Brave New Face of Humanism
“What is secularism without social justice in a nation where whites have over 20 times the wealth of people of color & our children are being pipelined into prisons?”
Beyond Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris &Toxic Myths of postracial colorblindness
Center for Inquiry, Los Angeles
A gathering of freethinkers, atheists & humanists of color on the issues of our times
People of Color Beyond Faith/Black Skeptics Group
When youth of color see scientists, mathematicians and engineers depicted in the media they rarely see people who look like them. On Saturday, September 13th, the Level Playing Field Institute is co-hosting Bridging the STEM Divide, a mini STEM conference (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) for over 100 high school students from the South LA, Inglewood and Crenshaw neighborhoods at the University of Southern California. The goal of the conference is to demystify STEM majors and careers for students of color, as well as expose students to STEM networking opportunities, scholarships, college preparation resources, and free to low-cost programs in Los Angeles. With over 20 faculty, students and professionals of color volunteering during the event, the conference is designed to support, motivate, and empower low income students of color to pursue STEM studies & careers at four year universities and beyond. Bridging the STEM Divide will be held at Stauffer Science Lecture Hall on USC’s main campus. The conference will feature esteemed USC Physics professor Dr. Clifford Johnson as keynote speaker. The Women’s Leadership Project is one of the lead organizers.
Featured speakers include:
Dr. Stacey Finley, USC Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Jarvis Sulcer, President LPFI, Nuclear Science & Engineering
Brandon Bell, Microbiology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Devin Waller, Planetary Geology, California Science Center
Oklahoma City Police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw has been charged with 16 counts of first degree rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, stalking, forcible oral sodomy and burglary against seven African American female victims. On September 5th Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy Henderson lowered Holtzclaw’s bail from $5 million to $500,000. Holtzclaw was released Friday after posting a cash bond and will wear a GPS monitor until his trial hearing on September 18th. Holtzclaw is a former football player and the son of a longtime city police officer. He is currently on paid leave. The victims in this case were all black women between the age of 34-58, living in predominantly poor and working class African American communities in Oklahoma’s City Northeast side. Holtzclaw stalked most of these women and capitalized on their fear of arrest to exploit, sexually assault and intimidate them. He manipulated the racist/sexist stereotype of black women as hypersexual, socially expendable prostitutes in order to keep them silent:
“According to a probable cause affidavit included in the charging documents, Holtzclaw stopped a woman walking in the area of Northeast 14th and Jordan on April 24. He located a crack pipe in her property. Instead of arresting her he allegedly took her home, forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her, making the statement, ‘This is better than the county,’ referring to the jail.
Speaking of her client’s reluctance to report the crime, one of the victim’s attorneys stated,“She was so afraid that no one was going to believe her because she’s African-American.”
This campaign of sexual terrorism by a law enforcement officer is similar to the institutional sexual assault and harassment of black women and girls during the Jim Crow era. The recent beating of Marlene Pinnock, a middle-aged African American homeless woman, by a California Highway Patrol officer, and police violence against black women in cities like New York continue to amplify the mistreatment of black women by law enforcement. Shortly after Holtzclaw’s indictment, hundreds of his supporters launched a Go Fund Me campaign (which has since been taken down) and a Facebook page to raise money for his defense and clear his “good name”. They also created a special Twitter hashtag called #FreetheClaw. Non-blacks who commit criminal acts against black victims routinely receive more lenient sentences than when the assailant is African American and the victim is white. Black women have some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the nation. We demand just and equitable treatment of the victims, full prosecution of these heinous acts of sexual violence and immediate removal of Holtzclaw from the Oklahoma City PD.
The Secular Student Association is offering travel grants to students wishing to attend our October “Moving Social Justice” conference in Los Angeles. This the first ever atheist of color conference on social justice and culturally relevant humanism and will feature panels & presentations from secular, atheist/humanist and faith-based community activists on the following:
Youth leadership & busting prison pipelining
Feminism(s) of Color & Intersectional community activism
Racism in the atheist movement and the myth of colorblindness
Confronting homophobia & transphobia in the Black Church
Culturally relevant humanism: what is it and why do we need it?
LGBTQ/Queer atheists of color and social justice
Applications available at: https://www.secularstudents.org/node/5918
Registration is open at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/moving-social-justice-conference-tickets-12231333247.
Find more information at https://www.facebook.com/events/259183107587755/.
This grant application is available to students in the US only.