And the Secular Student Alliance Blogathon Relay officially begins… now!
A bunch of us have been blogging up a storm about the Secular Student Alliance, as part of the ten-day-long SSA Week fundraising party. (And before you ask: The SSA is so mightily awesome, their week has to last ten days!) But the official Blogathon Relay has just begun. For the next week, different bloggers all around the atheist blogosphere are committing to an extended stretch of hyperactive blogging, in some cases pledging to blog every hour or even every half hour for a full 24-hour period. All to raise money for the Secular Student Alliance. Our goal: Raise $100,000 by Sunday, June 17. (We’re over halfway there already!)
Ellen Lundgren at Skeptic Freethought officially kicked things off at midnight Eastern time today, and has started a full 24-hour midnight-to-midnight blogathon. She is soon to be followed by Brianne Bilyeu at Biodork, who’ll be blogathoning from 7am Saturday to 7am Sunday, and Christina Stephens at WWJTD?, who’ll be blogathoning from 9am to 9pm Saturday. (All times are Eastern time.) And yes, I’ll be participating in the madness as well. On Tuesday June 12, from noon until 3am Eastern time, I’ll be posting a new kitten picture for every $100 that the SSA raises.
The sight of sleep-deprived bloggers trying to come up with stuff to blog about for a solid day can be pretty darned entertaining. And in many cases, donors can request topics for the bloggers to blog about. So check out their pages, support their madness, and make your donations today!
And if you don’t already know why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome and deserves your support:
“Yes, Millenials are our future. The SSA helps train secular leaders who will one day be secular journalists, teachers, humanitarians, and politicians. But more importantly, Millennials are our present. They’re already skeptical and already speaking out. If we want change now and in the future, we need to support the SSA.”
-Jen McCreight, BlagHag, Why you should support the SSA explained in a single graph
“Colleges and high schools across the country are adding atheist student groups at an accelerating rate over the last several years, far outpacing the growth of Campus Crusade for Christ, despite their having 500 times the SSA’s budget. We’re building infrastructure literally as fast as we can pour money into it, motivating and organizing the students who will be the atheist leaders and activists of the coming generation.”
-Adam Lee, Daylight Atheism, It’s SSA Week – Support Our Secular Students!
“Why is this important? Because the SSA is amazing. They help student creating welcoming and vibrant nonreligious communities on their college and high school campuses. They work to get them funding for speakers and events, gives them ideas for meetings, and always reminds them that they’re supported, that they’re part of a big, awesome, community of secular people who are changing the world. The SSA organizes conferences to get student leaders together, and helps out students whose administrations are making life difficult for them.”
-Chana Messinger, The Merely Real, Blogathon!
“If only my school had a Secular Student Alliance, I would have had a world of resources and a group of people at my disposal. Not having such an organization, or an atheist internet community, or even any awareness of the constructive good Unitarian churches offer unapologetic atheists, I struggled for many more years than I should have had to in order to finally feel and think in some vitally necessary, constructive ways again.
“And were there a Secular Student Alliance, quite possibly my closeted atheist friend who clung to religious organizations and people so desperately for the love they offered, would have found an accepting community that did not require him to be a liar.”
-Daniel Fincke, Camels With Hammers, When I Deconverted, I Sure Could Have Used The Secular Student Alliance
“When JT Eberhard contacted me and gave me the support of the Secular Student Alliance I felt like I had friends again. Over the course of two years the SSA provided me with support and JT closely monitored the actions of the school committee, always ready to come to my defense at any minute. He expressed that he cared not only for the issue at my school but also for my well-being and shared personal stories and advice. Anyone can tell that for JT and the rest of the SSA staff, their positions within the organization are not merely a source of income, but a life-long passion and a genuine desire to help young secular people. When I attended their annual conference last summer and was given the opportunity to share my story I felt a sense of community I had never experienced before. I know so many other students who share my feelings and are thankful for the SSA and their brilliant staff. They are literally changing lives.”
-Jessica Ahlquist, quoted by J.T. Eberhard, WWJTD?, My work with the SSA
“Last year, in Auburn, AL, Duncan Henderson wanted to form a secular club at his public high school. The principal denied his request without explanation. When his father met with the principal, the principal showed up with a lawyer en towe. The response to every question was, “We’re going to follow the law.”
“The school did follow the law eventually. After we spent about a month applying pressure to the school the principal resigned and his replacement made it clear that the secular club would not only be allowed but would be given the same privileges as all other school groups.
“We won. And when we win, the students like Duncan win.”
-J.T. Eberhard, WWJTD?, My work with the SSA
“The secular student movement is expanding in all kinds of directions. We’re seeing more groups in high schools (due in part to the SSA’s high school outreach) and at graduate and professional schools. Groups are forming into regional networks, providing communication and opportunities for collaboration to students in a specific area. SSA is starting to reach out to support advisors more directly, as well as working with student affairs professionals within university administrations.
“If the SSA were to continue our current growth rates, we’d have over a thousand affiliate groups in five years.
“That sounds crazy at first, but as we break down the numbers, it actually starts to look more and more like it might be on the low side. There are about 6,000 colleges in the U.S., and over 24,000 public high schools – that’s a lot of opportunity for expansion! And looking at a similar organization, we see that the Gay-Straight Alliance has about 4,500 registered groups. Our 1,000 groups in five years is starting to look very conservative indeed!”
-Lyz Liddell, SSA Director of Campus Organizing, The Unstoppable Secular Students
“Students aren’t just the future of this movement. Students are the present of this movement. Rates of religious non-belief are skyrocketing in the United States… and that trend is overwhelmingly being led by people 25 and under. Student groups are the ones on the ground, making atheism visible to young people who are questioning their faith… and creating community for these folks when they do leave.”
-Greta Christina, Greta Christina’a Blog, Secular Student Alliance Blogathon — and Kitten Photos!
This is a powerhouse organization. A good case could be made that this is the single most important organization in the atheist movement. Support them today!