Please welcome the AHA’s new Digital Communications Manager, Sarah LaReau!
What is your educational and work background?
I have an AAS in Graphic Design and as a forever student, future higher degrees are still TBD. Professionally, I’ve always worn many, many hats: creative direction, marketing, UX design, digital strategy, tech consulting, social media, research, and writing. I’ve worked for ad agencies and in-house for niche businesses, freelanced for nonprofits and the independent music industry, volunteered with grassroots activist groups and participated in music scenes. At the beginning of the pandemic I temporarily pursued a Journalism BA in Creative Mass Media before daily life called upon me to take a hiatus. (In my dream life I’d perpetually be in school at least part-time.) Now I join the ranks of the communications team at the American Humanist Association (AHA)!
How did you first learn about humanism?
I was drawn to humanism sometime by my early adulthood, although I can’t pinpoint the exact time or circumstances. In high school, I took a Philosophy and Literature class that formally exposed me to histories of intellectual frameworks in a way that really satiated my teenage agnosticism. From there my exposure to humanism came about organically, through personal exploration of philosophical and ethical beliefs and engaging with various folks and groups that align with humanist values.
Did you grow up in a traditional religious faith? How did it impact you?
I grew up in a semi-religious household. In my early-mid childhood my family occasionally attended liberal Methodist churches and loosely engaged with religious themes at home, but that tapered off as I got older. We relocated a few times and ended up in the South. The impact of traditional religious faith on my life came about more through its dominance in the public culture rather than in my upbringing. This varied socio-political religious exposure balanced with my lifelong curiosity and nonconformity to shape my ultra progressive pluralistic politics and agnostic personal values of today.
What interested you most about working for the American Humanist Association?
It’s quite a time in the world right now. The past few years especially, I’ve been extra compelled to channel my time, energy, skills, and effort towards social progress–and the AHA seemed like a perfect fit. I’m excited to contribute to the organization’s progressive mission advancing humanism in this political climate.
What book has influenced you the most?
I’ll have to pick two. Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus essay holds a forever special place in my heart for teaching me to embrace the absurd with revolt, freedom, and passion. But my favorite book in the universe is Clarice Lispector’s unconventionally meditative, oh-so-poetic, and otherwise nearly impossible to describe masterpiece Água Viva.
If you could have dinner with any three people in the world (living or dead), who would they be and why?
I’ll pick my three assuming these will be one-on-one dinners otherwise I’ll overthink the perfect appropriate combination for a group dinner! So here goes: Su Tissue, frontwoman of the ’80s artsy post-punk band Suburban Lawns who has long since disappeared from the public and sparked cult-like mystery for underground music nerds. Ida B. Wells, to chat about investigative journalism, intersectional feminism, community organizing, and the wonderful city of Memphis. I’m inclined for my last pick to be my dear friend Matt that passed away too young, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he insisted I take advantage of this opportunity to dine with our shared hero and subject of his favorite tattoo instead–Pee Wee Herman.