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Executive Corner Piece: A Humanist Invitation

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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

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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

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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 [email protected] for help!

Secular Student Movement Update 1/29/2015

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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

This weekend is the Interfaith Youth Core Interfaith Leadership Institute in Atlanta, Georgia! If you're in the area or planning on attending, make sure to say hi to our Southeast Regional Campus Organizer, Cara Zelaya, as she will be tabling for the Secular Student Alliance. We are always happy to see our affiliate groups and leaders make secular students a visible part of interfaith work and definitely recommend IFYC's Interfaith Leadership Institutes as a good place to start and as a way to learn new skills.

Likewise, 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 4th-8th. 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'. 

Just as a quick reminder, the Secular Student Alliance is still accepting nominations for our Board of Directors. Applications and more information can be found at secularstudents.org/nomination and will be accepted until this Friday at 5:00 PM ET.

For any students on this call, we want to encourage you to apply for American Atheists' Activist Scholarships! Applications are due this Sunday, and more information can be found at atheists.org/scholarships.

That's all for this week! For more information, questions, comments or additions to student-led efforts in the secular movement, contact [email protected].

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