Debbie Goddard: “Diversity in the Freethought Movement: Where do we go from here?”
Nonreligious Americans are a growing demographic; some surveys show nearly 1 in 5 Americans aren't affiliated with a religion. There is also a growing secular movement of nonreligious individuals who are interested in building communities and in promoting science, reason, free inquiry, and critical thinking.
But when we take a look at the secular movement, we find that it's predominantly white, older, highly educated, and male. Some atheists and humanists believe that we should turn a blind eye to the lack of diversity in our movement; after all, they might say, we shouldn't be concerned with divisive subcategories such as an individual’s race or gender. However, when it comes to building community and bringing more people into the movement, a quick look around tells us that atheism and humanism don't tend to resonate with certain demographics. It’s time to take a hard look at the message we’re sending and reconsider how we do outreach.
Debbie Goddard is the outreach director at the Center for Inquiry and the director of African Americans for Humanism. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer. She has also been involved with LGBTQ issues and progressive activism.
This event is in coordination with the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers (DoS). Celebrated nationwide on the last Sunday of Black History Month, the Day of Solidarity is held to promote community and solidarity among blacks in America who identify as non-believers: atheists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers, etc. The DoS was organized as a way to counter the religious voice that all too often serves as the lone voice of black consciousness and experience. These gatherings will promote fellowship and the pursuit of humanist strategies to solve the problems facing humanity—especially those affecting the black community.
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