Supporting Skepticon

Skepticon 9 text logo, angular blue lettering with a drop shadow.
If you listened to this week’s episode of The Humanist Hour, you know that I support Skepticon. I’ve spoken there. I’ve run a workshop there for free each year they’ve offered them, and last year and this, I’ve been one of the organizers of a full track of panels under Secular Women Work. I’ve helped them with communications and fundraising, and I’m part of their Dino Club for monthly donors. And this year, though I can’t say more just yet, I’m helping them bring panels back to their programming. (Okay, I strong-armed them into having panels again, if you must know.)

So when I say Skepticon is worth supporting, you know I’m talking from experience. This year, Skepticon, like many other conferences and organizations after Reason Rally and before the election, is behind in its fundraising. It needs your support.

If you like Skepticon and want to help make it a reality, consider doing one of the following:

If the fact that Skepticon is changing how we run conferences for the better isn’t enough, Skepticon’s been talking about why you want to support them for the last couple of weeks. Continue reading “Supporting Skepticon”

Supporting Skepticon
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#SSJCon: What’s Race Got to Do With It?

This is part of my coverage of the Secular Social Justice Conference this past January in Houston. I raised money to get me to the conference to report out because conferences like these cover topics that are rarely talked about in the movement. I also raised money to get Josiah Mannion to the conference to take photos. You can see his full conference photoset. If you appreciate the work we do, we’re also raising money cover a portion of our costs to do the same for the Women in Secularism conference in September. You’ll find a donation button at the end of this post.

For the last session of the first day, we all came back together in the main auditorium for a very large panel discussion on race and intersectionality.

What’s Race Got to Do With It? Racial Politics and Intersectionality in the Atheist Movement:
Frank Anderson, Black Skeptics Chicago
Georgina Capetillo, Secular Common Ground
Alix Jules, Dallas Coalition of Reason
Sincere Kirabo, American Atheists
Jimmie Luthuli, Secular Sistahs
Juhem Navarro-Rivera
Vic Wang, Humanists of Houston
Moderator: Daniel Myatt, BSLA

This is the panel I think should be required viewing for anyone in the movement who talks about “echo chambers” and “political correctness” in the movement. I have never seen a panel this wide-ranging or willing to explore possibilities at another secular movement conference. When was the last time you sat through an argument on the pros and cons of revolution? You can watch the session for yourself at the end of this post. If you do, however, you’re going to forever know “SJWs can’t abide disagreement with their ideas” for the lie it is.

Photo of panel with Georgina Capetillo in focus in the foreground.

Photo of panel with Juhem Navarro-Rivera and Jimmie Lithuli in focus in center.

Photo of several people in the audience at the panel.

Darrin Johnson tweeting from the audience.
Darrin Johnson tweeting from the audience.

Photo of Alix Jules laughing on the panel.

Photo of Juhem Navarro-Rivera speaking on the panel.

Black and white photo of Frank Anderson listening during panel.

Large crowd photo of audience during the panel.

Gordon Maples live-tweeting from the audience.
Gordon Maples live-tweeting from the audience.

Photo of Vic Wang speaking during the panel.

Our videographer, capturing the Q&A.
Our videographer, capturing the Q&A.

Seriously. That’s where we left the panel. Do we tear it all down and rebuild–something? So if you’re interested in hearing real, substantial disagreement among advocates for social justice, watch the panel.

Want to support this kind of reporting out from Women in Secularism? We could still use a little help to get there:




#SSJCon: What’s Race Got to Do With It?

#SSJCon: LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color

This is part of my coverage of the Secular Social Justice Conference this past January in Houston. I raised money to get me to the conference to report out because conferences like these cover topics that are rarely talked about in the movement. I also raised money to get Josiah Mannion to the conference to take photos. You can see his full conference photoset. If you appreciate the work we do, we’re also raising money cover a portion of our costs to do the same for the Women in Secularism conference in September. You’ll find a donation button at the end of this post.

The second session of the day also consisted of two panels. Choosing was so difficult. Josiah took pictures in the “LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color” session. I covered the economics session, since I felt my background would be more useful here.

LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color and Social Justice
Diane Burkholder, Kansas City Freethinkers of Color
Ashton Woods, HBN
Brandon Mack, Rice U
Moderator: Debbie Goddard

Unfortunately, there has been no video posted from this session. I’d been waiting for it, hoping to catch up. At least the majority of Twitter coverage happened here, because this is all the record we have. Continue reading “#SSJCon: LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color”

#SSJCon: LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color

#SSJCon: Finding Economic Justice

This is part of my coverage of the Secular Social Justice Conference this past January in Houston. I raised money to get me to the conference to report out because conferences like these cover topics that are rarely talked about in the movement. I also raised money to get Josiah Mannion to the conference to take photos. You can see his full conference photoset. If you appreciate the work we do, we’re also raising money cover a portion of our costs to do the same for the Women in Secularism conference in September. You’ll find a donation button at the end of this post.

The second session of the day also consisted of two panels. Choosing was so difficult. Josiah took pictures in the “LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color” session. I covered the economics session, since I felt my background would be more useful here.

Finding Justice in an Economic System that Proclaims Financial Opportunity for All
James T. Jones, Prairie View University
Darrin Johnson, BSLA
Richard Peacock, Orlando Black Non-Believers
Twaunette Sharp, HBN
Cleve Tinsley, IV, Rice U
Moderator: Donald Wright

I’m really glad the conference ran this session. It isn’t a subject we talk about nearly enough. At the same time, I wish the session had been more focused. I understand why it wasn’t. We have to do the introductions first. We have to do a certain amount of 101-level discussion to make sure we understand the problem before we can really talk about solutions. So, really, any frustration I had with this session is really just frustration that we’re this far behind on this topic.

Live tweeters were more evenly split for this set of sessions. You’re really getting just the highlights here, but you can watch the video of the whole session at the bottom of this post. Continue reading “#SSJCon: Finding Economic Justice”

#SSJCon: Finding Economic Justice

#SSJCon: Humanism and Hip Hop

This is part of my coverage of the Secular Social Justice Conference this past January in Houston. I raised money to get me to the conference to report out because conferences like these cover topics that are rarely talked about in the movement. I also raised money to get Josiah Mannion to the conference to take photos. You can see his full conference photoset. If you appreciate the work we do, we’re also raising money cover a portion of our costs to do the same for the Women in Secularism conference in September. You’ll find a donation button at the end of this post.

After opening remarks, which I’ll cover in a post summarizing the experience of attending the conference, we split off into two sessions. Josiah took pictures in the “Humanism and Hip Hop” session, because you can’t keep him away from that. I covered “Feminism(s) of Color” for much the same reason.

Humanism and Hip Hop
Monica Miller, Lehigh University
Jason Jeffries, Rice Univ.
Xan Wright, HBN
Moderator: Tony Pinn

This was a well-attended session but most of the tweeters were in the other session. I watched the panel and added my reflections/encapsulations here to the tweets of the people in the room. Hopefully they’ll whet your appetite to watch the whole thing. You’ll find the full video of the panel at the bottom of this post. You may need to watch it more than once, because I’ve never seen anyone talking about humanist hip hop in a way that was anything less than richly dense with information and overturned assumptions. Continue reading “#SSJCon: Humanism and Hip Hop”

#SSJCon: Humanism and Hip Hop

#SSJCon: Feminism(s) of Color and the Secular Movement

This is part of my coverage of the Secular Social Justice Conference this past January in Houston. I raised money to get me to the conference to report out because conferences like these cover topics that are rarely talked about in the movement. I also raised money to get Josiah Mannion to the conference to take photos. You can see his full conference photoset. If you appreciate the work we do, we’re also raising money cover a portion of our costs to do the same for the Women in Secularism conference in September. You’ll find a donation button at the end of this post.

After opening remarks, which I’ll cover in a post summarizing the experience of attending the conference, we split off into two sessions. Josiah took pictures in the “Humanism and Hip Hop” session, because you can’t keep him away from that. I covered “Feminism(s) of Color” for much the same reason.

Feminism(s) of Color and the Secular Movement
Deanna Adams
Maggie Ardiente, AHA
Heina Dadabhoy, Freethought Blogs
AJ Word, Secular Sistahs
Moderator: Sikivu Hutchinson\

This session was a great one to start the conference with because it demonstrated so many of its strengths. For a movement that prides itself on challenging ingrained ideas, what we actually see is a lot of people getting shouted down the moment they say something that makes others uncomfortable. This wasn’t a comfortable panel. It included several ideas that will make people mad. It’s interesting that it takes a conference like this to allow those ideas to be aired and heard and considered.

I included my tweets and the tweets of several others to give you a sense of what people were reacting to and how. Hopefully they’ll whet your appetite to watch the whole thing. You’ll find the full video of the panel at the bottom of this post. Continue reading “#SSJCon: Feminism(s) of Color and the Secular Movement”

#SSJCon: Feminism(s) of Color and the Secular Movement

Help Me Report on Women in Secularism

I’m looking for people who want to make it easier for me to report what happens at this year’s Women in Secularism conference in Washington, D.C. in September. If that’s all you need to hear, this donation button is for you. Otherwise, read on.




I’ve asked your help for this sort of thing before. Late last year, I asked for your help to get to and cover the Secular Social Justice conference in Houston.

I’m not really in a position to offer individual rewards to donors, but if you make it possible for me to go, you can follow along as I and my phone and my trusty backup battery tweet the conference. For those not on Twitter, I’ll also produce session reports here based around those tweets and others from attendees, plus comments on ideas that were too complex to be compressed.

I also asked for your help to get Josiah Mannion there to take pictures. Continue reading “Help Me Report on Women in Secularism”

Help Me Report on Women in Secularism

CONvergence 2016 Schedule

Coming to CONvergence this weekend? Want to see me talk about things? Here’s where you can find me.

CONvergence 2016 logo with rocketship with text "...and how do we get there?". Dates June 30 - July 3.
Gone Off the Rails: How to Moderate
Thursday June 30, 2016 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Crowne Plaza U

Sometimes, you’re on a panel that starts to go wrong: some guy starts talking over all the women in the room or the person who volunteered to moderate the panel turns out to be a blowhard. How do you fix this on the fly? And not be That Guy? Panelists: John Seavey, Sigrid Ellis (mod), Mark Oshiro, Michael Carus, Stephanie Zvan

Crowdfunding Your Way to ‘There’
Thursday June 30, 2016 5:00pm – 6:00pm
DoubleTree Atrium 4

Is crowdfunding your best bet? Which crowdfunding option should you choose? And how do you get from unknown to funded? The promise and perils of the crowdfunding journey will be explored. Panelists: Marie Porter, Anj Olsen, Chrysoula Tzavelas, Stephanie Zvan (mod), Tania Richter Continue reading “CONvergence 2016 Schedule”

CONvergence 2016 Schedule

Let’s Not Overanalyze Reason Rally Attendance

This isn’t something I want to write a blog post about while I’m this tired, but shutting up isn’t something I do well when tired either.

Let’s lay off the deep analysis of why Reason Rally wasn’t bigger. I know it’s a grand sport and an opportunity to air all our pet theories about the movement, but there just isn’t enough information there to work with. In a lot of ways, it’s a secular miracle the rally happened at all.

Sarah Morehead left an incredible mess when she was removed from the organizations she was running. We now know both Apastacon and Recovering from Religion spent time unable to access even their bank accounts. We know that she wasn’t sharing the documentation she needed to with the rest of the people in her orgs. We know she said she’d done work she hadn’t. We know she stirred up conflict to cover for it. We know she committed at least one organization to a huge expense without having any way to pay for it.

She did the same things at Reason Rally from what I understand. Continue reading “Let’s Not Overanalyze Reason Rally Attendance”

Let’s Not Overanalyze Reason Rally Attendance

Where I’ll Be for My Birthday

All right, yes, my birthday isn’t until September, but I know where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing. I’ll be at the fourth Women in Secularism conference in D.C.

It will be bittersweet, as this is the first conference since Melody Hensley has left CFI. I also personally think recent changes at CFI have made the future of the conference unclear. Still, this conference has been an important catalyst for change in the atheist and humanist movements, and I expect it will be again. I’m not going to miss that.

Also, check out these speakers:

Johnetta Elzie
Johnetta Elzie, @nettaaaaaaaa, 26, is a protester and organizer, born and raised in St. Louis, who became known for documenting the events of Ferguson on Twitter in August 2014. Since then, she has worked to organize toward sustainable change. She sits on the planning team for mappingpoliceviolence.org and wetheprotesters.org to provide police accountability and organizer resources. In August 2015, she helped launch Campaign Zero, a comprehensive policy platform to address police violence in the United States. Johnetta believes that Michael Brown and the uprising in Ferguson forever changed her life. Her writing, “The TSA Searched My Hair Because I’m a Black Woman with Braids—And It’s Not Okay,” has been featured by Teen Vogue. Her work as a youth activist has been profiled in Teen Vogue, New York Times Magazine, The LA Times, and O Magazine, among others. Essence featured Johnetta on the cover of its February 2016 Black Girl Magic issue. She has been awarded the Howard Zinn Freedom to Write Award with fellow activist DeRay McKesson for their creation of the #Ferguson Protestor Newsletter, and been named to Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers 2015.

I’ve been advocating for Elzie to be a part of this conference for as long as I’ve known it was happening. To be fair, I received nothing but enthusiasm for the idea. I was just too impatient to wait for confirmation. Continue reading “Where I’ll Be for My Birthday”

Where I’ll Be for My Birthday