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Call to Action: Secular Students and Social Justice


In the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision this week not to indict the officer that shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, we have heard from many of our student leaders who want to take action and are looking for guidance. We at the national Secular Student Alliance have several calls to action for our students and student groups who are frustrated, angry, hurt, and feel compelled to act.

While we have no reason to believe that Michael Brown was secular, or that the behavior of local law enforcement was based on explicitly religious grounds, we know there are people in similar situations who are secular students, and we stand beside them. Due process, freedom of the press, and peaceful protest are values that we, as a secular organization, are passionate about seeing flourish and are critical for humans living together in a free society.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

1. Listen and learn from other organizations

Working with other campus communities can often offer a broader perspective on issues (and you, in turn can offer those campus communities a unique perspective as a secular individual). Finding your local ACLU chapter and other campus groups talking about this situation is a fantastic way to start connecting and get engaged.

2. Host a discussion meeting

Hold a discussion around social justice, its importance, and how it relates to this tragic situation. We have resources on these topics to help get you started. We think it is important to make the connections between the missions of our groups and the social justice issues we choose to engage with. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a media toolkit which offers a fantastic list of topics relevant to the situation in Ferguson that might be a great jumping off point for a discussion meeting (see section 1 of the document).

Students from the University of Michigan-Flint participate in an event allowing students to express their thoughts on the Ferguson situation and to write letters to politicians and Michael Brown's family.

3. Participate in responses

Find out what responses are already happening on your campus. You can get involved with and support them as a group or an individual. You can send a note of condolence and support to Michael Brown’s family through the NAACP. We strongly encourage all of our students to take action and join peaceful responses in their area. We hope that you all feel empowered to join these efforts as secular individuals who care about our communities.

Secular Student Movement Update 11/20/2014


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 Lyz Liddell, Director of Campus Organizing at the Secular Student Alliance.

Secular Student Movement Update 11/13/2014


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 Kelley Freeman, Communications Associate at the Secular Student Alliance.

case statementThis week, the Secular Student Alliance is excited to share our 2014 Case Statement with you. Our Case Statement is a detailed look at the different ways we empower students to be more effective secular activists. In it you will find information about programs like our Annual Conference, the Secular Safe Zone, Openly Secular, our Regional Program, and more! Plus you will find out how you can become more involved with the Secular Student Alliance even if you aren't a student. If you are interested in taking a look, a downloadable version of our 2014 Case Statement is available at secularstudents.org/casestatement

Our affiliate groups are gearing up for winter celebrations by starting a lot of service projects! The Illini Secular Student Alliance has begun to raise money for Coats for Kids, and UM Flint joined Feminists for Global Equality on their campus for a Prom Dress Flag Football fundraiser. Lots of groups held exciting Carl Sagan Day events, and Northern Illinois University hosted a talk titled "Beyond Belief: Faith and Rationality from a Secular Perspective" which drew twice their anticipated attendance, their biggest event yet! Our Mideast Regional Campus Organizer, Jessika Griffin, is currently on a tour meeting with affiliate groups, and spoke at UM-Dearborn about secular students and political activism. 

Resisting Theocracy: Follow up from the University of Montevallo Secular Student Alliance


Affiliate groups of the Secular Student Alliance can request funding from us to host a speaker at their campus. Learn more at our Speaker's Bureau Funding page!

Just in time for Election Day, the University of Montevallo’s Secular Student Alliance hosted Chuck Miller, regional director of American Atheists’ Alabama chapter and founder of the Secular Coalition for Alabama! 

On October 23rd, Miller’s talk, “Resisting Theocracy” spoke to the importance of the separation of church and state and how it affects everyone whether they are religious or not. He talked about how secularists and their allies can improve the political landscape by banding together to bring about the positive change we all want to achieve.ChuckMiller

Hannah Martin, secretary of the University of Montevallo’s Secular Student Alliance, says, “He was very engaging and gave a lot of good advice. The audience seemed to really enjoy the lecture as there was a constant stream of questions from people at the end, all of whom seemed inspired and ready to work for that change.”

Officers of UM’s SSA were also able to meet with Miller beforehand at a local restaurant as a chance to introduce him to the group and campus, as well as to get to know him better and discuss ideas and current events. They were also able to make some connections for more possible events in the future.

In addition to having an awesome event, UM’s SSA was also able to get their presence known around campus with flyers in every building and a digital flyer on their local channel. They were also mentioned on a university-wide broadcast email for upcoming events at their university. Their event had a lot of people show up who had never been to an SSA meeting before! 

Their audience was diverse as well - questions came from religious standpoints as well as a non-religious standpoint. UM’s SSA also noticed many audience members taking the tabling supplies that the Secular Student Alliance provided. 


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