How a Humanist Won a Red State, Deep Diving Into Supreme Court Rulings, and More at AHACON21!

AHA Legal Director and Senior Counsel Monica Miller and Nebraska State Senator Megan Hunt

The 80th Anniversary Conference is a little over a week away, on Saturday July 24th, and Sunday, July 25th. The virtual Conference will feature two days of innovative humanist speakers from around the country—right in your own home. Whether you’re new to humanism or a longtime AHA member or humanist activist, this virtual conference will keep you inspired, engaged, and connected.

We’re thrilled to welcome Nebraska State Senator Megan Hunt to discuss Advancing Humanism in a Red State! Senator Hunt will join AHA Policy and Social Justice Director Rachel Deitch in a conversation about being a humanist elected official in conservative Nebraska and how she navigates enacting humanist values when it really matters. We profiled Megan Hunt, a leading progressive elected official on the state level, in an article a few months ago, which I hope you’ll go back and read. After the conversation, Senator Hunt will be taking questions directly from our audience.

Senator Hunt is a humanist, a single mom, bisexual, and—while publicly identifying as all three—was elected in 2018 to represent District 8 in the Nebraska Legislature—a red state. Her commitment to creating a more equitable state for future generations can be seen throughout her life. The opportunity for public service through elective office opened for her in 2015, when Hunt’s public school district was considering a new comprehensive sex education curriculum to educate students about sexual health, consent, and healthy relationships. Since then, she has remained committed to uplifting the voices of the marginalized and forgotten. She is passionate about public education, reproductive justice, gender equality, and reducing brain drain in the Midwest. Since taking statewide office, she has worked with other senators from across the state to tackle food stamp reform, conversion therapy reform, and improve clean energy in Nebraska. Last year, she passed her priority bill to allow collegiate student athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness rights. This year, Senator Hunt has prioritized a bill that brings direct relief to Nebraskans during the pandemic by ensuring caregivers who need to leave work to care for a family member with a serious health condition are able to receive unemployment benefits until a more permanent solution can be found.

Later on Saturday, join us to hear Monica Miller, AHA’s Legal Director and Senior Counsel, discuss Separation of Church and State in 2021. She’ll examine the implications of recent Supreme Court rulings on religious discrimination and voting rights along with upcoming cases on reproductive rights. Miller will also offer an overview of the AHA’s expansive legal work and what might be coming up for humanists in the court.

Since joining the AHA in 2012, Miller has vigorously defended the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state by litigating Establishment Clause cases across the country. She has served as lead counsel in over 25 federal cases, including before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. Miller has presented oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (twice), Fifth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and Eleventh Circuit. She has filed a number of briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and served as counsel of record in our Supreme Court case challenging the Bladensburg Cross.

Did you know that the AHA is celebrating our 80th Anniversary this year? To mark eighty years of humanist thought and action, we’re bringing together prominent humanists and humanist historians for an important pre-conference event on Thursday, July 22nd at 7pm (Eastern). Fred Edwords, a leading lecturer and teacher on humanism, will lead an impressive panel exploring the historical background of modern humanism and the progress of the AHA since its founding eighty years ago. In addition to Edwords, the panel will feature Mandisa Thomas, Vice President of the AHA and founder and President of Black Nonbelievers; Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation; and John Leeker, Director of Library and Archives at Meadville-Lombard Theological Seminary and Treasurer of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association.

Don’t miss out on all the fun. Register now to join us and hundreds of other humanists across the country at our 80th Annual Conference!