Standing up for your rights can be a very difficult and brave thing to do. However, no one should ever be vilified and harassed the way that many secular people are when they speak up for their rights.
Amanda Scott is a student at Faulkner State Community College. On June 19th, she testified before her local county commission against a resolution to display a plaque with "In God We Trust" on it at the Mobile Government Plaza. However, her voice was not listened to, and the commission voted 2-1 to approve the plaque.
Amanda wasn't done standing up for what she knew was right. She stood up once again on August 7th for a proposal to allow other individuals and groups to put up their own plaques. The one proposed by Amanda the Mobile Atheist Community, had "In Reason We Trust" written on it. Once again, the commission ignored her voice.
However, Amanda knew she could still get her perspective listened to. So when the largest local TV station requested an interview after her second testimony, she accepted. This news station, rather than focusing on the presence of the plaque, asked their audience what they thought about Amanda speaking up for her rights.
The results were horrific and beyond what anyone should have to deal with. Her community posted death threats, told her to leave the country, attacked her character, and attacked her appearance.
After a different news outlet ran a story about the hate mail she had received, more people stepped up to tell Amanda that she deserved the harassment and even accused her of lying about receiving them.
This is atrocious behavior; anyone should be able to stand up for their rights and their belief without receiving death threats.
We are so proud of the work Amanda has done towards advancing equality in her community, in spite of the hatred and harassment that has been directed towards her. We want to recognize Amanda's bravery in standing up for her fellow secular people in Mobile, Alabama, and are thrilled to be able to recognize her courage with an Award for Outstanding Activism.
Amanda, please know that you have the full support of the Secular Student Alliance. We know that an award from us doesn't make up for the harassment, but we hope it can serve as a reminder that you are doing fantastic work, and we are proud to have you as a part of the secular student movement.