An Atheist Is Living Without Shelter in Phoenix to Raise Awareness for an Important Cause

This is a guest post by Seráh Blain. Seráh is the Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for Arizona.

At the heart of Humanism is the idea that human beings deserve to be treated with dignity, to have their autonomy respected, and to be regarded equally regardless of immaterial differences that have no bearing on one’s value — such as color, class, gender, and so forth.

After several recent interactions with people experiencing homelessness in Phoenix, where temperatures are frequently well over 100 degrees, I have come to realize that homelessness is a vile affront to all of these principles — and as a result, with the help of my Humanist community, the Flagstaff Freethinkers, and several other collaborating organizations, I am spearheading a unique and provocative project to work toward ending homelessness in Arizona.

As of yesterday, I am living without shelter in Phoenix until we raise $56,310 — representing $2 for every individual who experienced homelessness in Arizona last year. The money will go to support the Madison Street Veterans Association, which is in danger of losing its women’s section due to lack of funding. Madison Street is a secular 501(c)(3) peer-run group of homeless and formerly homeless veterans offering personal, individualized service, basic resources, community and advocacy for all veterans.

Many of the individuals I’ve met who are living without shelter have complex, painful, beautiful stories about their lives and about who they are. They have creative and innovative ideas. They have extraordinary value — and yet they are imprisoned in a way of life that causes extreme suffering both physically and mentally. We, as Humanists, need to be on the forefront of fighting to ensure that people do not end up without stable homes — especially in places like Phoenix, where those experiencing homelessness often end up with heat stroke, chronically sunburned and blistered skin, memory and cognitive impairment as a result of lack of sleep, and worse. We ought to find ways to keep families together when they endure financial hardship so that we do not destroy powerful systems of support and send men, women, and children into a spiral of poverty and isolation. And we must create an environment where human well-being is an essential piece of the considerations that weigh into sound economic policy.

You can follow the project at Blistering at the Margins where we’ll keep you updated on our fundraising efforts and where I’ll blog from the public library about living without shelter in Phoenix. If we work together, if we share the project on our social media, if we insist that homelessness in unacceptable to the Humanist community, we can create remarkable, lasting change for people blistering on the margins of society.

Please consider a donation to this Humanist cause. Together we can raise public awareness of and inform public discourse around homelessness; we can invest in an organization working effectively to prevent homelessness — and we can show the broader community that Humanists have a powerful set of ethical values that we boldly direct toward improving our world.

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.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Dennis, do you just not LIKE not being in police custody?

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      Internet tough guy alert.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Do you recall what he said?

        • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

          “You’ll need a million signatures this time!!!!!111onetwo.”

    • Tainda

      Who is this Dennis and WHY do I always miss the good stuff?!

  • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

    Rihanna: This is what happens when you cancel Intervention.

  • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

    Cool story, bro. Did old Nosty predict your probation agreement?

    Piss off.

  • averydashwood

    Dennis’ comments always get pulled before I come in. He must be missing the hospitality of the Canadian justice system.

    At any rate, I tried to donate to this project and I got a message saying my donation could not be processed at this time. I hope this is due to a tsunami of donations that is overwhelming the server right now.

  • Mario Strada

    I think that as soon one of Dennis comments is posted, the next person should copy and paste it in their answer. That way a) We can laugh at his preposterous comments as well b) we may be able to create a trail of evidence that will continue to burden the Canadian justice system

    • Drew M.

      I like your style!

    • Bitter Lizard

      Drats–missed Markuze again. I totally want to be the one to pull away the final thread connecting him to reality, leaving him to fade away as a helpless little blob in the corner of an institution forever after.

      He is my white whale.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        From Hell’s Heart I troll at thee!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      The first one was bland link spam, same as always. I missed the second, though YankeeCynic’s response makes me curious. Anyway, you’re right, and I shall endeavor to do so in the future!

  • Brian Wallace

    Hemant,
    Thanks for his post! Serah is doing OK, so far, but her kids are missing her. Luckily, unlike those she is advocating for, there is a simple way to get her home – DONATE and spread the word!

    This might be a more useful link for folks wanting to check out her (our) group, the Flagstaff Freethinkers – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Flagstaff-Freethinkers/292095747477397

    Thanks for helping us draw attention to this effort and the issue that Serah is so bravely fighting!
    ~Brian Wallace, Flagstaff Freethinkers


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