It's SSA Week - Support Our Secular Students!
I'm a bit busy this week, since I'm at Netroots Nation until Sunday. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the major fundraising drive that's just kicked off: the Secular Student Alliance's SSA Week, which is taking place from June 6th to 16th. Yes, I realize that's more than a week, but our freethinking students and the people who support them are an integral part of the atheist movement, and they deserve more than just seven days of support!
As Lyz Liddell, the SSA director of campus organizing, demonstrated in dramatic fashion with a recent talk, the secular student movement is booming. Colleges and high schools across the country are adding atheist student groups at an accelerating rate over the last several years, far outpacing the growth of Campus Crusade for Christ, despite their having 500 times the SSA's budget. We're building infrastructure literally as fast as we can pour money into it, motivating and organizing the students who will be the atheist leaders and activists of the coming generation. The SSA has done tremendous work both in shepherding this growth and also in pushing back when school administrators try to shut these groups down or deny them their rights. (Obligatory full disclosure: I'm on the speakers' bureau of the SSA.)
With generous donations and matching offers from the philanthropists Jeff Hawkins, Janet Strauss and Todd Stiefel, the SSA has a chance to break fundraising records and be in a better position than ever to offer support to its affiliates, and the atheist community is joining the cause. Jen McCreight, who's on the SSA board, is running her annual Blogathon, in which she pledges to write a brand-new post every half-hour for 24 full hours. But this year, she's being joined by a whole raft of other bloggers who have pledged to take part in the sleep-deprived fun.
I'm not going to stay up all night to blog, alas (some of us have day jobs, you know). But I'm going to pledge my support to the SSA, and I hope you will too. During the blogathon, I'll try to write one new post per day highlighting some of the most interesting, insightful, or hilarious writings from the other participants. And if you choose to donate after reading this post, leave a comment below or send me an e-mail letting me know you chipped in and for how much. I may just have a special gift for the top contributors...