area university. In recognition of his outstanding teaching career, he was awarded the Alan Shepherd Technology and Education Award and the Air Force Association National Aerospace Teacher of the Year award.

Allen deeply loved flying and began soaring while still in Albuquerque. He accrued the necessary flight hours and additional ratings to become a certified flight instructor. In Tennessee, Allen owned two Cessna airplanes and used them for flight instruction, data gathering for the TVA, cargo transport, banners-for-hire, and even a little barnstorming. His regular landing spot was a mowed strip down the middle of a hay field on the family farm.

At age 70, Allen took up paragliding, much to his children’s alarm.

In 2015 Allen returned to Albuquerque to be with Charlene Baker, the love of his life and to be closer to his children. Here he engaged his fascination of word games, dancing and music, which included a stint as President of the Humanist Society of New Mexico, Enchanter’s chorus group, New MexiChords Barbershop Chorus and International Folk Dance Group.

Allen is survived by his beloved Charlene Baker, of Albuquerque; sisters Janice Lucas and June Krejdovsky (Tony), of California; children, Connie Robnett, Greg Titus (Barbara), Rebecca Titus-Taylor (Mark), Allison Fletcher (Dan), Kathleen Carter (Mike), Brad Robnett (Tracey), and James Robnett (Pam); and 9 grandchildren.

It was Allen’s wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Rest in peace, Allen.

RIP Sam Brownstein

Sam and Marilyn Brownstein were long-time active members of the Humanist Society of New Mexico. They had to return East due to Sam’s failing health in 2015, and they are greatly missed.

Sam Brownstein died at Jewish Senior Services in Bridgeport, CT, on July 3, 2020, after a long struggle with dementia. His family survivors include his wife, Marilyn Freilicher Brownstein, of Bridgeport, his son, Peter Brownstein, of Milford, CT, his daughter, Jessica Brownstein Prestegaard, son-in-law, Paal Thomas Prestegaard, and grandchildren, Elizabeth Anne Prestegaard and Paal Henry Prestegaard, all of Fairfield, CT. Also joining his nuclear family in both mourning his death and celebrating his life are his sister, Ruth Brownstein Leibowitz, brother, Oscar Lee Brownstein, sister-in-law, Daphna Ben Chaim, and many close cousins, nephews and nieces. Sam had myriad friends, some dating from childhood and college, and including people he met through business, travel, organizations, and the various places he’d lived. He cared deeply about them and did his best to keep in touch. He and his wife also cherished the love and support of their extended family in the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Fairfield County, CT.
Sam was born on January 10, 1930 in the coal mining community of Becco, West Virginia, the second child of Thelma and Chaim Brownstein, recent Jewish immigrants from, respectively, Poland and Rumania. His father operated a dry goods store in competition with the company store. When Sam was about 6, the family moved to the state capital, Charleston, where they prospered in the furniture business and where he had a boisterous and mostly happy childhood through high school. The family were active members of the B’nai Jacob synagogue there.
Sam left Charleston in the late1940s to attend the University of Missouri, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in broadcast journalism, also squeezing in a stint in the US Army as a second lieutenant. Fortunate to be stationed in Germany during the Korean War, he enjoyed his military service, the camaraderie and the opportunity to be a young single guy traveling around Germany and France in his off times. Back in the USA, he worked as a traveling salesman for a while, then moved to NewYork City in the late 1950s to further his career and find a wife. He did both. In 1961, he married Marilyn and started PRO Time Sales, a company representing radio stations, selling their time to advertising agencies. The company grew to have many clients and several offices in major cities.
In 1970, the family, now including Jessica, born in 1966, and Peter, born in 1969, moved to Westport, CT, while both parents continued to commute to work in NYC.
Sam was involved in local politics and served on the Westport Democratic Town Committee. Marilyn started working as an editor for Greenwood Press in Westport.
They joined the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in 1971 and found a true home there. Sam taught Sunday School and held several board positions, including president. Sam sold PRO Time Sales in the mid-1980s; then, restless in early retirement, he bought and operated Radio Station WWCO in Waterbury, CT, for several years.
While traveling in the Southwest, Sam and Marilyn became enchanted with the ”Land of Enchantment” (NM), and beginning in 1994, they divided their time between homes in Albuquerque and Westport (later Monroe and Easton). This new chapter brought more experiences and friends. With age and illness encroaching, in 2015, they returned to live full time in Connecticut, settling in Bridgeport.
Sam had arranged to donate his body for research at the Netter School of Medicine, Quinnipiac University, an admirable reflection of his humanistic world view and humanitarianism. We will be planning a memorial service for Sam sometime in the future, on Zoom if necessary. Contributions in his honor may be made to the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, Walt Frank, treasurer, 31 Wayfaring Rd, Norwalk, CT 06851, or to Jewish Senior Services, 4200 Park Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06604.


February 27, 2021 Guest Speaker



January Speaker Meeting


November Speaker Meeting

Climate Change Panel Discussion

HSNM is sponsoring a panel discussion on October 26. For a downloadable version of the flyer, please click OctTalkFlyerRev.


Scholarship Writing Contest

Humanist Society of New Mexico Announces High School Writing Contest

Winner will receive a scholarship to attend CNM

The Humanist Society of New Mexico (HSNM) is now accepting applications and essay entries from

graduating high school students who want to attend Central New Mexico Community College (CNM). Students are asked to submit an application form along with an essay of 600 to 800 words on any aspect of humanist values. The application form and complete details are posted on the HSNM website,, along with information about humanism, and links to local and national humanist resources.

The selected student will receive a scholarship grant to cover the first year of tuition at CNM, renewable for a second year if the student maintains a 3.0 average. The winner may enroll in academic or certificate programs. The contest is open to any student in the Albuquerque school system who will graduate before the start of the CNM fall term. The selection will be made by a committee of HSNM members (relatives of the selection committee or HSNM board are not eligible to enter). All applications are confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside of HSNM.

The deadline for application is May 1, 2018. There will be a personal interview for the finalists between May 10 and 15. The winner will be announced on May 26 at HSNM’s May Speaker Meeting, to be held at Botts Hall, Special Collections Library, 423 Central Ave. NE, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.

The winning essay will be published in HSNM’s June 2018 Newsletter.

To download the grant application form, click here: CNM-Grant


Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize = Equality

Friday, March 10, 2017

12:00 to 1:00 – Program and Speakers

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Visit Legislators, network and get more information

NM State Capitol Rotunda
Santa Fe

Sponsored by: Albuquerque-NOW, SWLC, League of Women Voters, AAUW, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, SWOP, and others

Free and open to the public
For more information:


Celebration of Women’s History Month – 12:00 to 1:00

* honoring the importance of women in developing our democracy and building our state
* recognizing the role that young feminists play in shaping our future.

The Program will have a diverse group of speakers who will highlight the ongoing work to achieve equal rights by:

* ensuring existing laws to protect women’s rights are strengthened and enforced, and
* new laws to address unequal treatment based on gender are enacted.

Visits with legislators, Networking, Information Tables- 10:00 to 3:00

~~Participating organizations will have information tables along the East Hall~~

Participants and the public are invited to visit all our NM legislators to thank them for their work on behalf of women and ask for their support for the work that still needs to be done.

Anthropology at UNM and Around the World- August 27 Speaker Meeting

Anthropology at UNM and Around the World, OR
Canteens Through the Ages

10 AM to Noon
Botts Hall, Special Collections Library, 423 Central Avenue NE

Kristina Whitney will be guiding us through the exciting research  going on in the Anthropology Department at UNM. She will also share with us some of her own research on canteens. The history behind their origin is complex and global, and underscores how quickly the world became interconnected as North and South America were being explored and colonized.

Kristina Whitney is in her final semester of studies for her MA in public archaeology at UNM. Her thesis is on settlement patterning of pastoral groups in southeastern Ethiopia, with the aim to aid in establishing an archaeological baseline for an understudied area in Africa.

Other research interests include the origin and use of a specific canteen style in the American Southwest, and the connections of that style to canteens in the Mediterranean and Middle East. She is working on a publication for that research now, but it has not yet undergone peer review.

Kristina is also interthat has beenested in how archaeology is perceived by the public and how it can be utilized to foster a sense of community and sense of place, while also realizing that archaeology needs to gain a larger part of the public interest as a science in order to maintain relevance within the current congressional atmosphere.

She obtained her BA in anthropology at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, where her senior thesis focused on Byzantine water jugs. She’s been able to maintain her interest in water vessels through her canteen research, while also maintaining a global outlook on archaeology as a tool for investigative discovery. She grew up around Tucson and spent most of this summer on an archaeological survey of national parks in southeast Arizona.

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day

Come to a Rally at Civic Center Plaze in Albuquerque
Friday, August 26 between 11 AM and 1 PM

Over the past few years the Humanist Society of NM and the Albuquerque Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) have held public celebrations of Women’s Equality Day to remind all citizens that the right to vote comes with the responsibility to vote and that our work for women’s inclusion as equal partners with men in our country will not be done until the Equal Rights Amendment, written by Alice Paul in 1923, is ratified by 38 states and added to the Constitution.

The Southwest Women’s Law Center, in collaboration with Abq-NOW, League of Women Voters and other women-focused local and statewide organizations, will hold a rally at Civic Center Plaza in Albuquerque on Friday, August 26 between 11 AM and 1 PM. The event will feature real-time linkages via Skype, Facebook and Twitter with women from all 33 counties in NM projected on a jumbotron. The women will speak about issues of concern that impact their lives and the lives of women in their communities.

The objective of the celebration is to get women to vote and vote their mission, whatever it is. To that end it will focus on getting every woman, who is eligible, registered to vote with an emphasis on 17-year-olds who will be 18 by November 8, 2016.

There will be no political speeches nor promotion of any candidates or platforms. Ultimately, the goal is to build a community of strong women who will rise up, get engaged, and get to the polls in 2016.

For more information and to participate in this event, please contact Pamelya Herndon, Executive Director SWLC, at 505-244-0502 or .

History of Women’s Suffrage and Women’s Equality Day

On June 4, 1919, Congress, by joint resolution, approved the woman’s suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. The House of Representatives had voted 304-89 and the Senate 56-25 in favor of the amendment. It had taken 71 years, since the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, to get to this point.

The national campaign to have the amendment ratified by 2/3 of the 48 states was led by suffragists, Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, who used different tactics but got all the states needed for ratification by August 18, 1920. Women’s right to vote in the US became the law of the land when it was added to the Constitution on August 26, 1920.

In 1971 Bella Abzug, Representative from New York, was successful in having a bill passed in Congress to have August 26 recognized annually as Women’s Equality Day.

For more information and to participate in this event, please contact Pamelya Herndon, Executive Director SWLC, at 505-244-0502 or .

Submitted by Sylvia M. Ramos, MD
ERA Task Force Chair, Albuquerque-NOW