NTSC: Tony Pinn and David Tamayo.

If there is a more sincere speaker than Tony Pinn, I’ve not seen them.  The man speaks with passion, and you can’t help but listen to him.  He also amuses with apparent ease, hardly without effort, it seems.  Right now he’s telling the story of his journey towards being a minister – a journey which, through character developing sadness, has landed him in our movement.  Good thing, I’d hate to be working in opposition to Tony Pinn.

I’m dead serious: there has not been a bad talk so far at this convention.  Usually, even at the best conventions, there’s a weak talk or two.  So far every talk here has been solid.  With the Dogma Debate live podcast coming up and Sam Singleton following them, it’s highly likely we’ll come out of today with another 100% grade for the organizers.  This is rapidly becoming one of the best conventions in the country.

I had also never heard of David Tamayo, the president and founder of Hispanic American Freethinkers (HA Free).  I worried that the president of an organization whom I had never heard of as a speaker may be the organizer archetype who accepted an invitation to speak publicly because he was the head of an organization, not because he’s a public speaker.  Nope, dude was freaking hilarious.  His talk was full of facts.  The one that got me was that African Americans make up 12% of the US population, but Hispanics make up 16%.  I wouldn’t have thought that, since African Americans seem to be making more progress.  After all, how many Hispanic candidates for President did we have?

Hispanics also change religions often, which make them a good demographic for us to reach out to.  I have donated money to two causes this weekend.  The first was the upcoming indie film We Are Not Monsters (Sam West, one of the filmmakers, has agreed to do a guest post here about it, so I won’t go into details – suffice that I thought it was a game-changer of a project).  The other is the HA Free, and it was purely because of how much I was educated by David Tamayo.

The North Texas Secular Convention has undoubtedly stepped up to take their place among the new-model conference elites like Skepticon, Reasonfest, and the Madison Freethought Festival.  That they have done it in the hostile landscape of Texas is a particularly special accomplishment.

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