Founder, Black Atheists of America, Inc. — Garden City, NY
Ayanna Watson is the founder of Black Atheists of America, Inc. (BAAm). BAAm is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between atheism and the black community. The organization has been successful in bringing together black atheists and combating the common misconception of solidarity among black atheists. With BAAm, Watson has also brought light to some of the issues that discourage black atheists from being active in both the atheist and black communities.
Since the organization was founded, Watson has been extremely active in promoting diversity within the atheist movement. Watson has participated in such events as: The Amazing Meeting (headed by James Randi Educational Foundation); Poetry of Science (a dialogue between Dr. Richard Dawkins and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson); Dialog of Reason: Science and Faith in the Black Community (a panel discussion with, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Dr. Anthony Pinn, Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Todd Stiefel, and moderated by Mark Hatcher, concerning the role of faith and science in the black community); Atheism and the Black Community (a speaker event with Jamila Bey and Mark Hatcher discussing religion and its role during the Harlem Renaissance; science education in the black community; and black atheists woman); New York City Atheists Sunday Brunch (Watson discussed the reason she founded BAAm); Fun with BAAm!!! (weekly social events for black atheists in the New York City area to come together and discuss a variety of issues); and other events.
Additionally, Watson has interviewed with Dan Barker at Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to discuss her involvement within the atheist and black communities. Under BAAm, Watson has interviewed a number of black atheists including: Norm Allen (founder of African American Humanists and author); Greydon Square (Atheist Musician); Donald R. Wright (Author); and many others.
Ultimately with BAAm, Watson seeks to build a stronger and more diverse atheist community. She hopes that her efforts will provide for a society where one can embrace the label “atheist,” without the fear of being ostracized by family, friends and members of their community. She envisions a world where individuals embrace critical thinking in lieu of faith.