Mandisa Thomaswith Mandisa Thomas

Saturday 9:00 AM

Main Hall

This is a working conference, but working on a conference morning can feel like, well, work. Come get revved up and ready for your day as the coffee kicks in.

Mandisa Thomas is the president and founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. She also has a new project called New Turn. From their website: “The focus is to provide help for ex-convicts, at-risk juveniles and individuals who are at a general education and economic disadvantage by developing critical thinking and practical instruction and skills, as well as maximize entrepreneurial capability.” You can find out more about New Turn here.

 

Debbie Goddard with Debbie Goddard.

Friday 7:15 PM – Main Hall

The secular movement has been through a tough few years. It’s made important progress, and it’s paid some heavy prices for that progress. There’s still work to be done, though. Debbie Goddard’s take on these challenges and what we can do to meet them is both thoughtful and inspiring.

Debbie Goddard is the director of outreach at the Center for Inquiry and the director of African Americans for Humanism. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer. She has also been involved with LGBTQ issues and progressive activism.

 

While the website and twitter accounts have been still, our heroes, disguised as mild mannered organizers, have been busy behind the scenes seeing to all the details needed to make this a gloriously successful event!

First and foremost, if you did not get your ticket during the Kickstarter, do not fret! It’s not too late. Tickets are available for purchase here! Student rates are available.

We have acquired space in the Historic Humphrey Conference Center on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. The center is ADA compliant and situated on light rail.

Secular Women Work is committed to making the conference an accessible space, particularly for those from resource-limited settings. Scholarships include paid conference registration and a travel stipend, where available. Despite being a small, first-year conference, we have a selection of scholarships available. Members of underrepresented groups within the secular movement are encouraged to apply.

To make planning your trip as easy as possible, we have included a list of accommodations and dining options which includes many vegan and gluten free choices

Our schedule is starting to take shape as we add more fascinating speakers, including:

  • Debbie Goddard, Director of Outreach for Center for Inquiry and Director of African Americans for Humanism
  • Amy Monsky, Executive Director of Atheist Alliance of America
  • Heather Hegi, past Board Chair and current Secretary of Minnesota Atheists
  • Hiba Krisht, writer, apostate, and mental health advocate
  • Monette Richards, President of the Center for Inquiry, Northeast Ohio and director of Secular Woman
  • Stephanie Montgomery, Vice President of Secular Avenue
  • Miri Mogilevsky, co-founder of Help Without Heaven

The topics for our panels and workshops are coming together as well. Check out:

  • The current challenges facing the secular movement
  • Activism for newbies
  • Assertive communication
  • Self-care and avoiding burnout
  • Lobbying
  • Getting the most out of your social media
  • Managing volunteers
  • Fundraising
  • Making sure your activism is effective
  • Reproductive justice activism beyond clinic escorting
  • Building inclusive communities

We’re adding more speakers and topics every day as we get the final details pinned down.

Our code of conduct is coming soon! If you want a preview, we’re basing it on the policy from Skeptech last April. We’ll be updating it with some guidelines for making discussion in workshops productive and inclusive, but the core of the policy worked well and won’t change.

And now, a word about our sponsors…

Secular Woman Work is made possible, in part,  by C.A.S.H., Minnesota Atheists and Secular Woman. We are highly grateful for the hard work and generosity of each of these organizations and cannot thank them enough.

 

 

Secular Women Work is committed to making the conference an accessible space, particularly for those from resource-limited settings. Scholarships include paid conference registration and a travel stipend, where available. Despite being a small, first year conference, we have a selection of scholarships available. Members of underrepresented groups within the secular movement are encouraged to apply.

With the goal of creating future community organizers and activists, scholarship candidates will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • The conference’s potential impact on the growth of the candidate.
  • Membership in an underrepresented group or groups within the secular movement.
  • Our ability to make sure you can attend and make use of the scholarship.

We recognize that conferences are often the gateway into organizing, and that experience levels vary widely among those starting out. For us, a commitment and passion for activism are paramount. Everybody starts somewhere! If you’ve blogged but never done “meatspace” organizing, that’s fine. If you just want to increase your civil activism and don’t know where to begin, that’s great too—Secular Women Work will encompass a variety of approaches and starting points. The most important thing is that you apply!

Deadlines

The initial deadline for applications is end of day July 6. After that date, we will grant the scholarships we have available then. If you’ve missed the July 6 deadline but still want a scholarship, go ahead and fill out the form. We can’t promise we will have more scholarships available, but we may. Candidates will be admitted on a rolling basis.

In order to apply, fill out the following form with your full name, email address, whether or not you require travel assistance, and what you hope to take away from the conference.

Secular Women Work Scholarship Form

Best of luck and we hope to see you in August!

-The Organizers

Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of women and genderqueer activists. This week, we’re going to feature three such activists: Mandisa Thomas, Lauren Lane, and Desiree Schell. All three are spectacular and amazing, so we hope you enjoy them!

Desiree Schell is a union organizer who is passionate about effective activism. Here, she tells us how she ended up an activist, why measuring our results is so important, and what topics she’d like to see activists tackle.

Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of women and genderqueer activists. This week, we’re going to feature three such activists: Mandisa Thomas, Lauren Lane, and Desiree Schell. All three are spectacular and amazing, so we hope you enjoy them!

Lauren Lane is founder and on-going organizer of Skepticon, the Midwest’s largest Skeptic Conference.  Here’s a little bit about how Lauren got started and what she’s looking forward to at Secular Women Work.

Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of women and genderqueer activists. This week, we’re going to feature three such activists: Mandisa Thomas, Lauren Lane, and Desiree Schell. All three are spectacular and amazing, so we hope you enjoy them!

Mandisa Thomas is the president and founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. She also has a new project called New Turn. From their website: “The focus is to provide help for ex-convicts, at-risk juveniles and individuals who are at a general education and economic disadvantage by developing critical thinking and practical instruction and skills, as well as maximize entrepreneurial capability.” We took some time and discussed the kind of activism atheism needs, how to build communities, and her work with Black Nonbelievers. You can find out more about New Turn here.

The co-chairs of the Secular Women Work conference got together today for FreethoughtBlogs online conference to talk about the impetus behind the conference and what we have planned. Check it out!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s64v0kUI3gY

Green badge with text "funded by Kickstarter".Putting together a good conference gets expensive. Pulling together people who can educate as well as inform even more so.

This conference is a project of Minnesota Atheists; Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists; and Secular Woman. None of us have the budgets of organizations who regularly put on this kind of conference (Center for Inquiry, Secular Student Alliance). That means we need to have a good idea of how many people are interested in this conference–and how many people are willing to support it monetarily–before we spend that money. Kickstarter lets us do that.

To the best of our knowledge, no one has Kickstarted a conference in the secular movement. No one has sold the tickets for their conference in such a compressed timeframe. We’re stepping out into the unknown and taking a risk. We’re confident that the support we need to run this conference exists, though.

Go check out the Kickstarter. Get your ticket before they’re all gone. (They’re not refundable, but they are transferable, and we’ll work to help you find someone to take your ticket if it turns out you can’t attend.) Get your t-shirt and/or your SurlyRamics necklace. Get your sticker. Advertise with us. Spring for a special dinner. Or just kick something in to help us make this conference everything it can be.

If you can’t do any of that, make sure the conference and Kickstarter are seen by the people who would want to come, the activists who want to get even better at what they do. This is how we’ll make this conference happen.

We are proud to introduce the Secular Women Work conference, a conference by and for activists. Do you want to build strong non-religious communities? Do you want to change our laws and our culture to be more accepting and accommodating of non-believers? Join us in Minneapolis in August 2015.

We live in a society in which unpaid work disproportionately falls to women. Unfortunately, this means that volunteer work, including activist work, is too often undervalued. We’re here to change that.

The Secular Women Work conference is a celebration of the work of female activists who create and run projects and communities in the secular movement. And there is no better way to honor their work than by using their expertise to help us all become better activists.

At Secular Women Work, you will find workshops: both hands-on exercises to develop your skills and facilitated group discussions where you can share challenges and solutions with other activists. You will find panels on specialist topics, with panelists who can help you broaden the horizons of your activism. And when you’re ready for a rest, you’ll find speakers who will entertain and inspire you with stories and lessons from their own work. In between it all, you’ll find a conference full of other activists who want to make a difference in the world.

All workshop leaders, all panelists, and all speakers will be experienced female or genderqueer activists with demonstrated accomplishments and skills to share. We are excited to announce that Lauren Lane, co-founder of Skepticon; Mandisa Thomas, president and founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., and Desiree Schell, labor activist and host of Science for the People will be appearing at Secular Women Work. We are working now to add more speakers, so keep your eye on this space for announcements.

The conference will be held in the historic Humphrey Conference Center on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. The center is ADA compliant and situated on light rail.

So, come join us this August 21st through the 23rd for the Secular Women Work conference, and help support the women who work to make these communities happen! Make your pledge now to secure your ticket to the conference, or pledge to build a better movement by helping us make more, and more effective, activists.

See you there!