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Welcome New 2017 SSA Board Members

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I'm pleased to introduce the newest members of the Secular Student Alliance board!

Kayla BowenKayla Bowen is an undergraduate at Morehead State University studying Psychology and Philosophy. She works as an undergraduate fellow researching ADHD, and visual complexity. Her plans are to attend graduate school, earn a PhD, and become a professor. She founded the MSU Secular Student Alliance chapter her freshmen year in order to fight back against Kim Davis, the local county clerk who was refusing marriage licenses to gay couples. She also volunteers for the newly founded Morehead Pride Festival, and DOVES, a local domestic violence shelter.

Alice DavenportAlice Davenport, JD, MPA is a Senior Client Advisor for Bessemer Trust. She's worked in private wealth management since 2002 and previously practiced as a trusts and estates attorney. She has enjoyed helping wealthy individuals and families identify and accomplish their charitable goals through current and planned gifts. Alice believes the secular movement is the foundation for all the issues she cares deeply about, and is excited to be involved in nurturing its growth and organization. Alice graduated from Yale Law School in 1997; she earned an MPA concentrating in environmental policy in 1994 and a BA in 1991, both from Cornell University. Alice was a board member of the Reading Team, which dramatically improves reading readiness for disadvantaged children in Harlem, and a member of the Yale Law School Fund Board. She lives with her family in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, a wonderful place to be an activist.

Mai-Lynne DiebelMai-Lynne Deibel is a political science graduate of North Park University in Chicago. She has studied political science in the US, Norway and the United Arab Emirates. She has also interned for Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and worked on Senator Tammy Duckworth's election campaign. Interests include secularism, gender equality, civil rights, and feminism.

Lincoln DowLincoln Dow is a current student at St. John's School in Houston, Texas, and the co-founder of their Secular Student Alliance Affiliate. Lincoln is a lifelong activist who has previously served as an advisor for PETA and is active in local and state politics as a staffer for candidates; he is the director of Texas Students United, a political action committee. Lincoln is passionate about secularism, civil and LGBTQ rights, animal rights, and environmental protection.

Claire VinyardClaire Vinyard, JD is an attorney in New York. She previously served as the Social Media Coordinator for Foundation Beyond Belief. She grew up in a secular household but did not self-identify as an atheist and humanist until she was introduced to the terms in 2008.

Kayley WhalenKayley Whalen is an atheist and secular humanist who is a transgender Latinx woman. She tells us she often doesn't find that her non-religious identity is treated with respect even with people who are well-informed on LGBTQ issues and racial justice. She believes we need more intersectionality in our movements, and secular students have a huge role to play in transforming our movements as the next generation, and as people who can model our vision of a more just world on their campuses.

Help us welcome these new board members with a donation!

We also want to take a moment to thank the individuals that are retiring from our board. Nancy Martin, Miri Mogilevsky, and Jessica Kirsner, the Secular Student Alliance would not be where it is today without your support!

Our collective voice for a just secular world

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In the last two weeks Secular Student Alliance supporters have sent 250 emails to Betsy DeVos and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights opposing the rollback of protections for trans students!

If you sent a letter, THANK YOU! (If not there is still time!)

Of course, we won’t stop religiously motivated attacks on students with one campaign and a couple hundred letters. But we are making our voices heard, and we must keep doing so.

Because if we don’t fight for secular schools, who will? You can be sure that religious fundamentalists make their voices heard. Our job is to make it clear there are other voices and points of view in these fights. We need to prove to decision makers that we exist and that we won’t be silent while a rabid few try to bring us back to the Dark Ages.

We’re going to keep asking you to send letters, sign petitions, and speak out. We also need you to donate so we can keep this work going.

We’re funded by our supporters - that means you! When you make a donation, you allow us to keep running campaigns, supporting campus groups, and building the next generation of secular leaders.

Unfortunately there are many more fights to come. Fund us so we can be ready to respond.

So please, give today.

It wasn’t about drinking fountains then and it’s not about bathrooms now.

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We all knew the attacks on our education system were coming. One of those attacks has happened.

In one of his first education-related acts, President Trump rescinded the federal guidance clarifying that Title IX non-discrimination protections apply to gender identity.

This is a serious assault on students, and we can’t stay quiet. That’s why we’ve partnered with the National LGBTQ Task Force to ask everyone to write a letter to the Department of Education, opposing this decision.

Forcing students to use the wrong facilities can cause serious harm. Trans and gender-nonconforming students are regularly harassed, and are the targets of discrimination and sometimes violence. Suicide rates among transgender youth may be ten times as high as among youth in general, and dozens of transgender people are killed every year just for being themselves.

We believe every student deserves the respect and dignity of using restrooms and locker facilities that match their gender identity.

We must act to prevent this rolling-back of non-discrimination protections.

Take Action

More than just an issue that affects students and our members, we believe that fighting for trans rights goes to our core values of civic engagement, cooperation, inclusion, and humanist ideals.

Let us also be clear about who is leading this crusade. The Religious Right continues to try to hijack the government to regulate all our lives according to their own version of reality. A version of reality that ignores the wonderful complexity of the human experience, and continues to ignore modern science, gender theory, and the general progress of humankind.

This is a situation where a fervently held set of incorrect beliefs is driving a great deal of misery.

Join SSA and The Task Force in this fight: Click here to send an email to the Department of Education and voice your concerns.

March for Science

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It’s no secret: the Secular Student Alliance has a mad crush on science.

We also can’t contain ourselves when it comes to civic engagement.

And with all the love in the air today, we wanted to tell the world how totally twitterpated we are about the March for Science.

Its mission is to advance publicly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.

We could not have said it better ourselves--and we’ve been trying for 17 years.

The people of the world don’t all share the same religion or even all have a religion.  But we do all share this world and the same humanity, and forging a shared understanding of our humanity and the world we share, is the best tool we’ve discovered to bring about a better future.

That’s why we’re overflowing with love for the March for Science. We want to be at the March in DC and all of the dozens of satellite marches all over the world.  And we want you to join us!  

While science is one of our loves, it’s the notion of making science something we all own, share, and understand, that’s really got our hearts throbbing.

Get Your Group Involved!

  • Once you find out where your nearest march is, let us know if you need any financial assistance to get there. We want to make sure you can make it!
  • Then, request some protest supplies from us, so that you can make your group’s support stand out!
  • And on that note, if your SSA-branded group doesn’t have an SSA banner handy for the march, please request one to take with you.

See you on April 22nd!

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