When the Fight for Social Justice Rightly Leads Humanism

When the Fight for Social Justice Rightly Leads Humanism March 1, 2016

Last week, the American Humanist Association made two bold statements regarding the importance of social justice and its relationship to humanism. This re-energized passion for combating social inequalities was communicated by a co-authored article from the AHA’s president and vice president, as well as by me being appointed AHA’s Social Justice Coordinator.

What does my new position mean?

Time will reveal the specifics of the progressive initiatives we have planned. However, much of what I’ve written and spoken about over the last year should give people a decent sketch of what’s in store.

My very first blog post with Patheos fleshed out my passion for addressing social ills.

I’ve been adamant about confronting the fact that atheism doesn’t preclude bias and cultural influences. This is why I’ve called out things like white privilege, belief-disassociation, and gratuitous ableism within secular circles.

This is also why I’ve tackled important social issues that don’t directly relate to religious hegemony, including cultural myths concerning single Black mothers, transantagonism, the social context behind riots, white guilt, and the absurdity of “all lives matter.”

Perhaps more than anything, though, I’ve attempted to raise awareness within atheist and humanist communities expressing the fact that atheism itself isn’t the nexus to human progress. Because we don’t live single-issue lives, we’d do well to avoid rallying behind exclusionary agendas.

Since we’re all made up of multiple identities, the way each sliver affects our daily life intersects. And even if someone holds a social position that is relatively free from discrimination and oppression, that doesn’t mean we should be discourteous or incurious about the way others are adversely impacted by marginalization on an everyday basis.

It isn’t enough for us to merely lend lip service, or to point out inconsistencies without further investment in the matter. The entire purpose of my preoccupation with matters related to social justice is to challenge undue complacency in order to disrupt the status quo that preserves systems of injustice.

Shirley Chisholm—educator, activist, first Black woman elected to Congress—was a self-described “catalyst for change.” She communicated wisdom informed by humanism, perseverance, and compassion that continue to inspire countless people today—including me. She once remarked “You make progress by implementing ideas.”

It’s this inspiration that informs my resolve to seek out practical and radical ways to aid fundamental shifts within the “good without god” subculture.


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