Local Atheist Group Leaders Working to Diversify Membership

The Frederick News-Post has a great article featuring Heatherly Hodges, the coordinator of the Frederick Secular Humanists (FRESH), and David Tamayo, founder and president of the Hispanic American Freethinkers:

Heatherly Hodges (Adam Fried – Frederick News-Post)

A social worker in Frederick, Hodges said she’s also trying to add a social and community outreach component to the group meetings.

“My social work is important to me as much as atheism is,” she said. “All of that’s because I have faith in other people, in human beings, and what they can do.”

Hodges said that like leaders of atheist groups across the region and the country, she is also hoping to bring the Frederick Secular Humanists more in line with the community’s growing diversity.

“In some ways right now, there’s a part of the atheist movement that’s really pushing for diversity and welcoming to everyone that’s a nonbeliever,” she said.

Tamayo said he understands the benefits religion can have for people, including giving them a sense of community.

“I happen to think there are more negatives than positives,” he said. “There isn’t anything a church can do that a secular organization can’t do.”

Having leaders like these is probably the best way to bring more women and minorities into the movement. Asking for diversity is nowhere as good as showcasing it and having people in those demographics step up and take charge.

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