After an incredibly successful virtual lobby day last summer, the American Humanist Association has partnered with American Atheists to co-host our 2022 Virtual Lobby Day. Together, we are doubling the size of the event so that as many members of Congress as possible can meet (virtually) with their humanist and atheist constituents. Last year we met with fifty congressional offices. This year, our goal is to meet with even more and kick off our annual conference with a bang.
The bill we are lobbying about this year could not be more important: the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act (S.1848/H.R. 3488) will be the centerpiece of our event.
There are more than 400,000 youth in foster care. And yet, too often, foster care and adoption agencies that receive taxpayer funds turn away qualified, loving parents because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe—based on the agency’s religious beliefs rather than the best interests of these children. Too often agencies turn away nonreligious people and those from minority religions. Just last month, an adoption agency in Alabama refused to work with Alaina Browning and her husband because they are atheist/agnostic. Another couple, Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram, were recently turned down by an agency in Tennessee because they are Jewish.
The John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act would bar discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion (including nontheism), and marital status against families or children in taxpayer-funded child welfare services. And it provides extensive resources to states, tribes, and agencies to improve care and outcomes for LGBTQI+ foster children.
The AHA advocates for humanist issues on Capitol Hill on a regular basis, but our advocacy is only as strong as the people we represent. That’s why we’re leading in to our upcoming 81st Annual Conference with a virtual lobby day to connect humanists around the country with their elected officials in Congress to defend our rights. This is a huge opportunity, not only to increase support for the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act but to increase the visibility of humanists with a wide variety of members of Congress and to identify new champions in government with whom we can build stronger relationships.
So, on Wednesday, June 22nd, we will hit the virtual halls of Congress as a virtual group. But we won’t ask humanists to take this on with no assistance. On the afternoon of Saturday, June 18th, prior to Lobby Day, we’ll hold a training session for all attendees to go over the ins-and-outs of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and provide a crash course in lobbying so that all our advocates have everything they need for a successful Lobby Day.
We ask that anyone interested in Lobby Day also attend the training session on Saturday afternoon.
Participation is limited, and we don’t want you to miss out, so sign up today! Join us for this opportunity to take action for a progressive future that ensures the rights of all people. Humanists have an important part to play in shaping our nation’s politics, and now more than ever our voices need to be heard. We hope you can join us.