Must show student ID upon arrival
|Hotel||Special rate from $99/night
if booked by Sept. 27
Awards dinner speeches:
- "Living Life the Secular Way" by Margaret Downey
- "Sex & Religion" by Amanda Brown
* Schedule subject to change and flexibility.
Featured Speakers/Presenters Include ...
Margaret Downey is a renowned leader and activist in the Freethought and feminist movements, as well as a speaker, business woman, writer, editor and Secular Humanist celebrant. She founded the Freethought Society, the Anti-Discrimination Support Network and the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee.
Margaret is a past board member of the American Humanist Association and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, The Atheist Alliance, The Humanist Institute, and the Godless Americans Political Action Committee. She is currently serving on the Advisory Board of the Robert Green Ingersoll Museum and Scouting For All.
Margaret has been a guest speaker on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation, Nightline, 20/20 and Marty Moss-Cowan’s Philadelphia NPR show Radio Times. She has also been featured on radio programs in Texas, South Carolina, California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, and Georgia, and most recently Jamaica and China.
She is regularly featured at Atheist/Humanist conferences as a speaker and is well known for her fun-filled presentations, which always include visuals, door prizes, props, and well-prepared complimentary literature.
Katherine Stewart is author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children. The book is a chilling exposé of the well-funded, highly coordinated effort by Christian Nationalists to use public schools to advance a fundamentalist agenda.
Born in Boston, she started her career in journalism working for investigative reporter Wayne Barrett at The Village Voice and freelanced for Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire and others. She co-wrote the book about the musical Rent and, after moving to Santa Barbara in 2005, published two novels about 21st century parenting. Most recently she has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, the Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches. She lives with her family in New York City.
Shelley grew up in a musical household, singing at the age of three, then writing and performing at eleven. Joining her father's Jewish wedding band early on provided her with an ease and enjoyment performing and writing across a broad range of styles including pop, folk, jazz, blues, rock and reggae. Shelley accompanies herself on guitar and has been performing her original music around Melbourne and internationally for the last ten years.
Last year Shelley launched "An Atheist Album" which has had sales on nearly every continent. "For an atheist, she's got a hell of a lot of soul." wrote one reviewer. "An Atheist Album" gives a voice to the often underrepresented views of non-religious people, the fastest growing minority in many countries. After performing at the Reason Rally to a crowd of 25,000 in Washington DC, Segal's music video for her single "Saved" has gone global.
Amanda Knief is author of The Citizen Lobbyist (2013), a how-to for getting a voice in government. She is also the managing director and in-house counsel for American Atheists. Amanda is a constitutional law and public policy expert who worked as legal counsel for the Iowa Legislature and as a lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America. She has a BS in journalism and science communication from Iowa State and a JD from Drake University Law School. Amanda is an avid geocacher, rock climber, and bibliophile. She often travels with her Yorkie, Sagan.
Beth Presswood is the host of the Godless Bitches podcast, which is affiliated with the Atheist Community of Austin. She has also appeared on The Non-prophets podcast and The Atheist Experience TV show. She grew up in a hardcore Southern Baptist household and became a closeted atheist around age 15. She began her atheist activism with founding the Atheist and Freethought Club of East Tennessee State University. She is married to atheist activist Matt Dillahunty and resides in Austin, TX.
Born in poverty on St Louis' north side, comedian Steve Hill has acquired a lifetime of experience in what it's like to grow up in America as an African American male. After graduating high school in 1979, Steve continued in his father and brothers' footsteps and joined the United States Marine Corps. He served for 5 years, becoming a Sergeant, and moved to Los Angeles to work in the aerospace industry.
Seven years later, he became restless for a more exciting endeavor and joined the California Department of Corrections (CDC). He gained insight into the system by working at 2 maximum security prisons for 10 years.
Due to a "slight" disagreement with the CDC, Steve was retrained as a Real Estate Appraiser. He founded his own company, Anaverde Appraisal, in the Antelope Valley (in northern LA county) during the real estate boom of the early 2000s.
The mortgage meltdown and Wall Street corruption cemented his decision to speak for those in the middle class with no voice, lobbyist or advocacy group. With an extremely keen sense of humor, he hits the stage with a stand up performance that enables people to see relevant issues from a very funny, but drastically different, perspective.
Steve has set his sights on spreading his knowledge for the upcoming 2014 midterms.
As president of Triangle Freethought Society in Raleigh, NC, Harry Shaughnessy has shown his creativity and enthusiasm for doing whatever is necessary to garner that next donation, has been able to bring in nationally known speakers, hold successful parties and events, rally for important causes and build a net reserve of funds that makes planning future events much easier. His local Foundation Beyond Belief fundraising team for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society reached their goal of top local team and a $5,000 award. Harry is also president of Relevant CRM, a software consulting firm that he founded in 1993.
Michael Werner’s life has revolved around progressive activism, working in many Humanist/Atheist/Freethought organizations. He is a former president of the American Humanist Association, on the board of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist group HUUmanists; member of the North American Committee for Humanism; and an adjunct faculty member of the Humanist Institute. He has taught widely at major universities and is a founder of SMART Recovery, a self-management and recovery training program for addictions. He was successful in the chemical business while enjoying the love of his partner and three children and now lives in Wilmington, NC.
Amy Monsky is an active member of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry (SHL) in Charleston, South Carolina. Her path began there four years ago when she became SHL's first Family Activities Coordinator. Seeing a need for support for families and children, Amy created a humanist family support group . Through a full calendar of monthly events, Amy was able to bring families together, and the community of humanist parents and children began to grow and flourish. Amy kicked the support for humanist families up a notch when she founded Camp Quest South Carolina in 2011. In her role as Camp Director, Amy has led two week-long summer sessions and two family weekends.
Amy's passion isn't exclusive to families, though. She enjoys advocating for the rights of all humanists, identifying needs in her community, and working to find creative solutions. Amy was elected President of SHL in 2012. Since then, Amy has increased the visibility of both humanists as individuals and SHL as an organization by integrating SHL into the larger local community through large-scale community-wide events. She was presented with the Carolinas Freethinker of the Year award at the Carolinas Secular Conference last year, where she also signed a “Memo of Understanding" to mark the official launch of the Secular Coalition for South Carolina, where she serves as co-chair. Her future plans include launching a humanist Sunday School for SHL's youth, planning SHL's 20-year anniversary in 2014, and continuing to do what she can to make life the best it can be for humanists everywhere.
Amanda was born in 1986 and graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012 with a B.G.S in Psychology, B.G.S in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies both with an emphasis in Human Sexuality. With this degree and experience leading the Kansas City Atheist Coalition in their philanthropic efforts she has helped develop We Are Atheism into a nationally recognized nonprofit organization. We Are Atheism has become a platform for atheists around the world to tell their story and to engage in philanthropic efforts as a national community on a local and direct level through the development of Atheists Giving Aid in 2013.
Amanda is more than just her involvement in the atheist movement. She has a 5-year-old daughter, Lily, who has been the biggest motivating factor in her life to create change and be an example of how someone can truly be “good” without god. She has done many things since the birth of We Are Atheism, and plans to continue her fight for separation of church and state, women's rights, civil rights, and LGBTQIAA rights.
Currently she tours the country speaking on Secular Sexualism, Adult Comprehensive Sex Education, Famous Women in Atheism, "Famous" unknown women in history, Free Conference Organizing, Community/Philanthropic Event Organizing, Management of Volunteers, Alternative lifestyles, humanism, interfaith, her personal story of coming out atheist and how you can overcome sexual trauma without god, and helping people to come out of the closet by filming them in the "Atheist Closet".