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Secular Woman Welcomes Niki Massey


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.


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:

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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Secular Woman Leadership Grows Again

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As we go into the new year there are a few changes afoot for Secular Woman. Mary Ellen Sikes, our Vice President of Operations, is stepping down so that she can concentrate more on developing and growing her project, American Secular Census. Her commitment to Secular Woman is just as strong and we are thrilled that she will be transitioning to our Advisory Council so that her experience and presence will still be a part of Secular Woman.

Mary Ellen has been with us since the inception, where her many years of expertise within the secular movement, not to mention her IT skills, were, and will remain, invaluable. Secular Woman will be forming a partnership with Secular Census to work on projects with them that are of mutual interest. This collaboration will allow us to conduct original research related to the secular community and women. Board member Corinne Zimmerman, whose background is in psychology research, will be a vital part of this endeavor.

We also welcome Soraya Chemaly to the Advisory Council. Chemaly is a well known writer on the intersection of gender in society, uncovering how gender roles and norms function in a patriarchal culture. She writes for a variety of publications, including Alternet, the Feminist Wire, and Huffington Post. Her thoughtful expertise on feminism, gender, and secularism are a valued addition to our advisory council.

Elsa Roberts, who has been volunteering for Secular Woman almost since it began, and who came on to our Board in October, will be stepping into the role of Vice President. She is excited about taking on a more active role in the organization and says she is “eager to advance the cause of Secular Woman and to continue to expand our online presence.”

As Mary Ellen notes “If we really mean it when we say we want more influence and respect as atheists and humanists, then the secular community has to start drawing in its missing voices. Secular Woman may just have the most relevant mission of any organization in the movement today.” We hope to live up to that mission, and we look forward to enacting it this year by giving voice to secular women everywhere!