Center for Inquiry — Amherst, NY
Debbie Goddard is the outreach director at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, NY. She is also the director of African Americans for Humanism, a program of the Council for Secular 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 student volunteer. She has also been involved with progressive issues and LGBT activism.
Debbie’s first experience with organized freethought was in 2000, when she traveled to Amherst, New York, for a Center for Inquiry Student Leadership Conference. Inspired by the experience, she began attending freethought, humanist, atheist, and skeptic group meetings in the greater Philadelphia region, including in New York City, New Jersey, and central Pennsylvania. She also started a CFI-affiliated campus group at her college.
Over time, her involvement increased: she joined the CFI Metro New York Advisory Board in 2002 and volunteered with CFI’s campus outreach program as publications director from 2001 to 2002 and as student president from 2002 to 2003. She also held a work-study position at the CFI New York City office in Rockefeller Center while a full-time student at Temple University.
In 2002, she was profiled in a Beliefnet article, "Godless Who’s Who", as a student activist. She was also interviewed by the Washington Blade, formerly one of the nation’s largest circulation LGBT newspapers, as an “out” nonbeliever. In early 2006, Jamila Bey interviewed Debbie for an article about African American female atheists for the Skepchick blog.
In June 2006, CFI hired Debbie as a field organizer, allowing her to utilize her grassroots organizing experience working with campus and community groups. In 2012, she was promoted to director of outreach, and now oversees CFI's U.S. branches in addition to the international campus outreach program.