This weekend, I attended the PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference in Philadelphia. Amazingly (that’s sarcasm), the conference was successful despite not providing a platform for misogynists, racists, white supremacists, alt-righters, rape apologists, or any others with similarly vile points of view.
Wait, what? We can still put on conferences without making them into a shit show? Apparently so. I’m looking at you, MythCon.
Not only did humanism and activism take center stage at this event, but for the second straight time the conference concluded with a community service project called Atheists Fight Hunger, where conference attendees, speakers, and organizers worked together to raise funds and pack meals for local people in need. What’s more humanistic than that? It’s one thing when speakers get up on stage and tell us what we should be doing more of, or instruct us how to be better atheists and humanists. It’s quite another when attendees get to stand elbow to elbow with them and make a difference, practicing what we preach.
PAStAHCon featured speakers such as David Silverman, Hemant Mehta, Alix Jules, Amanda Scott, Tracie Harris, Lawrence Krauss, Yvette d’Entremont, and others doing great work. It was a terrific lineup filled with motivating talks and reinvigorated many who may have otherwise felt some burnout or distaste with the atheist/secular movement (like me) after recent issues that have further fractured the community and distracted us from our goals.
No, one successful conference is not going to heal the atheist community nor solve the internal issues we have. But this was definitely a step in the right direction. My congratulations go out to the organizers of PAStAHCon. Thank you for putting on another great event and setting an excellent example for other organizers to follow. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
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