The Quest for Social Justice in Secular America is a Real Thing

That is a real thing. I just returned from an amazing meeting of the minds at the Secular Social Justice Conference at Rice University in Houston, TX. The event was organized by the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles, the Houston Black Non-Believers, and the Humanists of Houston. It was led by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, with the support of Dr. Anthony Pinn at Rice.

The conference was a great vehicle to connect secular people of color and allies who have been in the trenches of social change. The participant’s roll is a who’s who of secular leaders of color. In addition to Drs. Hutchinson and Pinn I was able to reconnect with the AHA’s Maggie Ardiente, CFI’s Debbie Goddard; finally met in person American Atheists’ Sincere Kirabo and Houston Black Non-Believers’ Ashton P. Woods, whom I knew from Facebook. In addition, I was able to meet in person two of my favorite bloggers: FreeThoughtBlogs’ Greta Christina and Stephanie Zvan.

I participated in the panel “What’s Race Got To Do With It? Racial Politics and Intersectionality In the Atheist Movement” with Frank Anderson, Georgina Capetillo, Alix Jules, Sincere Kirabo, Jimmie Luthuli, and Vic Wang. The panel was moderated by Daniel Myatt. We discussed many issues ranging from coalitions with religious people, our role as atheists of color in the secular movement, the state of intersectionality politics in the United States. Interestingly, the conversation ended with a discussion about the pros, cons, and possibilities (and a bit of definition) of revolution.

In addition to this panel, there were other 4 panels:

  • Feminism(s) of Color and the Secular Movement
  • Humanism and Hip-Hop
  • Finding Justice in an Economic System that Proclaims Financial Opportunity for All
  • LGBTQ Queer Atheists of Color and Social Justice

I attended the 1st and 3rd on the list since 1 &2 and 3 & 4 were held simultaneously. I ended in those panels after a coin toss, it was very hard to decide. Following the conversation in Twitter (#SSJCON) I realized that those panels I missed were as interesting as the ones I attended.

Over the next few days I will unpack a bit more of my experience in the conference and also try to flesh out what I said in the politics panel a bit more.


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