Meet the New AHA Staff Member: Anna Clay

Welcome our new Member Services Assistant, Anna Clay! What is your educational and work background?

I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in socio-cultural anthropology. I’ll be finishing my degree at the University of Florida.

Professionally, I have done a variety of things. Most recently I worked in the nonprofit sector helping individuals with disabilities find competitive employment. All of my past experiences highlight my passion and interest in people. How did you first learn about humanism?

I first learned about humanism through the AHA website. I was familiar with the concept of nonbelief, being agnostic myself, but hadn’t heard of humanism until I explored AHA’s history. Did you grow up in a traditional religious faith? How did it impact you?

I grew up in a mostly non-practicing Christian household—meaning we believed in Christian principles but didn’t attend church regularly. In my late teens I became a more devoted Christian. When I experienced tough times I turned to the church and my faith to help me through—because that’s what I knew. Later, I started to question what it meant to believe. I realized that all people, regardless of their belief or nonbelief, think their views are right. We all believe the answer to the existence of life is ours to decide, and for our personal lives, it is.

I was definitely impacted by the indoctrination process (which occurs when one devoutly pursues a belief system). It made the process of reprogramming harder when I started to seek answers and my truth. What interested you most about working for the American Humanist Association?

The social justice advocacy arm of the AHA’s work and its tagline most interested me. What book has influenced you the most?

I’m an avid reader and have been inspired by many of my favorite books. Two that I’ll share are the Parable series by Octavia Butler and Maya Angelou’s autobiographical series. If you could have dinner with any three people in the world (living or dead), who would they be and why?

If I could have dinner with any three people in the world (living or dead) it would be Octavia Butler and my two late grandmothers—Clara and Carol (who was known as Elder Yahkyra). Butler because she’s my favorite author, and I’d love to talk about her books, life, and to hear a story. My grandmothers because I miss them dearly and would love to ask them all the questions I was too young, scared, or didn’t know to ask when they were living. Plus, I would just love to spend more time with them.