—  Fostering Community for Black Atheists In Challenging Times —  Online: Zoom

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The past year has brought new challenges to communities across the country. Communities of color are suffering disproportionately during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing has left many people more isolated than ever, leading to feelings of loneliness and depression. Black members of the atheist community often face a double dose of marginalization that compounds these feelings. Data from the U.S. Secular Survey shows that Black respondents had higher rates of depression and concealment, as well as less support from their families, than other respondents. The survey also showed that belonging to secular communities reduced depression by 33.9%. Join us to hear from Black atheist community leaders giving us their perspective on organizing in these challenging times.

Our Panelists

Wil Jeudy is American Atheists’ Houston Assistant State Director. He was a believer (Christianity) for most of his life, but began his road to atheism in the early 2000s. He is now an advocate for science and reason being a driving force behind policy and society in general. He is a humanist, an urgent care physician, and a lover of blues, jazz, and rock (as well as corny jokes). Ultimately, he wants to leave the world a better place than when he entered it.

Rogiérs is a native of St. Croix, USVI, an award-winning international recording artist, music industry veteran and former Minister of Music with 20+ years experience across denominational lines. He has worked with Alicia Keys, Robert Glasper, Mo’Nique among others. Alongside a dynamic performing career he spent a near lifetime serving churches in music and leading worship, though an appeal to "free inquiry" slowly led him away from Christian faith towards an eventual identity as an Agnostic Atheist in 2010. He is a music educator and maintains an active schedule recording and touring internationally. He is the leader of the Black Nonbelievers DC chapter as well as serving on the board of American Atheists’ affiliate Washington Area Secular Humanists.

Candace R. M. Gorham MA, LPCS is a licensed professional mental health counselor. She is a former ordained minister turned atheist-humanist activist, researcher, and writer on issues related to race and religion. She is a member of the Black Humanist Alliance advisory board, The Secular Therapist Project, and The Clergy Project. Candace is also the author of The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking Out on Religion—and Others Should Too.

Debbie Goddard is American Atheists’ VP of Programs. She has over two decades of experience as an organizer and activist, including 15 years at the Center for Inquiry. Debbie led CFI's outreach campaigns and was director of African Americans for Humanism. Debbie also engages in LGBTQ activism, civil rights work, and training new organizers in her community. She facilitates workshops and gives presentations on campaign-building, evidence-based activism, diversity and outreach, group organizing, humanism and politics, and other topics.