Why the National Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers is Not Just for Blacks Only

This is a guest post by Mandisa Thomas. Mandisa is the founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. She has been featured in JET magazine and was recently elected to the Board of Directors for Foundation Beyond Belief.

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Created by Donald Wright (author of The Only Prayer I’ll Ever Pray: Let My People Go) in 2011, the National Day of Solidarity’s mission is to promote community and solidarity among blacks in America who identify as non-theists. In the face of the highly religious climate in the Black community, as well as the predominantly White presence in the freethought community, Black atheists often feel as if they are completely isolated. The Day of Solidarity encourages in-person fellowship, recognition of historic and current Black freethinkers, and the pursuit of Humanist strategies to solve the problems facing humanity — especially those affecting the Black community.

Although the date will always be the 4th Sunday in February, the celebrations for participating cities vary. In Atlanta, Black Nonbelievers, Inc. will host a Special Edition General Meeting, complete with a feature presentation by Darrell Smith, author of the upcoming anthology Black Nones. Black Atheists of America, along with CFI, will showcase different careers amongst Black atheists, complete with a photo exhibit in New York City. The Houston celebration will be held at a local restaurant. There will also be a gathering in Washington, D.C. These events and more can be found at http://aadayofsolidarity.blogspot.com/

One question that often comes up is if this celebration is exclusive to Blacks. And the answer is NO. All Day of Solidarity events are open to everyone, and no one should feel that, because they aren’t Black, they aren’t welcome to participate. The primary purpose of this day is to encourage Black atheists to engage offline, and to start working together to increase our presence not only in the freethought community, but also in the Black community — where our voices desperately need to be heard.

And you don’t have to be Black, or be part of a Black organization, to assist with these efforts. In fact, the freethought community can help by promoting this celebration and the corresponding events with all of the avenues they have available. Write about it in blogs or newsletters. Promote it on websites. Partner with another organization on an event. Encourage your group members to participate, and if there isn’t a celebration in your city — start one. Outside of the suggestions that each event be complimentary and free of recruitment efforts, no event is too big or too small. The ultimate goal is to bring people together.

The National sponsors for the Day of Solidarity are African Americans for Humanism, Black Atheists of America, Black Freethinkers, Black Nonbelievers, Inc., and Black Skeptics Los Angeles. If you are a member or organizer of a group that is interested in more information, please contact any of these organizations, or email aadayofsolidarity@yahoo.com. This celebration is one that ALL freethinkers should be aware of, and it is crucial to acknowledge any occasion that is deemed important by any particular race/identity within our ever growing community. Only then will we achieve the diversity is often discussed and desired.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I am a white male atheist. I am thrilled to see growing numbers of nonbelievers of all racial, gender and ethnic backgrounds.

    If niche subgroups crop up within the broader atheist community, and some atheists feel more comfortable joining the niche subgroups (black atheists, Hispanic atheists, Alabama atheists, LGBT atheists, former Catholics, former Muslims, former clergy, former Mormons, or whatever niche group) then I say “Terrific! Please feel welcome to join in wherever you feel most comfortable doing so. A broader community can have many branches.”

    • Randay

      I you or anyone else knows of Latino atheist groups, I think it would be great to inform them as well. They too may feel a bit isolated. The more variety the merrier.

  • http://twitter.com/Mark_AnthoNYC Mark-Anthony Smith

    As a black atheist and former Intern at CFI-NYC, I am so happy to see more black atheist groups popping up all over the place and meeting up. CFI-NYC sponsors a Harlem meetup group that I used to attend when I lived in NYC and look forward to re-joining once I move back. It was a great way to connect with likeminded individuals who were black and white.

    There just are not that many black atheists in the public spotlight, except for my personal hero Neil DeGrasse Tyson. We all need to support each other.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
      • Baby_Raptor

        I need more coffee. I read that as “celibate Atheists” and was highly confused.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          snort.

  • Dave Mabus

    what’s the harm of little idi*ts?

    monstrous.com/forum/index.php?topic=13908.0

    • Baby_Raptor

      We’re adults here, unlike you. We don’t consider “idiot” a bad word.

      Also, has someone called the cops yet? This guy is everywhere again…He’s clearly violating his court agreement.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    being black and an atheist is tuff. there is just so much constipation of religion in the black community, the really bad kind. rife with child rape, grifting, right wing lies, homophobia…

    i once attended a “black politicians of the state house” prayer breakfast. journalists, as i was at that time, were allowed to go and mingle. it was HORRIFYING.

    they chose a woman preacher to give the invocation or whatever. wow, was she CRAZY. the leader of the black caucus introduced her, and then she made my skin crawl, bobbin and a weavin and a shoutin and oh my gawd get me out of here, stat! no words that made any sense came out of her mouth.

    i love all my Peoples. Queers, African Americans, Atheists… but i have to represent and say that the middle group really needs to get ahold of itself and join those of us brave enough to be Reasoned. the church is NOT what it used to be. the days of Civil Rights heroism are long, long gone. Af-Am religious leaders these days are hucksters, con artists, and using your hard earned money to put their mistresses in furs (looking at you, Black Baptist leader).

    i’ll see if i can attend one of these secularist gatherings of African Americans soon, in my area. i know i’m needed here in TX.

    i conclude with two words: Eddie Long. nuff said.

    • Randay

      My Black friends are all non-believers now. In high school and college long ago it was not that way. When I engage in a conversation with a church-goer, I ask them why they have accepted the religion and ideology of their forebears’ slave owners. They weren’t Christian when they were kidnapped from Africa. For Blacks who turn to Islam, I make the same observation that Arab Muslims were slave traders and owners–the Eastern Slave Trade. To my mind, they are still mentally slaves to their oppressors’ beliefs.


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