Welcome the AHA Center for Education’s new Program Assistant, Tamara Ashton!
What is your educational and work background?
I am an administrative professional with extensive programming and coordination experience, who celebrates and promotes creativity and exploration of self. A graduate of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a focus in African American Literature and Minor coursework in Pan African Studies. I also spent my senior summer in the Northern Regions of Ghana teaching English and art. I gravitate toward roles of service and community development.
How did you first learn about humanism?
My first encounter with humanism come from a literary and philosophical perspective. One of my favorite authors, in fact, has been awarded the Humanist of the Year award. Alice Walker was awarded this award in 1997. I used her work a lot in college. I also took a couple of philosophy courses that mentioned humanism here and there.
Did you grow up in a traditional religious faith? How did it impact you?
Yes. My family is from the south and are devout Southern Baptist Christians. For a time, I obeyed my family’s faith, however I never felt as convinced as I thought I should be. I had lots of questions and did not receive many answers. As I got older, I explored other faiths and I still can say I am in an explorative state. However, humanism does offer alignment for what I believe.
What interested you most about working for the American Humanist Association?
I am always interested in organizations that serve others and are in alignment with my own beliefs in some way. I believe people reserve the right to practice their beliefs or non-beliefs, I believe in the values of the Ten Commitments, and I believe that human beings are capable of good—naturally.
What book has influenced you the most?
The Awakening by Kate Chopin has been most influential to me. I have pondered the meaning of this book for years and still can come to so many conclusions any time I read it. It reminds me of where I am in life currently. I admire Edna, the main character. I relate to her more now than ever in many ways. It’s encouraged me to live my only life despite my insecurities or the thoughts of others. I think that’s quite important.
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 three people, it would be three deceased family members that I had not met: Irene Mike, Shirley Ashton, and Vilma Bowen. These women create the fabric of my family. They are all my grandmothers and have lived quite different lives. Irene is from Coatopa, Alabama; Shirley is from Montross, Virginia; and Vilma is from Colόn, Panama. I also feel the food would be an awesome mix of everything I love, and the conversation would be so adventurous! I can only imagine how they have spent their days prior to their departures.