As many of you know I am organizing a fundraiser where I raise money so that I can pay the admission price to secular and science conventions for people who can’t afford it. This year I have decided to do something a little different and to send MEN to the Women in Secularism Event in May. But first off, there is an event coming up that I have promised to send more WOMEN to. That first event takes place March 28th – March 31st in Austin, Texas and is celebrating 50 years of reason.
I would like to give you a few reasons why I think you should care about this convention and why I have chosen it as one of my events to lend my support to this year.
First and foremost, I have decided to support this event with my grant program because the American Atheists were one of the first organizations to listen to the community and institute a code of conduct/ harassment policy for their events.
From Dave Silverman on June 26, 2012:
“The Code of Conduct will allow all conference attendees to know that American Atheists’ events are safe, fun and informative. We want people to enjoy themselves but know there will be consequences for harmful behaviors.”
This move by American Atheists was a great step that should not be forgotten. When other conventions refused to fight or even acknowledge harassment as an issue, AA proudly stood up in a professional, reasonable way. They listened to the community and were one of the first organizations to act, thus helping to encourage friendly, fun and safe spaces at their events.
Thank you for that, American Atheists.
Another reason why I encourage you to support this event is its great lineup of speakers including some of our favorite rational women such as, Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina and Jessica Ahlquist.
A list of many more speakers can be found here. I am told they are updating that list this week to add some more people. I have recently been invited to speak on a panel, so if you attend, you will see my bright and shiny face, for a few moments, up there on the stage too.
There is going to be an atheist art show! I am pretty sure this is the first of its kind, at least at an organized convention. I’m thrilled that visual art is being highlighted in the atheist movement and I am very excited to be participating! I’ve been working on a painting and I am really looking forward to this part of the event.
My personal favorite reason for supporting this event? We will be celebrating long time supporter of rationalism, Matt Dillahunty‘s birthday. Matt is one of my all-time favorite atheist activists. Matt will be speaking and we all will be celebrating his latest trip around the sun.
Another great reason to support this event? It’s American Atheists 50 year anniversary! I asked Dave Silverman why he thinks this year’s event is special and why you should attend.
“The atheist movement is for everybody and anybody and American Atheists’ 50th anniversary convention celebrates this with a diverse line-up of speakers, covering dozens of freethought and skeptic topics; an art show and silent auction focusing on atheism in art; family-friendly options such as babysitting services and mini Camp Quest; vendors and exhibitors from local and national groups, nonprofits, and companies and businesses; a comedy show, a rock concert, a costume dinner, and a birthday party dinner to provide fun for attendees. American Atheists is providing the most exciting, interesting, and fun convention of the year.”
Another, thing I’d like to mention is that Dave Silverman and many members of his staff have been extremely supportive thorough out this onslaught of harassment I have been caught in the middle of.
I sometimes disagree with the tactics laid out by American Atheists but the organization as a whole has shown me that disagreements can still be had in a productive and rational way and that ultimately American Atheists want to be an inclusive and positive force that helps move atheism- both as a concept and as an accessible, diverse community- into the future.
So let’s help encourage diversity in the atheist movement. Help me send more women to this event by buying one of my fundraiser necklaces by clicking here.
Or donate directly to the cause by going here: http://surlygrant.com/donate/
If you would like to apply for a grant for me to pay your admission cost to this event go here.
I will start contacting grant winners later this week so my next Surly Grant update will hopefully introduce you to some of the grant winners!
Thanks everyone and have a great week!