Two Presidencies in One: Welcoming our New Co-presidents

As we move deeper into the new year, Secular Woman is excited to announce some changes to our board. Our president and co-founder, Kim Rippere, has stepped down as president and will remain on the board, taking on the role of bookkeeper. In her stead Monette Richards and Elsa Roberts, formerly Vice President, are assuming the presidency together. This move toward co-presidency is part of an effort to make our work and organization less hierarchical and to better share the burden of work that presiding over a volunteer board brings.

“Founding and leading SW has been a joy and an honor.” says Kim Rippere. “So many have supported SW and its mission to promote feminist, secular, progressive ideals throughout the atheist/secular community and the broader community. These ideals continue to be challenged, even as progress is made. For the betterment of SW, now is the time for a change in leadership. I am so proud that Elsa Roberts and Monette Richards are the Co-Presidents and are working to sustain and develop SW for the future.”

Both Elsa and Monette are excited for the challenge and appreciative of Kim breaking the path before them. “We are so grateful for Kim’s leadership and foresight in founding this organization” says Elsa Roberts, “without her we would not exist. Monette and I look forward to continuing her legacy and forging our own, endeavoring to direct Secular Woman in of support secular women, by giving voice to them and their concerns.”

We are launching two projects that we hope will do just that, one we announced at the end of last year, our indexing and wiki project. Our indexing project aims to be a central repository for movement history, including indexing movement publications, court cases individuals and organizations were involved in, etc. The Wiki project ties in with this because it is documenting women in the movement, both past and present, so that their contributions won’t be forgotten. We are also happy to announce that we are starting a listserv that is dedicated to increasing the networking, exposure, and support between women involved in the secular movement.

Secular Woman Announces the AHSI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AHSHI

Finding our History: Indexing the Skeptic, Humanist, and Atheist Movements

A new project from Secular Woman

Bainbridge, GA November 13, 2015 — If you have ever wondered about the history of skepticism, humanism, and atheism in the U.S. and hoped for a place to find such information, that resource is coming soon! We are excited to announce the launch of the Atheist, Humanist, and Skeptic History Index, a project that addresses that gap. The Index will catalogue information from publications of our movements and other sources so that they can be easily found by anyone interested in that history. We are thrilled that writer and activist Stephanie Zvan will be heading the project as the administrator. She was motivated to begin this project because “the U.S. atheist movement has always been in dialogue with our larger culture, but many people prefer to pretend all our history is religious history. I want to make that harder for them.”

Ours is a rich history in the U.S., stretching back prior to the American Revolution and continuing through today. From historical figures such as the writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin to suffragist and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton – atheists, humanists, and skeptics have helped to shape the social fabric of United States. Unfortunately, our history is often obscured or not well documented; this is especially true of humanists, atheists, and skeptics who are also part of a disenfranchised group, such as black people or women. This project will be working to make information on these movement figures, events, and publications more widely accessible, lifting the curtain to usher in this history from obscurity.

To ensure that the archive is of high quality and well-organized, there will be project administrators and volunteers working on its different aspects. Donations to this project will go toward supporting administrative staff. We’re currently raising funds to cover the costs of initial set-up, contacting and coordinating with other organizations, and indexing of over 200 issues of the American Atheist Magazine that are publicly available.

This project will be pulling from the archives and websites of organizations in these movements that have already begun their own catalogues, as well as adding new information as we find it. And as it continues it will be focused on identifying existing relevant periodicals (such as those that profile movement figures), legislation and court cases related to or brought about by these movements, events, and other related historical records of note. The index will take shape on a wiki platform so it will be simple and accessible for users and volunteers.

Secular Woman board member and project lead Monette Richards is particularly excited about how this project fulfills our mission, Richard’s points out that “the works and accomplishments of women are often left unwritten. We would be failing our mission to raise the voice of secular women if we allowed those voices to be forgotten.”

SWLogoEndorsed

Secular Woman Endorses Drive to Fund The Women’s Foundation Nepal

SWLogoEndorsedFOR RELEASE

Media contact: Kim Rippere ([email protected]) or Elsa Roberts ([email protected])

Secular Woman, an organization for non-religious women, is pleased to endorse Foundation Beyond Belief’s first beneficiary for response to the Nepalese earthquake. The Women’s Foundation Nepal was already providing shelter to women and children before the disaster, making them well-positioned to aid in recovery.

Foundation Beyond Belief cited The Women’s Foundation Nepal’s work with women and emphasis on the immediate needs of women in explaining its choice. As their statement says, “[R]esearch has found that women face more and unique challenges throughout response and recovery including needs related to health, safety, and economic stability. After disasters, access to women’s health resources are especially difficult to find, gender-based violence increases, and women are often unable to access recovery related employment opportunities and aid.”

Secular Woman president, Kim Rippere, added, “Secular Woman is thrilled at Foundation Beyond Belief’s choice of The Women’s Foundation as their local beneficiary in Nepal. Research also demonstrates that working to stabilize women helps stabilize the community. We are pleased that Foundation Beyond Belief’s data-based approach factors in both the added risks to women and the rewards of supporting them.”

Noelle George, Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, says: “Foundation Beyond Belief is pleased to be able to achieve two compelling goals by funding the Women’s Foundation Nepal: Aiding in the general relief effort and providing specific resources to help women and children in that country, who are so often the hardest hit after such a terrible disaster. We appreciate Secular Woman’s support of this important effort.”

Secular Woman urges everyone who wants to help ameliorate the immense suffering in Nepal to give through Foundation Beyond Belief’s Humanist Disaster Recovery program. Funds have been raised, but far more will be needed as Nepal works to rebuild.

 

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Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. For more information about Secular Woman visit: www.SecularWoman.org.

Recovering From Religion

SECULAR HOTLINE PROCLAIMS: “WHEN FAITH IS ON THE LINE, SO ARE WE!”

Kansas, City, MO: Recovering from Religion announces the launch of The Hotline Project, an international peer support phone line for people across the many stages of religious disbelief. This safe and secular toll-free number accepts calls from throughout the United States and Canada as they question the role of religion in their lives. The Hotline also assists callers in dealing with the fallout of leaving their faith, and people who have friends or family facing these transitions. Offering emotional support and practical resources, The Hotline Project connects callers to a friendly voice with a listening ear, and provides immediate, anonymous, confidential, and compassionate encouragement with relevant resource referrals.

 

“Recovering From Religion gets calls and emails daily from people around the world struggling with the consequences of doubting their faith,” said Sarah Morehead, Executive Director of Recovering from Religion. “Many know they risk losing everything – their marriage, their children, their jobs, and lifelong friends or family if their growing doubts are discovered, and in their daily lives they feel completely alone. The Hotline Project builds a crucial bridge from the ‘cold shoulder’ of rejection into the warm and welcoming world of the secular community, and acts as a beacon of hope and reassurance that there are many of us who truly understand how much of a challenge this process can be.”

 

Using the Hotline’s toll free number, callers are connected with a trained volunteer call agent who listens with compassion and understanding, but without the risk of judgment or condemnation.  Additionally the Hotline Project seeks to promote public service opportunities within the secular and non-religious community.

 

The Hotline is available 24 hours a day on the weekends and from 6:00 pm – 12:00 am on weekdays. Callers may reach the hotline by dialing, 184-I DOUBT IT (1-844-368-2848).

 

RECOVERING FROM RELIGION is a national 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2009 by psychologist Dr. Darrel Ray that serves to provide support and practical resources to people negatively affected by faith or religion.

 

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Official Recovering From Religion materials and handouts can be found here.
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Contact: Sarah Morehead § Executive Director § Recovering From Religion
(512) 666-4630 § [email protected]rg § www.recoveringfromreligion.org
10940 Parallel Pkwy, Suite K-145 §  KS 66109
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Secular Women Work Logo 539x229

Announcing: Secular Women Work

Secular Women Work Logo 539x229FOR RELEASE January 20, 2015
Media contact: [email protected]
Conference website: http://secularwomenwork.org/
Minneapolis, MN – Several atheist groups are coming together to launch an ambitious new conference for activists, and they’re using Kickstarter to make it possible. The Secular Women Work conference will be held in Minneapolis this August 21–23 and features accomplished activists Lauren Lane, co-founder of Skepticon; Mandisa Thomas, founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc.; and Desiree Schell, union organizer and host of Science for the People. Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of exclusively women and genderqueer speakers.
Minnesota Atheists associate president Stephanie Zvan explains why. “Most activist work is unpaid, and unpaid work is traditionally ‘women’s work.’ That means it’s often undervalued, particularly as skilled work. When we set out to create a conference that focuses on building the skills of activists, inviting women to share their expertise was a natural step.”
Using a Kickstarter campaign to sell conference tickets also sets this conference apart from the growing field of atheist conferences. This is the first atheist or skeptic conference to raise funds this way. The campaign launches today, and tickets will only be available through Kickstarter, at least to start.
“I would love it if we sold all our tickets though Kickstarter,” said Chelsea Du Fresne, who also organized the Skeptech conference the past two years. “I think we can. I’m excited about this conference, our speakers are excited, and I think our audience will be as well.”
In addition to conference tickets, which organizers say will be transferable, the Kickstarter offers t-shirts, custom SurlyRamics jewelry, and advertising space as backer rewards. The campaign will end February 19.
The Secular Women Work conference will be heavy on skill-building and problem-solving workshops, with panels and speakers covering specialist topics. “If I could have a whole conference of nothing but workshops, I would, but they convinced me other attendees might want some time to rest,” laughed Monette Richards, director of Secular Woman.
All workshop leaders, panelists, and speakers will be seasoned activists themselves. Additional speakers are expected to be announced during the Kickstarter campaign.
The conference is a joint project of the Minnesota Atheists; University of Minnesota Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists (a Secular Student Alliance affiliate), and Secular Woman.

New Atheist Charity Provides Secular Avenue to Safety, Stability, and Autonomy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    
Contact: Noelle George
323.723.3069, [email protected]
 
New Atheist Charity Provides Secular Avenue to Safety, Stability, and Autonomy
Initial focus on those unsafe at home
 
January 20, 2015 – Secular Avenue is a newly launched 501(c)(3) organization formed to help secular people achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. While other safety net organizations exist, Secular Avenue Founder and President Noelle George identified a need for an atheist organization to serve the secular community.
“Many local assistance programs are faith-based or church-based, and while they may not actively exclude secular people, there often is an undercurrent of religion or a direct expectation of participation in religious activities that may make survivors uncomfortable or traumatize them even further,“ George said. “No one should have to lie or compromise their values in order to receive help.”
The initial focus of Secular Avenue is SAFE, a program to assist people who are unsafe at home due to leaving religion, religious extremism, domestic abuse, or coming out as LGBTQ. Services include financial assistance, counseling, legal assistance and resource coordination. As Secular Avenue grows, programs will be expanded to help additional demographics.
“Programs serving domestic violence survivors and LGBTQ youth are stretched very thin,” George said. “We will fill a needed gap for secular support, while working with existing organizations such as Recovering from Religion and Ex-Muslims of America to reach people in need.”
Secular Avenue’s values include offering individualized, trauma-informed care based on best practices and needs assessment, effectively using resources to maximize impact, transparency, and stewardship of donated funds. Additionally, Secular Avenue promotes the humanist values of autonomy, human dignity, critical thinking and assistance without religion.
"Our biggest challenge is to raise enough funds to assist everyone who needs our help. Our goal is to raise $30,000 in 2015 so that we can assist every person who comes to us for help achieve safety, stability and autonomy,” said George. “It is our hope that we can provide a meaningful way for atheists to support other atheists.”
Secular Avenue (SA) is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to help people who are unsafe at home achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. SA was founded in 2014 by Noelle George, who serves as the organization’s President and Executive Director. For more information visit: www.secularavenue.org or contact Noelle George at 323.723.3069 or [email protected].
 
  
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SecularWoman Logo

Secular Woman Welcomes Niki Massey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, please contact:

Kim Rippere, Secular Woman President: 404.669.6727  E-mail

Elsa Roberts, Secular Woman Vice President: 906.281.0384 E-mail

Welcoming a New Addition to the Secular Woman Board

Secular Woman is pleased to announce the newest addition to its board: Niki Massey, who hails from Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Raised religious, she became an atheist at the age of 12: “I learned quickly that asking questions would get me into trouble,” she says, “So I threw myself into books for all that ‘forbidden knowledge’, sex, religion—all the fun stuff.” An outspoken advocate and sought-after speaker on reproductive health issues in various forums, including Skeptech and FTBCons 1 and 2, Massey regularly finds herself on the front lines of the War For Women as a volunteer escort at Whole Women’s Health. She is a professional fiction writer and is currently working on a new novel.

We are delighted to welcome Massey to our board and excited to be working with her on our mission to amplify the voices of secular women across the country.

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Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. For more information about Secular Woman visit: www.SecularWoman.org.

Atheist Media Day Hosted by Arizona Congressional Candidate

Seráh Blain, Director of Communications

James Woods for Congress, 848 N Golden Key Street, Gilbert, AZ 85233 · (602) 505-0892 · [email protected]

Contact: Seráh Blain (above)

Atheist Media Day Hosted by Arizona Congressional Candidate

(April 27, 2014) Gilbert, Ariz. – As part of his effort to reach out to underrepresented groups, particularly those who are viewed as politically risky to support, congressional candidate James Woods is hosting an Atheist Media Day today. Woods, who is running for the US Congress in Arizona’s Congressional District 5, is an atheist himself and believes a healthy democracy needs to include all voices. Woods believes the political system in the United States cuts too many people out of the process.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about people who don't believe in God," said Woods. "Because of the negative stigma, lawmakers aren't seeking out atheist constituents and asking how we want to be represented. They're afraid of the political fallout. But how can you make sure government is serving all Americans if you don't allow marginalized groups of people to talk about what they need?"

According to the Pew Research Center, one in five Americans—and a third of adults under 30— is agnostic, atheist or not affiliated with any religion. By large margins they view religious organizations as too concerned with money and power and too involved in politics. Despite these numbers, Woods says elected officials spend a lot of time meeting with religious and interfaith groups but are avoiding atheist groups.

Woods reached out to a number of nontheistic reporters and organization heads to set up interviews and make himself available to members of the secular community. He hopes that media directed to secular Americans on Atheist Media Day will help that community feel heard—and that people unfamiliar with atheism will learn that the atheists do not fit the stereotypes typically assigned them.

Leaders in the secular movement are expressing support for the outreach effort. “I was really excited to hear about James Woods deciding to reach out to atheists, humanists, agnostics and other nontheistic people,” said John Figdor, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who is currently serving as the Humanist Chaplain at Stanford. “Our voice is often unheard, despite the fact that 32% of people identify as nonreligious.”

Arizona State Representative Juan Mendez, who made national headlines last year when he opened the legislature with an atheist invocation rather than a prayer, applauded Woods as well. “People around the country feel cut out of politics and social justice work because they don’t see their values articulated by their representatives,” Mendez said. “When James talks honestly about his Humanism, it provides a kind of representation people have been hungry for. We need more inspiring and honest leaders like him.”

Woods says he is planning similar events for other constituents who are overlooked by lawmakers. “I’ve been listening to people with disabilities, people from the transgender community and people whose immigration status is undocumented. They feel ignored, and that needs to change.”

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Feminist Petition Fighting Anti-Trans Harassment Reaches 5,000 Signatures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, please contact:
Kim Rippere, Secular Woman President: 404.669.6727 E-mail
Elsa Roberts, Secular Woman Vice President: 906.281.0384 E-mail
M.A. Melby, Petition Author Email

 

A petition urging that Cathy Brennan’s organization Gender Identity Watch be monitored as a hate group has accumulated over 5,000 signatures in just one week. On November 23, members of the secular feminist organization Secular Woman teamed up with fellow social justice organizations Skepchick and Stop Abuse Online to present the petition opposing the group’s repeated targeting of transgender individuals for bullying and harassment, and asking the Southern Poverty Law Center to officially designate and monitor Gender Identity Watch as a hate group.

 

“The response has been amazing. The petition has been promoted by several trans activist and feminist organizations, shared on Facebook, re-blogged hundreds of times on Tumblr, and retweeted more times than I could possibly know. There are signers from over 60 countries. It’s very humbling,” says M. A. Melby, primary author of the petition.

 

The petition describes Brennan and her organization––fringe feminists known as “TERFS” (trans-exclusionary radical feminists)––exposing the private information of transgender individuals including former names and also reportedly contacting doctors, employers, and other authorities of those she targets. Several petition signers have shared their personal stories of being targeted and victimized by Brennan’s organization, in an attack on privacy, health, and safety.

 

“If the SPLC recognizes violence, harassment and bullying against trans women as a whole, which is currently ignored and enabled by the mainstream, it would be a pivotal step towards making the lives of transgender individuals safer," says Trinity Aodh, Secular Woman Advisory Council member.

 

“Secular Woman is proud to stand with others that are supporting this petition,” says Kim Rippere, president of Secular Woman. “Thank you to all that are promoting the petition, working to raise awareness, and communicating to Southern Poverty Law Center ensuring that this petition is meaningful in the long run.”

 

(Below: screen shots of responses by petition signers)

 



Secular Woman Welcomes Students with Free Memberships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, please contact:

Kim Rippere, Secular Woman President: 404.669.6727  E-mail: [email protected]
Elsa Roberts, Secular Woman Vice President: 906.281.0384 E-mail [email protected]
Jesse Galef, Secular Student Alliance Communications Director: 614.441.9588 Email:   [email protected]@org

Secular Woman Welcomes Atheist Students With Free Memberships

Atlanta, Georgia – October 21, 2013.  For two weeks beginning today, student members of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) and its campus affiliates are eligible for complimentary Secular Woman (SW) memberships. Open to all genders, the memberships entitle students who identify as women to benefits like conference travel grants and participation in the SW speakers bureau. Campus activists will receive the private membership link starting today in a series of e-mail updates from the SSA campus organizing team.

"Secular Woman is very excited about this new strategic partnership with the SSA," said SW President Kim Rippere. "We are eager to tap into the energy and passion of these secular students as we build programs to increase diversity in the secular movement. We're also hopeful that cooperation between Secular Woman and the SSA will help campus groups to attract and retain more women members."

Secular identity organizations, both on- and off-campus, have struggled to expand women's involvement. The 2009 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life found women to be more religious than men in an analysis of responses about god-belief, church attendance, and prayer. The American Secular Census, an independent demographic and viewpoint survey of Secular Americans, reports that 41% of its registrants identify as women and that their involvement in secular identity organizations is more limited than men's.

Secular Woman addresses this imbalance by providing resources and community to women seeking a higher level of engagement in secular activism. Since its launch on June 28th, 2012, the group has grown from a four-member board of directors to an organization of more than 650 supporters in nine countries. SW elected to reach out to students in this first membership drive because of SSA's culture of opportunity for women and other minorities. Women's participation in the SSA's 410 campus affiliate groups has risen, as has the number of women serving as student leaders, according to SSA Director of Campus Organizing Lyz Liddell. Rippere says this finding adds conviction to SW's vision of women "participating openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community."

SSA Executive Director August Brunsman agreed. "Students are shaping the future of the secular movement, and they're shaping it toward gender parity. Can you picture a social movement succeeding without gender parity?  Because I can't. Secular Woman is an organization whose time has very much come."

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Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. For more information about Secular Woman visit: www.SecularWoman.org.

The Secular Student Alliance is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics. For more information about the Secular Student Alliance visit: www.SecularStudents.org.