Below is a guest post by Jessica Kirsner, one of the coolest people at the SSA.
Hello readers of WWJTD! I am Jessica Kirsner, the Development Associate for the Secular Student Alliance and one of JTs friends (I miss having him in Columbus already!). I met JT when he was the SSA’s High School Organizer last year.
Much of what JT did for us was helping students whose administrations were blocking the formation of a high school group. It is extremely unfortunate, but a hell of a lot of people find the mere idea of atheist students existing and wanting to organize offensive enough to deny students their rights. JT also helped us point students towards organization like the Freedom From Religion Foundation when their schools were having illegal commencement prayers or other first-amendment violations.
These sorts of problems pop up nearly every week, and at the SSA we want to make sure these students know that they are not along in fighting for their rights. That is why we are crowd-funding for a new position, a Rapid Response Organizer! Part journalist, part crisis manager, part mediator, and part organizer, when the SSA hears of a student that needs help we will send the RRO to be on the ground providing assistance. They will connect the student (or students) with legal help and advice if they need it, make sure they know about all the services and resources we offer, and will alert the local media to the violation of the students’ rights.
As we have found over and over again, public pressure forces people to respond. It is our hope that the RRO will help smooth over situations and lead to easy resolution of these problems.
The RRO won’t just be helping out with troubling situations. Every week our almost 400 affiliate groups are hosting amazing events across the country, and the RRO will be a representative of the national SSA on the ground, documenting best practices and ensuring that other groups can hold similar, successful events.
If you think that the Rapid Response Organizer is going to be a positive for the secular movement, make a donation today. You can help me meet my personal goal of raising $1,000 for this new position. Everything you give to the RRO campaign will be matched with a gift to our general fund! Plus we have cool incentives: stickers, buttons, and even copies of the Secular Public High School Student’s Bill of Rights!
I would be happy to answer any and all questions you have about the RRO or the SSA, or anything at all. Feel free to leave a comment below, or send me an email at jessicaDOTkirsnerATsecualrstudentsDOTorg. Remember, if you donate to make the RRO possible, your gift is tax-deductible!
Thanks for your time!