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The Secular Student Alliance at University of Nevada-Reno is Outstanding!

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Every year, the National Secular Student Alliance hears about amazing things that our students, affiliate groups, Secular Safe Zone Allies, and advisors are doing. When we hear of an individual or group doing something especially awesome, we present them with an Award for Outstanding Activism for their exemplary work. 

The Greece v. Galloway Supreme Court decision opened the door for nontheists to step in and deliver secular invocations in their home towns, including students, and hats off to the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Nevada-Reno!

On Monday June 8th, Ryan Davis, President of the SSA at UNR, delivered a secular invocation at Sparks City Council. The invocation was drafted by SSA at UNR members Gennadiy Gurariy and Dr. Bernard Drumm.

This was not the first time the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Nevada-Reno has been involved in issues related to government-sponsored prayer. In the fall of 2013, the SSA at UNR was pivotal in ending the practice of public prayer in Reno's City Hall. When Sparks, Nevada approved prayers during government events, the SSA at UNR wanted to send a strong message that these invocations infringe upon the rights of agnostics and atheists in the community. 

This is, as far as we know, the first explicitly secular invocation in the state of Nevada.

The transcript of the invocation is as follows:

The Lamar University Secular Student Alliance is Outstanding!

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Every year, the National Secular Student Alliance hears about amazing things that our students, affiliate groups, Secular Safe Zone Allies, and advisors are doing. When we hear of an individual or group doing something especially awesome, we give them an Award for Outstanding Activism for their exemplary work. 

lamar

At the Secular Student Alliance we strive for intersectionality, and are always delighted to see our affiliate groups embracing social justice. That's why we're presenting the Lamar University Secular Student Alliance an Award for Outstanding Activism! 

Last month, Lamar University SSA students and family members marched in their second ever Pride event, in Beaumont, Texas!

"We all marched with our banner and our shirts, representing the SSA in the Pride march, even though it was pouring down rain and we all got soaked," said Amber Barnhill of Lamar University SSA.

What is especially exciting about this event is that Lamar University SSA did something that we've never seen before - they made LGBTQ Secular Student Alliance t-shirts for their event! 

lamar2

If you and your Secular Student Alliance affiliate want to embrace the LGBTQ community on your campus, check out the official logo we've designed specifically for that purpose! Be sure to send us pictures of your finished products!

We love it when our affiliate groups participate in their greater community! Great work, Lamar University Secular Student Alliance! 

Are you as impressed as we are with the Lamar University Secular Student Alliance? Interested in supporting their work and ours? Consider a donation to the Secular Student Alliance today! 

RELEASE: Atheist students counter Westboro in Chattanooga

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7/21/2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cara Zelaya, (321) 961-9254
cara.zelaya@secularstudents.org

Atheist students to counter-protest Westboro following Chattanooga shooting

CHATTANOOGA, TN - Students from Secular Panthers at Georgia State University, the Secular Student Alliance at Dalton State College, and the newly founded Secular Student Alliance at Clayton State University will be participating in a peaceful counter protest of Westboro Baptist Church July 24 at 9:00 a.m. at the Chattanooga Funeral Home in Hixson, TN following the shooting of five Marines in Chattanooga last Thursday. 

Students from all three secular groups will be joining several area veteran groups to create a human shield so the families of the victims will not have to see the protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church.

“We are participating in this peaceful counter-protest at the service so as to provide the families a place to mourn in peace, as it should be,” stated Sean Kirk, Secretary of Secular Panthers at Georgia State University. 

These students join over 9,600 other people planning on participating in the "Wall Against Westboro.” Westboro Baptist Church is best known for its hate speech, particularly against LGBTQ persons, Jews, and politicians, as well as for picketing funerals of soldiers. 

“We ask that our students at the Secular Student Alliance stand for something, rather than against something,” said Cara Zelaya, Southeast Regional Campus Organizer of the Secular Student Alliance. “We are thrilled when our students are setting examples of compassion and empathy towards their fellow human beings.”

SSACon 2015

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This last weekend was the 2015 Secular Student Alliance Annual Conference, and it was awesome!

We were consistently impressed by all of the activities and projects executed by our affiliate groups throughout the 2014-2015 school year: in fact, it was one of the most active years we have ever seen! Our 2015 Annual Conference reflected this. Conference sessions spurred valuable conversations among our affiliate leaders and attendees about intersectionality, social justice, and diversity within the secular community.

We had over 230 attendees from around the country and over 60 different talks throughout the weekend. It was also incredible to see how many alumni from our affiliate groups attended as speakers, representatives of other movement organizations, and as members of the community.

"This conference has enabled me and groups I've worked with to accomplish awesome things," Andre Salais of Arizona State University stated. "We've made a far greater impact in recruiting and providing a community than we would have without the Secular Student Alliance Annual Conference."

If you want to learn more about the conference, it was covered in both the Columbus Dispatch and The Lantern. We're posting photos from the conference on our Facebook page, so be sure to check those out as well.

We want next year to be even better, and we want you to be there. Let us know what we could do to get you here for the 2016 Annual Conference.

It is always incredible seeing all of the opportunities at our Annual Conference for our attendees to forge new friendships and connections with their fellow secular students and activists.

Finally, we wanted to say thanks to all our speakers, presenters, and volunteers who helped make this event possible. We couldn't do it without you!

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