I got to see Lyz Liddell’s talk “The Unstoppable Secular Students” during the Midwest Freethought Festival this April in Madison, Wisconsin.
Lyz stressed that there are many challenges that secular students face. It’s not just the headline-grabbing resistance from administrators that students face when they try organize themselves. Secular students face stigmas attached to non-theists from students and teachers, they have limited resources, limited mobility. Secular student groups face issues of geographic isolation and high member turnover as students graduate.
The SSA works with students so that they can recognize these issues and plan for them. Over the last several years there has been a growing demand for SSA Services such as speaker events, requests for tabling supplies and group starting packets.
SSA groups are hosting high-quality regional events and conferences featuring well-known speakers. They’re leading interfaith dialogues. They’re performing and participating in service projects. They’re creating national programs like the Secular Segment, We Are Atheism and Ask An Atheist Day. They are defending the separation of church and state.
The SSA exists at the college and high school levels, and is looking at middle school, elementary school and perhaps one day homeschools. The SSA is making a positive difference in young atheists’ lives. That’s a pretty awesome reason to stay up all day and all night pleading, writing, entertaining and heckling for your contributions. It’s been my privilege and honor. And whether you’re just stopping by now, or whether you’ve been checking in throughout the 24 hours, thanks for being here with me.