• Home
  • Donate
  • Contact
  • Log In

Statement on the murders in Chapel Hill: "We hope that dialogues can happen, and bridges are built, not burned"


Everyone at the Secular Student Alliance is appalled by the murders of Deah Bakurat, Yusor Mohammed, and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina yesterday.  We are further appalled by the trauma and terror caused by these murders and offer our condolences to the victims, their family, and the greater Chapel Hill community. The Secular Student Alliance encourages students to work with each other to understand one another and make the world a better place. These killings work in the exact opposite of that cause.  

“We are horrified by the violence in Chapel Hill against these three young people who seem to have so profoundly dedicated themselves to helping their fellow human beings,” says August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. “We mourn the loss of these three young people who were working so hard to make the world a better place.”

Secular students from the Chapel Hill and surrounding areas also expressed their concern over what has happened.

"We at the University of North Carolina Secular Student Alliance absolutely condemn these murders, and we stand in solidarity with the Muslim community," says Samantha Jackson, UNC SSA Board Member. "It is hard to express the grief we feel as classmates, as Tar Heels, as members of the greater Chapel Hill community. Lives will never be the same, and we are trying to figure out how to move forward emotionally after this."

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my fellow students, and angered by this act of cruelty. It is unthinkable to me that lives can be taken so senselessly,” says Nick Freeman, Secular Student Alliance Board Member and North Carolina State University student. “Although I didn't know them personally, it is clear that Deah, Yusor, and Razan cared about their community and had hearts for service and good works. My thoughts go out to their friends and families."

The Secular Student Alliance promotes pluralism and secularism. We work alongside people of faith, and work to spread the understanding that both people with and without faith have the capacity to do good. Nothing about the lack of a belief in a god supports the murder of innocent people, and we absolutely condemn what has happened. We hope that dialogues can happen, and bridges are built, not burned, in the wake of this.


Executive Corner Piece: A Humanist Invitation


August E. Brunsman IV is the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. This essay is part of a series we called our Executive Corner Pieces. These are generally published the second Tuesday of each month and give you a little insight to the thoughts of our Executive Director. 

augSave for about a week in my junior year of high school when I became enchanted by deism, I’ve never thought of myself as at all religious. I’ve used all kinds of different labels that get at my godlessness in all kinds of different ways, but I believe that tension in our fledgling movement over the “right label” has diminished. I know that I personally care very little about what label different people who lack a god belief use. 

I try very hard to welcome everyone regardless of the secular label they use. We are stronger together. That said, I’m always disappointed when I hear other secular folks saying that humanism sounds uninviting to them. The critiques have lots of important details, but often seem to boil down to “humanism feels like dogma.” Humanism is not a dogma, but a conversation. I concede that it took a very special set of accidents for humanism to start feeling like a conversation instead of dogma to me.

I don’t want to change the labels you use. Maybe “humanism” doesn’t flood your synapses with joy. I’m not trying to alter that about you, but I do want to connect with you and let you know why the label “humanist” makes me feel like I’m part of building something bigger than myself. All of our labels notwithstanding, I want your help in making it bigger still.

My parents raised me at the knee of reason and compassion. Other people did religion, but not my family. While my parents and I had plenty of friends, we didn’t have any kind of values based community. I bet the word “humanist” tickled my young cochlea; however, I don’t really remember it being more important than other words, like “atheist.” If you’d asked me what I was when I was ten, I probably would have said “nothing.” I might have said “atheist.”

Secular Student Movement Update 2/5/2015


Every week, the SSA prepares a summary of what the secular student movement is doing. To hear this update and news from the secular movement, tune into the SCA's National Secular Movement Update every Thursday at 12PM ET.

Presented by August Brunsman, Executive Director at the Secular Student Alliance

The Secular Student Alliance has extended our deadline for nominations for our Board of Directors! Applications will now be accepted until Friday, February 6 at 5:00 ET. More information can be found at secularstudents.org/nomination.

Today is the last day for our affiliate groups to order tabling supplies for Darwin Day! As of today, we have sent out over fifty packets to groups planning events for next Thursday's holiday, ranging from raffles to birthday parties to speakers to creationist bingo. It should be a fun time for everyone involved and we look forward to everything our groups are putting together. More information about Darwin Day for our students can be found at secularstudents.org/darwinday.

As we mentioned last week, the Secular Student Alliance will be tabling at Creating Change, the largest annual activism event for the LGBTQ community and its allies, in Denver, Colorado from February 5-8. If you're in the area, come say hi to Director of Campus Organizing, Lyz Liddell, and Communications Associate, Kelley Freeman. Our Southeast Regional Campus Organizer, Cara Zelaya, will also be in attendance and will be presenting alongside Greta Christina for a workshop on 'coming out atheist'.

Secular Start Up: Getting Media Coverage for your Campus Group


Secular Start Up is the finest (and only) official video advice series from the Secular Student Alliance, put on by our Communications Associate, Kelley Freeman, and our Regional Program Manager, Gordon Maples. It originally started in August of 2013 and has evolved into a bimonthly series of national updates and student leader advice.

This week's Secular Start Up covers the best ways to get media attention for your group, be it press releases, letters to the editor, or social media! Still have questions? Feel free to contact communications@secularstudents.org for help!


Subscribe to Secular Student Alliance RSS
Powered by Drupal