It’s SSA Week, celebrating the Secular Student Alliance, a fast-growing nonprofit organization with nearly 400 chapters in high schools and colleges all over the United States. Here are a mere 10 of the many reasons SSA not only needs your support but deserves it.
10. They sound like a roving band of kick-ass superheroes.
9. Finding other nonbelievers can be extremely difficult, especially in religious areas and especially for students who aren’t completely out as atheists. SSA provides a way for students to find each other without having to wear the scarlet letter or go through the awkward equivalent of “What church do you not go to?”
8. Students generally do not have a lot of money to fund their own groups or the experience organizing an effective group. SSA provides guidance, support, materials, and funding for any student that wishes to start a chapter.
7. Hell, a lot of us, at all ages, don’t have much money. Student groups often hold free events that the entire community can benefit from and that a much larger, more diverse group of people can attend, which expands our community in every sense of the word. SSA and CASH sponsored Skeptech, for example, which was an incredibly impressive, fun conference that was totally free.
6. Nonstudent atheist, skeptic, freethought, etc., groups often hold meetups that exclude young people, such as meeting at a pub that doesn’t allow anyone under 21 or holding events in locations that require a car to get to. An SSA group not only provides a way to host meetups that all members can attend, it can give a voice and numbers to the call for all groups to make their events more open to all ages.
5. Students are at the heart of many church and state struggles. SSA groups provide a way for students to band together, to alert the public about specific issues, and to gain support for activism that makes a difference in the overall church-state battle for all of us.
4. Students are an amazing resource for the community as a whole, as volunteers, fresh voices and perspectives, and as completely underestimated sources of knowledge and wisdom. Many have access to or are studying the latest research in multiple fields, and they are less likely to have developed the kind of biases that tend to become entrenched and taken for granted the longer we hold them unchallenged.
3. Young people are the future of the secular movement, but even more important, they are the present. They are students, but they aren’t our students. You will find strong voices and leaders among young people just as you will find them among longtime freethinkers. The more we support them now, and include them equally in our efforts to promote secularism, the stronger and more effective we will all be.
2. SSA groups are doing amazing work creating safe spaces by normalizing the secular point of view and standing by each other, promoting science education, participating and organizing charity works, and creating the kind of positive community that counters the negative elements simply by outshining them.
1. If you donate by May 6, your donation will be matched by the generous Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss. Now is the time.