Black Atheists to Come Together for Day of Solidarity

Several black atheist groups — yep, there are many of them these days — are planning a Day of Solidarity on February 26th and hoping that it becomes a yearly tradition.

The idea is the brainchild of Donald Wright, author of The Only Prayer I’ll Ever Pray: Let My People Go:

The idea of a Day of Solidarity occurred as a result of me pondering Black History Month with more focus on black free thinkers and non-believers. I felt that an effort should be given to assemble black non-believers in our local towns and cities eliminating the need for expensive travel. I visualized a special day of observance once a year on the 4th Sunday in February to promote fellowship, share experiences, meet new non-believers, and discuss the lives of black non-believers that our typical history books omit. Also, this could be the opportunity to encourage community activism.

If you’re interested in hosting or participating in a local event, the organizers want to hear from you. More information is here and here.

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.

  • Kwameamensah

    Hemant you seem to be suprised that there are a number of  Black non-

    believers “these days” . However there have always been several secullar grassroot

    organizations at least here in Saint Louis ( organization of black struggle and Better

    family life) and I am sure throughout the world. Secularism in the Black

    community did not arise from the “New Athiest”, however those people of color

    who have recently become aware that it maybe more acceptable to be non

    religious. The other side of the coin is that even though these ideas reinvented and

    freshly painted have little to do with the realiries of institutional racism, liberal

    bigotry, and selective historical amnesia as it pertains to all things non white.   

    Kwame- St. louis Athiest Meetup Organizer 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I’m not surprised there are black atheists. There always have been. But they’re getting more mainstream media attention and that’s new. They’re coming out and forming groups and that’s (relatively) new, too.

      In any case, I hope the attention compels other black atheists to come out of the closet.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JTBMQYMFVZMKNCXIMISICQ3Z6E Anonymous

      i think that it’s like the notion that there are fewer female atheists… we stay in the closet, for the most part. But, every time I become aware that a friend or acquaintance is a non-believer, it makes me feel more comfortable being open about it.

  • C’mon Man!

     Why do they have to call themselves “black” atheists/free thinkers/non believers?  Can whites and other color/ethnic groups use colors and fists to describe themselves? Or would that be considered racist? I just want to make sure all the typical double standards still apply.

    • Anonymous

      The reason most groups distinguish themselves by race is same reason people outside of  that group ask those questions as to why they should namely the divide. There are several topics such as bigotry, racial discrimination, institutional racism, the fact that African-American boys are “pushed” out of public or charter school more than any other group are all reason why a particular sub-group would rally around those things that affect them. Commonly known as survival.
       
      While many mainstream (predominantly white) atheist, freethinker, secular humanist and so on,  rarely if ever concern themselves with the afore mentioned things that specifically affect the non-white to support their social existence here on planet earth. Sure there are those who have given donations, visited Africa ( I have been twice), joined the peace core, but have done very little to understand the racial divide.
       
      For example hypertension has a genetic predisposition for African-Americans. Yes I am sure that there are millions of white Americans with the same illness related symptoms. It kills more African- American than anybody each year is the point and so does cycle cell anemia. With that being said so is the specificity as it relates to religion and culture and being non religious. Confronting non-belief has a unique set of circumstances for a group of  people who have used religion to free themselves from slavery, the tenants of Jim Crow laws and many forms of actual physical violence. Stereotypes are embedded in the American psyche and the atheist community as well.

    • ToddP

      Sorry, C’mon Man, but diversity doesn’t intimidate me like it obviously does you.

      As a white man who’s an atheist, I want to see the benefits of nonreligion reach everyone. Where I live, there are atheist groups for gays, women, Latinos, ex-Muslims and ex-Catholics, etc. There’s nothing wrong with minorities within atheism congregating, addressing, and discussing their particular issues.

      Stop whining.

    • http://www.bblss.org/ Miki

      I see some of you have a real problem with the concept of Freedom of Association and autonomy.  The idea of historically and politically marginalized groups setting their own agenda is particularly troubling, I gather.  Perhaps you’d feel less threatened if we went back to Jim Crow “no loitering” laws. 

      You might consider that whatever is motivating your righteous indignation, or Nordog’s mockery, is the reason some black atheists find the need to form their own groups in the first place.

  • NorDog

    How about a day for black lesbian atheists with a Marxist perspective?  Don’t wanna leave anyone out.

  • Dustin

    I’m originally from Harrison, AR so until I left for college, I had interactions with only one black person. At school I’ve yet to meet a black person who is openly secular, so this is kind of surprising. I better let the SSA here know to do an outreach. Thanks for the info :D

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Hement for keeping me updated on stuff like this…

  • zopter

    being an atheist can lead to even sicker and less societally approved idealizations 

    • NotSoNeutral

      How did you come to this conclusion?  Because I’ve come to the same conclusion about theists… Can we both be right?  Or do either of us really know what we’re talking about?  I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

      • NotSoNeutral

        And by the latter question, the obvious answer being – NO.

  • zopter

    if you are an atheist then you must put worth in the subjects of reality based upon a Godless form of theism

    • Private Name

      First of all, one finds value in the ‘things’ present in our everyday world, regardless of belief system. Example: you’re a devout believer and you have a son or daughter who you love. They are something found in reality and you find value in them.

      Second, you don’t put worth into the “subjects of reality”. Things in this world aren’t jelly donuts and you aren’t the baker.

      Third, one can, and often does, find value in things in the world and doesn’t treat them as a god. If you enjoy food, you find value in food, but you don’t think your food is a god.

      Happy Holidays.

    • NotSoNeutral

      Godless theism is an oxymoron.  I understand many people use words but don’t actually know what they mean.  I’m positive this is the case with your comment.  You could benefit from reading books or studying a language, in this case check out English if you would like to make more sense.

  • Anonymous

    Please check out reddit.com/r/BlackAtheism 

  • Naima_wdc

    Whether growing up as nonbelievers or becoming one as adults, most
    black atheists won’t meet many others; the standard feelings expressed by black
    atheists are those of isolation, loneliness, and alienation.  Often the remedy for these feelings is
    activism: actively searching for and befriending other nonbelievers; working
    with as many other nonbelievers as possible to address social ills; continuing
    their ‘education’ about the real world; finding positive expressions for
    secular ideas through writing, public speaking, etc., and strengthening the
    secular community by supporting existing organizations as well as creating
    dynamic new ones.

     

    The second annual Day of Solidarity for Black Non-believers must
    be seen beyond the events that take place on that day; it must be used to
    launch a wave of activism among African Americans and other people of color as
    we strive to openly embrace our non-theist status in an ethical and dignified
    manner. The DoS committee will contact secular organizations in over 40 states;
    in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America as well as
    Austrilia and Canada to ask for their support of the DoS along with a
    commitment to plan an event.  While
    atheists who do not support this particular event aren’t any less committed to
    activism than those who do, it is clear that every non-theist needs to create
    opportunities that will motivate those who have so far remained dormant.  This is exactly what free-thinkers do!

     

    Anyone who supports this initiative can:

     

    1) Contact other non-theist individuals, groups, etc. and plan an
    event (for example, a brunch, lunch; book or film discussion; museum trip;
    speaker presentation);

    2)  Decide on a time and
    place.  Please publicize the event as
    widely as possible using Facebook, meetups; websites; computer and newspaper
    community calendars; issue local press releases; make personal invitations; and
    post the time, venue, and a description of your event on the DoS Facebook page;

    3) Those planning a private event may also post the description of
    their event on the DoS Facebook page along with their city and state; just
    indicate that it’s a private event.

     

    We want to know about every event that takes place on
    Sunday, February 26, 2012; large and small; private or public; in the US or
    abroad! Please be sure to post your videos, pictures, links, podcasts, etc. on
    the DoS Facebook page. If you have any questions or need further information,
    be sure to contact us on our Facebook page or e-mail us at aadayofsolidarity@yahoo.com.

     

    Let’s make 2012 a dynamic New Year of atheist activism!

     

     

     

  • Naima_wdc

    Type your comment here.

    Whether growing up as nonbelievers or becoming one as adults, most
    black atheists won’t meet many others; the standard feelings expressed by black
    atheists are those of isolation, loneliness, and alienation.  Often the remedy for these feelings is
    activism: actively searching for and befriending other nonbelievers; working
    with as many other nonbelievers as possible to address social ills; continuing
    their ‘education’ about the real world; finding positive expressions for
    secular ideas through writing, public speaking, etc., and strengthening the
    secular community by supporting existing organizations as well as creating
    dynamic new ones.

     

    The second annual Day of Solidarity for Black Non-believers must
    be seen beyond the events that take place on that day; it must be used to
    launch a wave of activism among African Americans and other people of color as
    we strive to openly embrace our non-theist status in an ethical and dignified
    manner. The DoS committee will contact secular organizations in over 40 states;
    in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America as well as
    Austrilia and Canada to ask for their support of the DoS along with a
    commitment to plan an event.  While
    atheists who do not support this particular event aren’t any less committed to
    activism than those who do, it is clear that every non-theist needs to create
    opportunities that will motivate those who have so far remained dormant.  This is exactly what free-thinkers do!

     

    Anyone who supports this initiative can:

     

    1) Contact other non-theist individuals, groups, etc. and plan an
    event (for example, a brunch, lunch; book or film discussion; museum trip;
    speaker presentation);

    2)  Decide on a time and
    place.  Please publicize the event as
    widely as possible using Facebook, meetups; websites; computer and newspaper
    community calendars; issue local press releases; make personal invitations; and
    post the time, venue, and a description of your event on the DoS Facebook page;

    3) Those planning a private event may also post the description of
    their event on the DoS Facebook page along with their city and state; just
    indicate that it’s a private event.

     

    We want to know about every event that takes place on
    Sunday, February 26, 2012; large and small; private or public; in the US or
    abroad! Please be sure to post your videos, pictures, links, podcasts, etc. on
    the DoS Facebook page. If you have any questions or need further information,
    be sure to contact us on our Facebook page or e-mail us at aadayofsolidarity@yahoo.com.

     

    Let’s make 2012 a dynamic New Year of atheist activism!

     

     

     


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X