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SSA Con 2016 Awards Ceremony


Each year at SSA Con, we are proud to be able to distribute two awards to individuals who have done amazing work to support the secular student movement, as well as the wider secular movement. These are the SSA Backbone and SSA Ambassador Awards.

The SSA Backbone Award is given to an individual within the secular movement who is a guide and inspiration to secular students and student groups. This person has demonstrated a passion and commitment to the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Secular Student Alliance. In 2016, we are proud to be able to offer this award to Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D., who is an educator, writer and senior staff at the L.A. County Human Relations Commission. As coordinator of the Women's Leadership Project and Young Male Scholars' youth programs she has successfully assisted first generation, foster care, undocumented, homeless and LGBTQ students of color go on to college and careers.  Her books include Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles (2003), Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars (2011), and the novel White Nights, Black Paradise (2015), which follows the Peoples Temple and the Jonestown massacre. She is a contributing editor for The Feminist Wire and her articles have been published in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and The Humanist Magazine. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Scholar at USC’s Center for Feminist Research and was named Secular Woman's “Secular Woman of the Year" in 2013. Sikivu has done a lot of amazing, valuable, and forward-thinking work within the movement and we are elated that we are able to recognize her for all of that hard work.

The SSA Ambassador Award is given to a Secular Student Alliance supporter who best serves as an ambassador for the organization. Such an ambassador repeatedly shares the story of why the SSA matters and is worthy of support with as many people as possible, while finding valuable avenues to enhance our support of the students that we serve. In 2016, we are proud to be able to offer this award to Brandy Madden and David Smalley, due to their fantastic work running a special fundraiser for SSA through their Dogma Debate podcast. Their help was invaluable for assisting us in finishing out 2015 strongly. Dogma Debate is a fast-paced live talk radio show that has topped 4.4 million podcast downloads. The topics range from politics and religion to science and comedy, but it’s a favorite among people of all ages and backgrounds. The show is known as a platform for liberal and conservative believers to defend their faith and political views with respectful challenges by those who disagree.

The Awards Presentation will take place at the SSA Annual Conference (July 8-10, 2016) on Saturday evening at 8 PM.

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