Taking a moment to think of the work we do

I received an email yesterday from August, the SSA’s executive director.  It made me tear up.

Dear JT Eberhard,Jade group

At first Jade’s administrators refused to let her form a club for secular students. All she wanted was a place where students could come together and celebrate reason free from judgement and harassment. There were religious clubs at her school, and Jade saw no reason why a secular group couldn’t form. But the administrators called this group was “too controversial” and blocked its formation.

That’s when we stepped up to the plate. We contacted the administrators ourselves, saying that we would do whatever it took to defend her rights – even if it took a lawsuit. Rather than fight a losing battle, the school changed course. Thanks to the SSA, Jade and her friends will get their group. But there are countless others who still need our help, eager to form activist communities at their campus. We can’t let prejudiced administrators win.

Please donate to the Secular Student Alliance today

Right now you can double your impact! Supporters Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss see how critical our work is, and have pledged to match all contributions to the Secular Student Alliance dollar-for-dollar until the end of the year, up to a total of $250,000. Take advantage of this opportunity by donating to the Secular Student Alliance today.

Without the help of supporters like you, students like Jade will get left in the cold with no resources and no support. Bigotry and prejudice will prevail. But, because of supporters like you, we can ensure that students are able to come together.  You can help empower students to take an active role in forming communities and working towards a secular future. The Secular Student Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all donations are tax deductible. Please make a donation today!

August BrunsmanSincerely,
August E. Brunsman IV
Executive Director
Secular Student Alliance

P.S. – Remember, every dollar counts – especially when they’re doubled by Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss’ $250,000 matching challenge!

We all have our areas of specialty here at the SSA.  I’m surrounded by a group of the best activists in the biz (so good that it is not uncommon for me to feel a little insecure by comparison).

It was me who leaned on the administrators mentioned in the email.  That’s one of the things I’m good at around here.  Of course, administrations hostile to the formation of an atheist club (most of them simultaneously friendly to their school’s FCA) are not uncommon.  Jade’s administration was one out of several I got to send a friendly, “Don’t mess with us” nudge over the course of the semester.  When I’m doing that it’s just business as usual.  But when I read about it I got a little teary.  This is good work.  I’m glad to be doing it.

This is what it’s all about.  It’s why I’d do this job for free.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • neXus

    Awesome work JT! You deserve to feel proud of the work you do. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/llamagirl kevinbutler

    I’m so incredibly proud to get to call you my coworker :)

  • John Eberhard


  • http://legendsoftheheathentable.wordpress.com/ Gordon

    Ditto, amigo.

  • Zengaze

    Great stuff

  • Rick Wayne

    Uh, JT…Maybe make it clear to SSA that that last sentence was, you know, a rhetorical flourish? (Though heartfelt, I’m sure.)

  • John Morales


    I received an email yesterday from August, the SSA’s executive director. It made me tear up.

    Dear JT Eberhard,


    Please donate to the Secular Student Alliance today


    August E. Brunsman IV
    Executive Director
    Secular Student Alliance

    P.S. – Remember, every dollar counts – especially when they’re doubled by Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss’ $250,000 matching challenge!

    I see. So well does August know you, that he implores you to donate.

    (I suppose that such personal letters as this ought to make one tear up — though in my (admittedly hypothetical) case the reason for such might not be the same as yours)

  • jaime

    I’m so glad the club was able to form. Kudos!

  • PhilMay

    You are the reason I decided to make a donation to SSA earlier this year. While the work of SSA at the college level is important, it is so much more important to reach out to students in high school. I believe this for two reasons:

    1. Many people don’t go to college, so never have the opportunity to benefit. This is especially true for Teachers, Administrators and curious religious High School students who would otherwise miss the opportunity to learn that atheism and secularism are valid life belief systems in America and are protected by our constitution.
    2. A person’s concept of self develops more during this period than any other period in their life. It is not unusual for an intelligent free thinking student who has rejected religion to suffer isolation and ridicule from religiously oriented classmates and even from teachers and administrators. Based on their specific situation this can contribute to creating social relationship and self image issues which can take years to correct.

    A High School student who escapes religion by the use of research and reason in the face of community opposition should be rewarded with something more than contempt from their peers.

    I enjoy hearing of your successes and your descriptions of the kinds of activities and programs the students come up with to help educate themselves and others about what it means to be a secularist in a predominately religious society in America.