This evening I listened to Atheist Analysis’ podcast appreciating International Women’s Day. Here is the link to their blog for this podcast. You can see a detailed bio on each of the guests (some of the bios are for women who were not included on the podcast). http://atheistanalysis.com/international-womens-day-tribute/
It started out with a Danielle Muscato, who is a transgender woman. She is the PR director of American Atheists. What an interesting and very important perspective. The hosts are asking why International Women’s Day is important to each guest.
Abbie Smith, PhD research scientist working at Emory University. She saw the anti-science community when she went to college. It was because of that she loves science so much. She thinks all atheist should speak up about science. She spoke about a time she debated against a creationist. She spoke about how the man treated her very poorly and was a very bad example for the believers who were in the audience. She was the young scientist who loves science and was happy about it. She said that people came up to her and said they were so shocked at how nice she was. She broke up their stereotypes.
Bridgett Crutchfield founded Minority Atheists of Michigan and the Detroit affiliate of Black Nonbelievers. Her first and foremost hero is her grandmother. Her grandmother was very family oriented. Her family was around all the time. She worked outside of the home. She owned a few homes as well. She said yes no matter how many “No”s she heard. Bridgett spoke on why she feels that even though we are going through a lot here in the States, women all over the world are going through so much more than us. I totally agree with her.
Website: http://www.meetup.com/Minority-Atheists-of-MI/ , http://www.minorityatheistsofmi.org/, http://www.blacknonbelieversofdetroit.org/
Heina Dadabhoy is now speaking. They are a former Muslim woman. They have a book coming out in December. Love that they’re reaching out to progressive Muslim groups to encourage transformation within Islam.
Aubrey Adrianson is a blogger and is owner of Godless Family (godlessfamily.com). She feels International Women’s Day is still needed because we haven’t reached equality, yet. Gender equality has not been reached yet, but each step forward is will bring us closer to equality.
Rebecca Vitsmun (famous for being asked by Wolf Blitzer on CNN if she thanked god she was saved) is involved with Foundation Beyond Belief, Humanist Disaster Recovery, and Ask An Atheist. After the tornado, she had religious people who helped her and her family rebuild their home and they continually tried to proselytize her. She thought that she didn’t want to have other people have to deal with that when they go through disasters. Because of that desire, Humanist Disaster Recovery will have boots on the ground this summer.
Candace Gorham is a mental health counselor. Her focus is on black women and depression. She is the author of the book The Ebony Exodus Project. She is currently working on a book about family issues, dating, marriage, sexuality from the African American perspective.
Kelley Freeman is a communication associate of the Secular Student Alliance. She’s been involved in service for many years and feels her position fits well with her position currently. She co-hosts a youtube series called Secular Startup. They give advice to leaders of student groups and how they can work together with other progressive organizations. “Can’t” is not in her vocabulary.
Stephanie Guttormson is the operations director for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. She also has a youtube channel. The theme for this years International Women’s Day is Make it Happen. She said she feels the biggest thing that we can make it happen is to destroy patriarchy. As an aside, Stephanie is also a transgender woman and she is making an impact on the views people have of the LGBT community.
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ThinkingStephtically
Amanda Metskas, the executive director of Camp Quest. She spoke about who started Camp Quest and the importance of having camp available for secular kids, even those whose family can’t afford to send them. Speaking on the Make It Happen theme of International Women’s Day, Amanda used the example of the growth of Camp Quest. It has grown because of the people who have stepped up to make it live on. She says the growth of camp quest is because “Regular people step up and become extraordinary people.”
Godless Mom was next on the show. She is an atheist blogger. She says that we have to get out there and make things happen and not just keep it to ourselves. She says some of her biggest conversations she’s had are those with those who have left religion because of her conversation with them.
Ellen Johnson is the former president of American Atheist. She was with them for 13 years. Now she is the Executive Director of Enlighten the Vote. Equality is what feminism means to her. Voting is a huge part of what she’s about these days. Separation of Church and State. Voter registration. Etc. And she believes all of this is key to making a change with the inequality in this country. She believes more women should run for office. Host: If we don’t agree with the candidate, what can people do behind the scenes or front and center. Ellen: We can say that we won’t go out and vote. Let them at least think we will stay home on election day. Make them worried that they won’t get the vote. We really need more people to get involved at election time. Find a group that speaks to you. Those groups could be the backing for a politician to run for office, no matter the level of government. We can get people voted into office and we can get people voted out of office.
Rebecca Hensler, founder of Grief Beyond Belief. It is a group of forums for nonbelievers to work through losing someone they love. “It may be up to me to make this happen.” And that’s how Grief Beyond Belief began. A new workshop is starting soon for people to train to start their own secular grief support groups in their communities. (Really something that interests me greatly. I can’t imagine have gone through losing my mom as an atheist. I don’t know how I would have done.)
Jennifer Lovejoy is the Affiliate Service Manager for Atheist Alliance of America, President of the Carolina Secular Association, and host of Atheist Avengers podcast. (She seems like a lot of fun. She put on pants for this podcast. haha) It took her awhile to see herself as a feminist because of her religious background. She finally realized she is a feminist. Some of her heroes are her stepmom, Wonder Woman, and women who use their voice. To make it happen, you need to use your voice. Speak up when we see racism or sexism. She also says to register and get out there and vote. Find a mentor if you want to make a difference. Most importantly, speak up. Use your voice for good.
Mandisa Thomas one of the founders and current president of Black Nonbelievers Inc. She is also on the boards of Secular Coalition of America and Foundation Beyond Belief. Also, she is the coordinator for the newly launched Atlanta Coalition of Reason. Black Nonbelievers Inc has seven chapters around the country. They are purpose is to increase the visibility and diversity in the secular community and help bring out other non believers of color. Religion is especially has a strangle hold on the black community, creating issues where it becomes increasingly difficult to identify as secular in the black community. She says one way we can make it happen is to get involved and stay committed. In order to get things done you need to stay involved and continue to participate. Offline especially.
They had a short memorial for Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She was a very divisive person among atheists as well as Christians. She had a lot of great things to say. She was just a bit too abrasive in my opinion. I think a memorial for Queen Silver would have probably been more fitting, but I get that they probably wanted to show someone who made a bit more of a splash on camera. 🙂
Shelly Segal, is a singer/song writer. She grew up in a Jewish family, but became an atheist when she was 19. She began by helping the fertility clinic in Melbourne and from there she has used her music to deal with the issues that are important to her. Using our voices is something she speaks about.
Susan Walsh is with Sunday Assembly, Detroit. She spoke about why Sunday Assembly was started. The community is the a “rocking party” in Susan’s word. She explains that Sunday Assembly is similar to a church service, but without god in any way. Songs, small talk, and coffee! 🙂 (I think the community is the thing I miss the most about church, but I’ve found something similar in my own life.)
Rachel Nanon Brown is a co-host of Atheist On Air. She has a focus on education and making sure that people outside of science understand what scientists are learning. Asked about how people can be activists, she says there is a need. There is a passion and she says we need people to speak up and speak loudly. These words should be backed by research as well. People make up the definition of words. These definitions are flexible. It’s a word that represents things that are happening and things we want to change. It represents us saying something is up and we need to fix it.
Vyckie Garisson has a website called No Longer Quivering. She used to be a part of the Quiverfull Christian movement. She was a Christian for 25 years. She created No Longer Quiver is a gathering place for women escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse. Speaking on feminism, she says that it’s not about rejection, it’s about that authority of men is only denying who she is for real. It’s embracing my own empowerment, intuition, and my interaction with the world. And not having to do that based on some pre-prescribed role.
Shannon Nebo cofounder and current president of Be Secular. Be Secular is primarily a clothing company. They donate half the proceeds to secular nonprofit organizations and artists. She is a blogger on Danthropology. Make It Happen: Use your voice. Chime in when you hear a sexist comment (for example). Little by little we’ll change things in our own circles.
Zinnia Jones started out on YouTube answering questions about atheism and doing shows on political issues of all kinds, including LGBT issues. She is a transgender woman and began her transition in 2012 and began sharing her experience with that since then. She has another new web series Gender Analysis, that she talks about gender issues, specifically transgender issues. She says that feminism is finding the structures of oppression and basically burning them to the ground, including gender norms.
Neil Carter spoke on behalf of Teresa Macbain and Sarah Moorehead from Recovering From Religion (as well as many other groups). Recovering From Religion has a new hotline for people to call in to ask for support if they’ve dealt with any religious abuse they’ve experienced as well as any doubts they may have. It’s not a proselytizing approach. It’s more of a listening ear for those who are leaving. I see them as a group who is speaking to people exactly where they are. (I need to sign up for my initial training event. I’m a little worried about doing it, but I think it’s a good place for me.). Neil says that he believes feminism is a word that he believes shouldn’t be needed anymore, just like atheist. As long as this word is still out there, there is a lot of work to be done.
Kristi Winters is a social scientist of sorts. She develops software for social scientists. She has been interested in how our perceptions of someone’s sex shapes how we view and judge them. She even did her dissertation in this area. She sees an underrepresentation of women in atheism. She wants to contribute to the atheist community by contributing herself to the movement as a woman. She says the more women involved the less it’ll matter the gender. She points out that religious patriarchy has it’s hold on us by putting a role on genders and it still influences us today. She wants to present atheism as liberation. She didn’t see people talking about areas of atheism that interested her so that’s why she became involved on YouTube. Besides being a scientist/developer, she is also a YouTube activist. Feminism is about embracing equality and sharing equality as a common goal. Lack of equality for some is bad for us all. Educate, Advocate, Organize. Check out her videos on deconversion. (I’m looking forward to watching those.She such an analytical lady. She loves her numbers. 🙂 ).
This has been a very eye opening podcast for me. I am learning about so many more women in atheism. All those men in atheism are fantastic. I guess I am just extra happy to see women in atheism. 🙂 Christopher Tanner ended the podcast with a quote from a letter many famous women to the G7 leaders.
“…if your summits reach the right agreements, great financing and momentum around girls and women’s empowerment can be placed at the heart of the new global goals…poverty is sexist, and we won’t end it unless we face up to the fact that girls and women get a raw deal, and until leaders and citizens around the world work together for real change…”
Thank you guys for having that podcast. Glad to see all those leaders in atheism.