Meet the 2019 AHA Humanist Arts Awardee, Leighann Lord

The American Humanist Association (AHA) is thrilled to announce comedian Leighann Lord as our 2019 Humanist Arts Award recipient!

Actor, author, speaker, and performer, Lord was the New York City face of the African Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry. Her involvement with the secular and nonreligious community reaches throughout her professional history. Lord has spoken at the annual conferences of American Atheists, the AHA, and Center for Inquiry, as well as at DragonCon (Skeptrack), The Freethought Society, NECSS: the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, and PASHTACon! Her comedic and hosting talents are infused with humanist thought—using humor to bring joy to people’s lives and empowering her listeners to laugh, know, and grow. Lord is also a certified secular celebrant who officiates milestone life events with nonreligious celebrations and ceremonies.

A stand-up comedian from the age of ten, Lord has traveled the world with her comedic routines and appeared on Lifetime, VH-1, Comedy Central, and HBO. Lord is the author of Dict Jokes: Alternate Definitions for Words You’ve Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget(Volumes 1 & 2) and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories From the Career of a Very Funny Lady.

Leighann Lord attended Catholic school growing up (her parents converted for a break on tuition), but began to question the faith early on. As she grew older, Lord became involved in the secular community and was instrumental in the work of Center for Inquiry-Harlem. In speaking about her local group Lord said,

Christianity has a really strong hold on the black community. You have random folks who are other things there, I’m sure there’s some black Buddhists—don’t want to alienate them at all—but by and large it is very, very steeped in Christianity and preaching to the choir makes no sense, to use a metaphor. To go to the heart of the matter, to go where you have the largest black community, where it’s the mega-churches there and to say: hey we know some of you are in there and you’re doubting. It’s okay to step out. It’s almost sort of like walking into the lion’s den and saying, okay, growl.

Lord graduated magna cum laude from Baruch College, City University of New York, with a degree in journalism and creative writing. While she was accepted into City University’s creative writing MFA program, Lord chose to pursue stand-up comedy instead (after a brief foray into corporate America).

We are looking forward to honoring Leighann Lord with the 2019 Humanist Arts Award at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York, on June 8th. To register and see more awardees, visit