A Panel of High School Activists

Of all the atheists in the news over the past year, these may be the most important voices we hear: the high school activists.

At the Center For Inquiry’s Student Leadership Conference a month ago, they had a panel featuring Jessica Ahlquist, Harrison Hopkins, Damon Fowler, and Zack Kopplin, all of whom have seen the power of religion in the public school system first-hand and all of whom have done something about it.

I haven’t seen this yet, but I’ll be watching it later today — if you have any highlights, please leave the timestamp in the comments!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Malimar

    There
    were a grand total of three standing ovations over the course of the
    conference (on the student side, anyway). Two were for the event’s
    organizers. One was for this panel.

  • dauntless

    A lot of white guys up on that panel. We need more diversity among ostracized high school teenage atheists.

    /sarcasm

  • Rieux

    I wish they’d given these kids a table to sit behind and lean on, the way organizers do for most panels. The four look pretty small and uncomfortable just perched on some cheap chairs.

    • James Emery

      Indeed, I think they wanted to provide them with more of that ol’ high-school experience :P

  • Anonymous

    Harrison Hopkins is  fantastic public speaker. I see great things ahead for this person.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I had half the intellect and courage of those kids when I was in high school.

  • Sam

    The thing is, there are a lot of students who would do the same thing and feel the same way, but parents are the huge border. Luckily most of these kids’ parents supported them. I tried to start a secular student group in my highschool but was stopped by my parents from letting me act on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1034366850 Erin Jones

    Seeing these students I’m reminded of my years in high school. Even though I identified xian(now Atheist) I still refused to say the pledge of allegiance because I knew if violated freedom of/from religion. I guess that is why shedding God from my life was so easy, I already had these ideals within me.

  • Robster

    Not living in the US, it’s a errr… revelation that the religious dogma monster is so ferocious in the US. Each of these young people has suffered discrimination purely over what they don’t believe. This is in the nation that put man on the moon and a whole lot of other things that were done because they were hard. American science has perhaps done more than any other “thing” to improve living conditions on the planet than any mob of deluded religiots clinging onto their stone age nonsense made up by nomadic goat herders. The fight to save science being tainted by faith BS is an important one and these kids are on the front line. Well done!

  • Anonymous

    I watched a good part of it, but listened to the whole thing.  Very inspiring stories.  I have a lot of respect for all of them.  If you’re not going to watch it, and if  I were to grasp on to one thing, it’s how much they mentioned the internet (reddit, youtube, facebook) as being instrumental for their support.

    It gives me a lot of hope for the future.


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