Secular Elected Officials and More at June’s Virtual AHACON22!

This year the American Humanist Association (AHA) is celebrating more than eighty years of humanist thought and action by bringing our humanist community together again for the 2022 Virtual Conference.

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday, June 25th and Sunday, June 26th for two days of exciting sessions, awards, and presentations, as well as social and networking events and opportunities to connect with old friends and new. This year, we’ll again hold a Virtual Lobby Day on Wednesday, June 22nd. (Lobby Day will require separate registration.) Whether you’re new to humanism, a longtime AHA member, or a humanist activist and leader, this virtual conference will keep you inspired, engaged, and connected.

We’re so excited to welcome a variety of innovative humanist speakers from around the country—right in your own home. Each week, between now and Conference, we’ll be highlighting a different set of speakers.

The Saturday morning session will bring a panel discussion with the Association of Secular Elected Officials (ASEO). Moderated by Ron Millar of the Center for Freethought Equality, a panel of ASEO board members will discuss the reasons that it’s crucial for humanists to elect secular people to office at all levels of government. As we all know, the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans is growing rapidly. But our community is severely underrepresented in the political arena, which has repercussions for legislation as well as judicial decisions on the local, state, and federal levels. The goal of ASEO is to vigilantly protect our Constitution and ensure that our government protects the freedoms of all faiths and none. We’ll hear directly from members of their board about their all-important work and how humanists can help.

On Sunday afternoon, we’ll be hearing from another set of elected officials. David Williamson, an atheist activist and the cofounder of the Central Florida Freethought Community (an AHA affiliate), will moderate a panel of Florida state legislators, who will discuss the legislative climate in their state, including the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law; the “Stop WOKE Act”, which limits how schools can teach about race and identity; and the recent banning of certain textbooks. Williamson will be joined by State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-49) and State Representative Anna Eskamani (D-47). Smith, first elected in 2016, is a respected civil rights leader who has championed open government, affordable housing and gun safety. He made history with his election by becoming Florida’s first openly-LGBTQ Latino state lawmaker. Known as a bridge builder, Eskamani ran for office for the first time in 2018, flipping her legislative seat and making history as the first Iranian-American elected to any public office in Florida. In 2020 she won her re-election by an overwhelming majority and has been championing critical issues like economic justice, environmental protection, equality for all, funding for public schools, and support of arts and culture.

In the coming weeks, we’ll tell you more about our Conference highlights including sessions focusing on LGBTQ+ Humanists of Color, International Humanist Projects, and Andrew Seidel of Americans United for Separation of Church and State leading a panel on how we can work together to fight White Christian Nationalism.

Don’t miss these presentations and much more at the AHA’s 81st Annual Conference! Registration will open next week, so watch your email for the chance to join us.

We’ll have more speaker profiles and session previews in the coming weeks. Watch this space for plenty of Conference updates.