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Training, Activism, and the Movement

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Speakers About Training and Activism

Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar
  • Located in Houston, TX.
  • Born in June 16th 1991, right after first gulf war, lived all childhood under Sanctions and Saddam Hussein Nationalist and Islamist Dictatorship.
  • The 2nd chapter of my life starts with the U.S Intervention in 2003 and the Civil War between Sunnis and Shias
  • Late 2007 my eldest brothers was killed in Iraq by Al Qaeda which ruined the family since then.
  • I lived in exile from September 2009 in many countries across the Middleeast east and South East Asia.
    March 2013: I arrived to the United States.
  • Education: Computer Science (Started 2011) going to continue here in the United States
  • Self Study: Philosophy and Macro economics since age 8 (which is the reason why I am an Atheist since birth).

    Projects created:

  • Global Secular Humanist Movement - its roots started from a local group I created in Iraq, today it has more than 195,000 Followers and growing.
  • Branches: 5 so far across the world. And 7 will be created this year.
  • Secular Post - Media platform for Secularists from all over the world to publish their ideas and thoughts (especially in countries with limited free speech and Atheists are prosecuted)
  • Written for publications such as : Big Think, National Post, Washington Post
  • Speeches: Found on YouTube
Dan Arel
  • Lives in San Diego, CA
  • Writes Op-Ed's for AlterNet, Salon and The Huffington Post
  • Author of an upcoming book on raising children in a Christian America
  • Has a column in American Atheist Magazine called Danthropology
  • Is the newsletter editor for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
  • Is the author of Parenting Without God: How to Raise Moral, Ethical and Intelligent Children Free From Religious Dogma
  • Also now the Ethics Expert for the Global Secular Council
  • Twitter: @danarel

Greta Christina
Evan Clark
  • Located in Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Chair of the Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors
  • Founder of the first SSA Affiliate on a religious campus
  • First atheist Student Body President at California Lutheran University
  • Co-Founder of the Humanist Community of Ventura County
  • Founder and Director of Spectrum Experience LLC
  • Twitter: @evansaysblah
James Croft
  • Located in Somerville, MA
  • Vice-Chair of the Humanist Graduate Community at Harvard
  • Assistant Editor of The New Humanism
  • Founder of Temple of the Future
  • Humanist Celebrant
Ian Cromwell
  • Located in Vancouver, Canada
  • Anti-racist, skeptic atheist, feminist, humanist
  • Author of The Crommunist Manifesto at Freethought Blogs
  • Health economist, health services researcher
Thea Deley
  • Located in Paonia, CO
  • Only comedian on SSA's roster with a vajayjay.
  • Called 'a face of new Atheism' by Denver's "Westword."
  • Founding minister of the Church of Personal Responsibility.
  • Promises to restore your virginity or send you home with a condom.
  • Rated "Rad!" by Metro State University student newspaper.
  • Once burst into a church and yelled at the worship band to STFU.
  • Performing at American Atheists' 2014 national conference in Salt Lake City.
  • Twitter: @theadeley
Kate Donovan
  • Located in Boston, MA
  • Blogger at Freethought Blogs, Friendly Atheist, and Teen Skepchick
  • Volunteer SSA Network Coordinator for Military Students
  • Studying Psychology and Human Development & Psychological Services at Northwestern University

Topics Include:

  • Pseudoscience and Women
  • Alternative Medicine in Practice: Homeopathy & Handwaving
  • Mental Health: The Skeptic's Approach
  • So You Want to be a Student Activist?
  • The Nice Atheist: Mediating and Mediators in the Community
JT Eberhard
  • Located in Lawrence, KS
  • Blogger
  • Co-Founder of Skepticon
Fred Edwords
  • Located in Washington, D.C.
  • Guidance and expertise in SSA publications
  • Input into mutual cooperation between SSA and AHA
  • Contributions to SSA literature and content
  • Participation in the Speaker Series and Debate Circuit
Patrick Elliott
  • Located in Madison, WI (frequently travels to Minnesota)
  • Attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Spokesperson on state/church issues with the media, including the Los Angeles Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Fox News, MSNBC and other national news sources covering state/church issues.
  • Speaking engagements have included freethinker groups, conventions, legislative testimony, and training for school administrators.
Tim Farley
Lori L. Fazzino
  • Located in Las Vegas, NV
  • Doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Studies Evangelical Apostasy and deconversion  processes
  • Secular Student Alliance UNLV board member (2011-2012)
  • Former Evangelical believer and meat eater
  • Click here for her UNLV faculty page
Zack Ford
  • Located in Washington, DC
  • LGBT Editor, ThinkProgress.org
  • Founder, ZackFordBlogs.com
  • Founder, Queer and Queerer Podcast
  • Twitter: @ZackFord
Kelley Freeman
  • Located in Columbus, OH
  • Communications Associate for the Secular Student Alliance
  • Former intern for both the SSA and Foundation Beyond Belief
  • President/Officer of SSA at the University of South Carolina (2010-2013)
  • Founder and president of Forward Progressive Alliance at USC (2011-2013)
  • Contributor to Friendly Atheist
  • Has spoken at multiple conferences and freethought venues throughout the country
  • Twitter: @ramenneedles
Iris Furman
  • Located in Davie, FL
  • Previous President and Co-Founder of Secular Student Alliance at UCF
  • Campaign Manager of Knights Against 8
  • Organized a 99% Spring Action Training on Direct Action
  • Involved in Labor Organizing during my stay progressive community.
  • Progressive Activist
  • Twitter: @Furmanator
Jessika Griffin
  • Located in Bloomington, IN
  • SSA Regional Campus Organizer for the Mideast Region (IL, IN, MI, OH, & KY)
  • Education: BS in Public Management from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington. Minor in legal studies.
  • Former Secular Alliance at IU President ('12-'13) and Outreach Director ('11-'12)
  • Identifies as a skeptic, secular humanist, and atheist
  • Twitter: @SSAJessika
  • Jessika can speak on secular activism, building a community on campus, doing interfaith work, how to run social media and other promotional resources, and working with off campus groups.
Jennifer Hancock
  • Located in Tampa Bay, FL
  • Former executive director for the Humanists of Florida Association.
  • Author: The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom Writer and producer of An Introduction to Humanism on DVD
  • Tampa Humanist and Freethought Examiner for Examiner.com
  • Writes a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper.
  • Writes the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast.
Jason Heap
  • Located in Washington, DC
  • Travelled to nearly 40 countries through work, leisure and service projects.
  • Family and friends come from over 10 religious traditions.
  • Qualified as a Teacher of Religious Education in the UK's State-maintained schools.
  • Was first appointed as a Headteacher (the UK equivalent of a 'Teaching Principal' in the US) at the age of 32.
  • First applicant to be a Humanist chaplain to the US Navy (application ongoing).
Chris Highland
  • Located in San Rafael, California
  • Non-theistic freethinker; "Nature Chaplain" 
  • Instructor in "natural spirituality" through Cherry Hill Seminary; adjunct instructor, Dominican University and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
  • Nine published books including Life After Faith
  • Presbyterian Minister for 14 years (1987-2001; Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary; parish associate for 10 years; left ordination for reasons of conscience)
  • Interfaith Chaplain in county jails--10,000 inmates per year-- and with unhoused, homeless poor--in one of the nation's wealthiest counties-- for 20 years (directed county emergency shelter for 2 winters)
  • Taught courses in congregations on World Religions and Sacred Scriptures
  • Philosophy major, Seattle Pacific University--evangelical college
  • Former Evangelical (high school through college attended Baptist, Pentecostal,
    Protestant, Campus Crusade and House Church congregations; youth group leader; wide biblical and ecumenical knowledge)
Sikivu Hutchinson
  • Located in Los Angeles, CA
  • Sikivu Hutchinson is the author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values WarsGodless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels, and the forthcoming White Nights, Black Paradise, a novel on Peoples Temple and the Jonestown Massacre.
  • She is the founder of Black Skeptics Los Angeles, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and a Senior Fellow for the Institute for Humanist Studies. The Black Skeptics Group sponsors annual First in the Family Humanist scholarship awards.
  • She is also the project director of the Women's Leadership Project feminist humanist mentoring program.
Chris Johnson
  • Located in New York, NY
  • Author of the photography book, "A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God"
  • Director of upcoming film version of the book.
  • Has raised over $125,000 on Kickstarter for the book/film of "A Better Life"
  • Interviewed atheists from around the world for the two projects including notable figures such as, Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, Penn & Teller, Julia Sweeney, Alex Honnold, & Derren Brown, among others.
  • Check him out on Youtube here.

Topics Include:

  • The journey of creating "A Better Life" - from concept to published book!
  • Crowdfunding
  • A new way of looking at atheism
  • Atheism and Death
Mary Johnson
  • Located in Nashua, NH
  • Mary was a nun in Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity for 20 years before abandoning her religious faith to rejoice in her freedom
  • Mary enjoys helping bridge the communicaton gap between secular and religous people, since she understands how good people on both sides work
  • An Unquenchable Thirst, her memoir about her 20 years as a nun, was named to Kirkus Revew's list of Best Nonfiction of the Year
  • She’s been interviewed by Rosie O’Donnell and on national radio in the US, Canada and Australia
  • She is Creative Director of Retreats for A Room of Her Own Foundation
  • Her opnion pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, National Public Radio, the Huffington Post, and Bloomberg.com
  • Mary has been intervewed by The Friendly Atheist and Daylight Athesm, and has an article upcoming in The Humanist magazne.
  • Mary is in the process of becomng a Humanist Celebrant and is eager for the opportunity to help nonreligious people celebrate special moments in meaningful ways.

Mary is happy to speak on these topics:

  • Living an Authentic Life: Big Concept, Practical Steps
  • When Everything Changes Overnight
  • The Joys of Doubt
  • Herding Cats: Building Secular Community
  • Godless Heathen within a Religious Family: Avoiding Domestic Armageddon
  • This I Believe: A Weekend Workshop to Help Clarify Your Thoughts about Life and Living Well
Jamie Kilstein
  • Located in Brooklyn, NY
  • Comedian and Co-Host of Citizen Radio
  • As seen on MSNBC, Conan O'Brien, Showtime, and more
  • Doesn't hate women
  • Performed at The Reason Rally, Global Atheist Convention etc
  • Twitter handle: @jamiekilsteind
Adam Lee
  • Located in New York, NY
  • Author of the blog Daylight Atheism
  • Cited in Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion
  • Won first prize in a science-writing contest judged by Steven Pinker
  • Was singled out in campaign attack ads in 2008 run by a Republican senator
  • Lifetime member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation
Lyz Liddell
  • Located in Columbus, OH
  • Director of Campus Organizing at the Secular Student Alliance
  • Proponent of nontheistic involvement in interfaith programs
  • Advisor for Foundation Beyond Belief "Challenge the Gap" program
Gordon Maples
  • Located in Columbus, OH
  • Manager of the Secular Student Alliance's Regional Program
  • Formerly SSA's Regional Campus Organizer for the Southeastern US
  • Founder of the Southeastern Collegiate Atheist Alliance
  • President/Officer of Alabama Atheists and Agnostics (2010 - 2012)
  • Has inadvertently appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, The Blaze, and Creation Today.
  • Has spoken at multiple conferences and freethought venues throughout the Southeast and the rest of the country
  • Twitter @SouthernHeathen

Steven Martin
  • Located in Ripon, WI
  • Professor of Communication at Ripon College, in Ripon, WI
  • Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Address from Penn State University
  • Teaches courses on the rhetoric of social movements, U.S public address, political campaign communication, public speaking, argumentation theory, and metaphor and social problems
  • Advises the Secular Student Alliance at Ripon College
David G. McAfee
  • Author of Mom, Dad, I'm an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-Believer and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings
  • Contributor to American Atheist Magazine and Canadian Freethinker
  • Graduated with BA in Religious Studies and English
Jennifer McCreight
  • Seattle, WA
  • Member of the Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors
  • Co-founder and former President of the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University
  • Blogger at Blag Hag (www.blaghag.com)
  • Creator of the widespread "Boobquake" event
  • Contributor to the American edition of The Atheist's Guide to Christmas
  • Profiled in More Magazine in an article on the new feminists
Dale McGowan
  • Located in Atlanta, GA
  • Editor/co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers
  • Author of freethought satirical novels Calling Bernadette's Bluff and Good Thunder Editor of Voices of Unbelief: Documents of Atheists and Agnostics (2012)
  • Founding Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief
  • 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year
  • Author of Atheism for Dummies
Hemant Mehta

Hemant's speaking topics include:

  • The story behind I Sold My Soul on eBay
  • The need for critical thinking in public schools
  • The challenges of being a young atheist
  • Why skeptics can be so gullible
Ashley F. Miller
  • Currently located in Columbia, SC
  • Currently getting PhD in Mass Communications, focusing on Women's Studies and Reality TV
  • Worked in reality television as an editor -- shows included Toddlers & Tiaras, Flipping Out, Ace of Cakes
  • Plays the Ukulele
  • Member of the SSA Board of Directors
  • Communications Officer at Provide -- An organization dedicated to abortion access, especially in the South
  • Twitter: @ashleyfmiller

Ashley would love to speak on the following topics:

  • Atheism and diversity
  • Introduction to feminism
  • Media literacy and how to work with the media
  • Religion versus women, minorities, and LGBT
  • Using Social Media effectively
  • Film, Television, Young Adult Literature
  • Blogging, Podcasting, Vlogging
  • History of Christianity
  • Coping with burn out
Miri Mogilevsky
  • Lives in NYC
  • Studied psychology at Northwestern University
  • Now studying social work at Columbia University
  • Blogs about social justice, psychology, and basically everything at freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason
  • Tweets @sondosia
  • Enjoys Russian literature and Cheezits

Topics Include:

  • Psychology & mental health (especially as they relate to skepticism)
  • social justice
  • sexual health
  • LGBT/women's issues
  • writing/blogging/activism
  • social media
David Niose
  • Located in Lunenburg, Massachusetts
  • Author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, and Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason (December 2014)
  • Former president of the Secular Coalition for America and American Humanist Association
  • Legal Director for the American Humanist Association
  • Attorney who has litigated on behalf of Secular Americans
  • Humanist blog at Psychology Today, called "Our Humanity, Naturally."
  • Twitter: @ahadave
Blake Page
  • Spent two years enlisted in the Army
  • Went to West Point for 3 1/2 years until resigning in order to draw attention to failures to uphold the Constitution by military leaders
  • Served as president of the West Point Secular Student Alliance for one year
  • Currently serving as Director of Military Religious Freedom Foundation Affairs at USMA
  • Currently working on a book to provide comprehensive analysis and personal perspective on the implications of church and state violations in the military

Topics Include:

  • The culture of religious privilege in the military and how it effects our nation at large
  • The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, its mission, details about recurrent problems in the military, and how we address them
Anthony B. Pinn
  • Located in Houston, TX
  • Harvard University PhD (1994)
  • First African American to hold an Endowed Chair at Rice University
  • Author/editor of 28 books - including several on humanism
  • Director of research for the Institute for Humanist Studies
  • Named the Harvard University Humanist Chaplaincy "Humanist of the Year" in 2006
  • Received the African American Humanist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism in 1999
Darrel Ray
  • Located in Bonner Springs, KS
  • Organizational psychologist with lifelong interest in the psychology of religion
  • Author of three books, two in organizational psychology and one on religious infection
  • Principal researcher on the recent report: Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion, A survey of 10,000 American secularists
  • Founder of Recovering from Religion - "Learning the joy of faith free living" www.recoveringreligionists.com
  • Raised in a fundamentalist home.
  • Professional speaker, trainer and consultant
  • Hobbies include mountain climbing, skiing, gardening, reading and travel
Conor Robinson
  • lives in Los Angeles, California
  • founded Yale's Humanist Society
  • founded the Pathfinders Project
  • received the 2014 Humanist Visionary award from Foundation Beyond Belief
  • directs the Humanist Service Corps

Topics Include:

  • Pathfinders Project
  • the Humanist Service Corps
  • humanist fundraising dilemmas and strategic solutions
  • leading and engaging millennials
  • effective communication
  • expressing humanist values through service
  • ethical issues in international service from a humanist perspective
  • mitigating superstition by promoting development
  • vetting potential volunteer opportunities
  • evaluating project success using both process and outcome measures
  • other topics may be suggested!
Andrew L. Seidel
  • Lives in Madison, WI and loves to travel
  • Degrees include:
    • Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and environmental science, cum laude
    • Juris Doctor, magna cum laude
    • Masters of Law, summa cum laude
  • Speaking events:
    • Andrew has given more than 30 talks at universities and law schools across the country.
    • He has given talks and workshops at the last three SSA conferences in Columbus and has debated Bill O'Reilly.
    • He frequently writes for FFRF's blog: http://ffrf.org/new/blog
  • Awards include:
    • FFRF Graduate Student Essay Contest, Second Place 2010
    • Haber J. McCarthy Excellence in Environmental Law Award
    • Outstanding Masters of Law Student, Denver University Law School
  • Forthcoming book on international human rights
  • Attorney, Photographer, Writer, and Former Grand Canyon Tour Guide.
Herb Silverman
  • Located in Charleston, SC
  • Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston
  • Founded and was faculty advisor to the Atheist-Humanist Alliance
  • President of the Secular Coalition for America
  • Former candidate for Governor of South Carolina
  • Founded Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in South Carolina
James Sutter
  • Located in Seattle, WA.
  • Co-creator of the Pathfinder RPG, currently the best-selling tabletop roleplaying game in the world.
  • Professional author, game designer, and worldbuilder.
  • Author of the novels Death's Heretic and The Redemption Engine, a fantasy series about an atheist in a world where gods are objectively real.
  • Ranked #3 on Barnes & Noble's Best Fantasy Releases of 2011. Finalist for an Origins Award and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and winner of numerous ENnie awards for setting and game design.
  • Regular guest speaker at Gen Con, World Fantasy Convention, Norwescon, Paizocon, Clarion West Writer's Workshop, and more.
  • Twitter: @jameslsutter
David Tamayo
  • Located in Reston, VA
  • President and Founder of non-profit Hispanic American Freethinkers
  • Host of the secular HAFree Podcast (in Spanish)
  • Freemason for over 15 years
  • Teaches critical thinking seminars to high schools in Northern Virginia (Washington, DC suburbs)
  • BS in Computer Science from George Washington Univ.
  • MS in Management of Information Technology, University of Virginia
  • Twitter handle: @davidfromhafree
Christopher Tanner
  • Located in Jenson, Michigan
  • PR Director/Organizational Director and Co-Host of Atheist Analysis.
  • They provide a network of 7 shows a week ranging from politics, religion, education, lectures, debates, and science to 15 active blogs per week.
  • He is passionate about small activist groups and helping them grow.
  • LGBTQ Activist/Feminist Activist/Secular Humanist
  • I have an associates of Business Management and 10 years of managing experience helping to develop individuals to maximize their careers within the constructs of an organization.
Valerie Tarico
Mandisa Thomas
  • Located in Atlanta, GA
  • Born and raised in New York City
  • Never formally raised religious
  • Married with 3 children
  • A founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc.
  • Current board member of Foundation Beyond Belief
  • Twitter: @mandy0904
Gleb Tsipursky
  • Located in Columbus, OH
  • I am Co-Founder and Ideator-in-Chief of Intentional Insights, a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to promoting rational thinking, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence
  • I am a history professor, specializing in analyzing decision-making processes and outcomes in various historical contexts
  • I am the former president of the New York University secular student group
  • I am an activist of the secular humanist group in Columbus, OH (The Humanist Community of Central Ohio)
  • I am an activist of the atheist group in the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church in Columbus, OH (UU Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists)
  • Twitter: @Gleb_Tsipursky
Rebecca Vitsmun
  • Located in Pullyallup, WA
  • Development Coordinator of Humanist Disaster Recovery Teams for Foundation Beyond Belief, the first national disaster recovery program for the secular community
  • Co-host and writer for broadcast radio program, Ask an Atheist.
  • Outed on live national television by Wolf Blitzer after a tornado destroyed her home
  • Board member of Humanists of Washington
  • Twitter: @ActuallyAtheist
Stephanie Zvan
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