Activists of color come together to address social change at the Secular Social Justice 2018 Conference in Washington DC.
The American Humanist Association is hosting the Secular Social Justice conference in Washington DC on April 7, 2018. The conference is “an all-day event that will center the sociopolitical insight, leadership, and strategies of secular, humanist, and atheist activists of color who believe social change will only come through human intervention.”
Conference organizer Sincere Kirabo describes the meeting of social justice advocates as
“an all-day event that will center the sociopolitical insight, leadership, and strategies of secular, humanist, and atheist activists of color who believe social change will only come through human intervention.”
Feminist and humanist activist Sikivu Hutchinson, a pioneer of the Secular Social Justice conference, articulates the need to address “social, economic, gender, and racial justice from the perspective of communities of color,” noting:
Challenging the secular movement’s dominance by white elites, the secular social justice conferences that we spearheaded in previous years were designed to bring social justice activism to the fore of radical humanism and atheism.
SSJ was intended as a platform for activist humanist, atheist, and skeptic organizations of color from around the nation to share their intersectional organizing work. It was in direct response to the Eurocentric notion that addressing institutional racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, and white supremacy within the context of secularism was unnecessary or “distracting.”
Our focus was the particular struggles of people of color within the context of state violence, hyper-segregation, economic inequality, mass incarceration, and the neoliberal gutting of public education. These systems have had the most devastating impact on our communities, and have only intensified the grip of organized religion precisely because there is no comprehensive social welfare safety net that addresses these disparities.
The rise of Trumpian neo-fascism makes secular social justice activism even more relevant to communities of color grappling with the anti-human rights backlash of the current administration.
The conference features an impressive lineup of speakers, including Ashton Woods, Community Organizer and Human Rights Activist; Candace Gorham, Counselor and Author, Diane Burkholder, Community Organizer and Anti-Oppression Consultant; Gowri Konesaran, Poet, Performance Artist, and Lawyer; Hari Ziyad, Black Liberation Storyteller; Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Political Scientist; Nazgol Ghandnoosh, The Sentencing Project Research Analyst; Rajani Gudlavalleti, Consultant, Community Organizer, Writer; Sikivu Hutchinson, Educator, Activist, Author/Writer; and, Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, J.D., National LGBTQ Task Force Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director.
For more information on this all day event “dedicated to connecting secular humanist values with strategies for transformational social justice through workshop training, discussion, networking, and coalition-building” be sure to check out the Secular Social Justice website.