1. Ayanna Watson is the founder of Black Atheists of America, Inc. (BAAm). BAAm is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between atheism and the black community.
    The organization has been successful in bringing together black atheists and combating the common misconception of solidarity among black atheists. With BAAm, Watson has also brought light to some of the issues that discourage black atheists from being active in both the atheist and black communities.
    Ultimately with BAAm, Watson seeks to build a stronger and more diverse atheist community. She hopes that her efforts will provide for a society where one can embrace the label
    “atheist,” without the fear of being ostracized by family, friends and members of their community. She envisions a world where individuals embrace critical thinking in lieu of faith.

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  2. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD (Andy), is a Trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and a staff psychiatrist for Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia Student Health Center, as well as the University of Virginia's Institute for Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy. Thomson also has his own private practice, and is a forensic psychiatrist for Region Ten Community Services. Thomson acquired his B.A. from Duke University in 1970, he acquired his M.D. from the University of Virginia in 1974, and he did his adult psychiatry training at the University of Virginia from 1974 to 1977.

    Thomson has published papers on a variety of issues, including racism, narcissistic personality disorder, forensic psychiatry, depression and PTSD, and has written psychobiographical essays on Lee Harvey Oswald and Robert E. Lee. He is most noted for his work on evolutionary psychology, as well as for his exploration of the cognitive and evolutionary basis of religious belief, as presented in his latest book entitled Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith. Dr. Thomson has been a featured speaker at several atheist conferences including American Atheists 2009 and Atheist Alliance International 2009 for which he spoke about his theories on the cognitive origins of religious belief. In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Thomson stated, "There is a massive, irreconcilable conflict between science and religion. Religion was humanity's original cosmology, biology and anthropology. It provided explanations for the origin of the world, life and humans. Science now gives us increasingly complete explanations for those big three."

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  3. An evolutionary psychologist, Elisabeth has been involved with the Richard Dawkins Foundation since its inception. Her innovative ideas include the OUT Campaign, Non-Believers Giving Aid, the science vignettes, the Four Horsemen and other DVDs, and bringing childcare to national conferences. She has worked to create an atmosphere of cooperation within the secular movement, bringing Richard and other speakers to conferences and university campuses across the US and Canada. Elisabeth has published in the popular press on matters ranging from science to women’s issues. USA Today listed her as one of the prominent women in the Freethought community. Through her leadership, RDF-US will continue to influence and expand the ideas and values of secularism on a global level.. She obtained her PhD in psychology at the University of St Andrews.

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  4. Ellery Schempp is an accomplished physicist and is also famous for being the primary student involved in the landmark 1963 United States Supreme Court case of Abington School District v. Schempp which declared that required public-school-sanctioned Bible readings were unconstitutional.
    On November 26, 1956, Ellery staged a protest against the school requirement that each student read 10 Bible passages and the Lord's Prayer each day during homeroom. Instead, Ellery brought a copy of the Qur'an and read from that. For this, he was sent to the Principal's office. With the help of his father, Edward Schempp, and the American Civil Liberties Union, they sued the Abington School district over their policy of mandatory Bible readings.
    Over several years, Ellery, his father, and later his younger siblings Roger and Donna continued to fight this policy in the courts. The Schempps were Unitarian Universalists, a theologically liberal religious community. The case was eventually decided in Ellery's favor by the Supreme Court in 1963, five years after he had graduated from high school.

    We are thrilled to have Ellery with us as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark court decision.

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  5. Rebecca Hale, a resident of Colorado Springs, CO, was elected president of the American Humanist Association in January of this year. Hale has been an advocate for secularism and humanism for many years as co-owner of EvolveFISH.com, the largest online store of freethought merchandise. She is also the co-founder of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, a local affiliate of the American Humanist Association, and serves on its board of directors. She is a Humanist Celebrant certified by the Humanist Society of the American Humanist Association. As AHA president, Hale hopes to help raise public awareness and acceptance of humanism, advancing the AHA's agenda of supporting public policy based on reason and science. Hale is the 20th president, and the 4th woman, to serve in the organization’s history. She presides over the current AHA board of directors, which is comprised of six women and six men.

    # vimeo.com/75159039 Uploaded 71 Plays 0 Comments

Atheist Alliance of America 2013 National Convention

Secular Connect PRO

Videos of all the presentations at the national conference, plus the award banquet in honor of Steven Pinker.

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