Atheist and skeptical conferences matter. They help us find each other and create community. They give organizers and activists a chance to network. They give people who are closeted a place to be themselves, if only for a weekend. They generate ideas. They spread ideas. They’re a testing ground for ideas. They inspire and energize people. Miri Mogilevsky has a great piece on why conferences matter, in case you’re not persuaded.
Conferences are also, much of the time, expensive. And that means that all these wonderful benefits are only accessible to people who can afford them. The high expense of conferences isn’t the only barrier to marginalized people who want to participate in our community and our movement, it’s not even the most important one — but it is a barrier, and it’s not trivial.
This is why I am so tickled to see the increasing trend in our community of free conferences.
And this is why I’m asking you to donate to Skepticon.
Skepticon is the mothership of free conferences in the atheist and skeptical community. In seven years, it’s grown from a small local conference by and for a student group, into one of the largest, most recognized, most awesomely fun conferences in our community. And it’s become a model for other free conferences.
But free conferences are, obviously, not free to put on. It’s like public radio — it’s funded by the support of generous donors like you.
Please donate to Skepticon. You can make a one-time donation, or get set up to automatically donate a small amount each month. (Or a large amount each month, if you can manage it.) Help keep this free conference going — and help it continue to inspire other free conferences like it. Even small amounts help — they really do add up. So donate whatever you can.
And if you register for Skepticon by October 17 (yes, even though it’s free, they want you to register, it makes it easier for them to plan if they know how many people are coming), you get get a free lanyard & badge. So if you’re planning on coming, register now! Skepticon 7 is Friday November 21 to Sunday November 23, and speakers this year include me me me, PZ Myers, Jamie Kilstein, Cara Santa Maria, Hemant Mehta, Heina Dadabhoy, Amy Davis Roth (“Surly Any”), Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, Ben “Sweatervest” Blanchard, Sheree Renee Thomas, Kayley Whalen, Daniel Bier, Peggy Mason, Dr. David Gorski, JT Eberhard, Scott Clifton, and Melanie Brewster.
And if you can’t make it — if your sister is getting married that weekend or something (pfff! shabby excuse) — please support them anyway. Think of it this way — if you can’t go this year, you might be able to go next year, and supporting it now means they’ll be able to keep on doing it!
Srsly. If you can, donate now.