Secular Women Work

Minneapolis, MN August 2015

The Future of the Secular Movement
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


Black Nonbelievers: Past, Present and Future
When a movement isn’t meeting your needs and the needs of the people around you, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. Mandisa Thomas did just that, and she will share her challenges and triumps with us.
 Mandisa Thomas


Taking Over from the Old Guard
As the secular movement grows and matures, the face of its leadership becomes more diverse. Research tells us that’s great for our creativity and further growth, but it also comes with challenges. Diversity means diverse priorities and practices as well. Our panel will talk about some of the challenges they’ve faced being the “new guard” and tips for meeting those challenges.
Amy Monsky, Debbie Goddard, Heather Hegi, Elsa Roberts


Lobbyists Are People Too
When we think about lobbying, we mostly think of professional lobbyists for major corporations and interest groups. So much more lobbying is done at the grassroots level, however. Nor is it as scary as you think. Our panel will introduce you to the basics of lobbying from both sides of the relationship and show you how you can get involved.
 State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Monette Richards, Heather Rosa, Stephanie Zvan


How to Be an Ally
How can we aid in other people’s struggles without taking over the fight? How can we leverage our own power and voices without erasing the people we mean to help? These questions can be intimidating and sometimes tricky in the details, but our panel will work through useful principles and strategies.
 Hiba Krisht, Trinity Aodh, Niki Massey, Desiree Schell


Getting Your Message Across in Spite of a Hostile Press
The mainstream press has a long history of controlling whose concerns and issues are seen by the general population. What are the rest of us to do? Our panel discusses strategies for getting ourselves heard.
Marti Abernathey, Marian Melby Aanerud, Debbie Goddard, Stef McGraw


Fundraising, or How to Ask for Money
Many of us would rather hide under a table than ask for the money we need to get our projects done. How do we get over that fear, how do we ask effectively, and what do we need to do after the money comes in?
Steph Montgomery, Mandisa Thomas, Valerie Aurora, Jen Beahan


Events on a Budget
Psst. Want to hold a conference? Everybody’s doing it. Whether it’s a conference, a lecture, or a day of workshops, it isn’t as hard or as expensive as you think to put on event in the secular movement. Our panelists will talk about ways to keep your costs low while putting on an entertaining, educational event.
Lauren Lane, Chelsea Du Fresne, Stephanie Zvan, Monette Richards


Handling Public Criticism
It’s hard to hear that you’ve screwed up, particularly when you’re pouring time, energy, and heart into making things better. Defensiveness is a natural reaction, but it’s usually not a helpful one. Come discuss strategies to cope with criticism without the world exploding around you.
 Stephanie Zvan


Volunteer Wrangling
This movement runs on volunteers, and although we’re growing, volunteers are not an endlessly renewable resource. Come figure out how to encourage people to volunteer. Perhaps more importantly, come find out how to treat the volunteers you have so they keep coming back.
 Jennifer Beahan


Effective Activism
Will your actions make the change you want to see in the world? How will you know? This two-hour workshop will walk you through planning and assessing effective activist campaigns.
 Desiree Schell


Assertiveness Training
One of the hardest parts of movement activism is navigating competing needs. Assertive communication is a tool to help us stay both focused and respectful while dealing with those needs. Come find out what assertive communication is and practice being assertive in some common activist situations.
 Heather Rosa


Activism for Newbies
“But what can a nobody like me do?” This is one of the heartbreaking questions we hear in activism, especially since the answer is “Nobody is a nobody” and “So very, very much”. Come to this workshop and come away with ideas on how you–yes, you–can make a difference.
 Lauren Lane


Reproductive Justice Activism
Despite its being a major venue for church interference in public life, the secular movement hasn’t really figured out how to tackle the topic of reproductive justice yet. Come talk with a couple of clinic escorts about what we can do on this front beyond protecting abortion clinics.
 Brianne Bilyeu, Niki Massey


Impostor Syndrome
Impostor syndrome is that feeling that you’re just faking what you do and are going to be found out any minute. It keeps us from fully appreciating our own work and from tackling new, ambitious projects that need to be done. Come gather tips and exercises to combat this problem and be a more effective, secure activist.
 Valeria Aurora


Managing Online Spaces
Online groups are great, in part, because the barriers to participation are lower. However, letting these spaces be overrun by any kind of behavior becomes its own barrier to participation for many people. Let’s talk about how to set boundaries for behavior that keep our spaces accessible to the people we want participating.
 Miri Mogilevsky


Wiki Editing
History is only “real” if it’s documented, and Wikipedia has quickly come to be the central repository of that documentation. Bring your favorite wifi enabled device to help us add accomplishments of secular women to keep them from being erased.
 Monette Richards


Activism Within Limits
Not everyone can march at a protest. Not everyone can donate to support their causes. Whatever limitations you live with, however, there are still ways to help change the world. Come brainstorm with other activists with limits.
 Trinity Aodh


Avoiding Burnout
We all know self-care is necessary for activists by now, right? Good. That still leaves us figuring out the how and when. Come learn how to recognize when you need to put yourself first and develop strategies for coping with the everyday stresses and the big events.
 Hiba Krisht


Making the Most of Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram. Everyone has social media accounts these days, but what can you do to make sure they help you accomplish your goals? Come find out what your social media use can do the help you and how you can keep it from harming you.
 Ashley Miller


Write a Letter to Your Representative
Writing is intimidating enough for many of us. Writing a letter to an elected representative is more so. We’re here to walk you through it. Bring a topic, your point of view, and an idea of the outcome you want. Leave with a letter that will be read.
 Chelsea Du Fresne


Accessibility 101
You want to make your spaces and events open to everyone. What does that look like? What can you plan ahead for, and how can you encourage people to let you know what they need to participate?
 Olivia James, Haddayr Copley-Woods


Refining Your Message
Whether it be messaging for an event, a mission statement, or the description of what your organization does, the message needs to be clear and concise. This workshop will take you through a process of revision and review, clarifying, organizing and laying out that information in a way that is coherent and easy to consume.
Elsa Roberts