By Donald R. Wright
The percentage of black non-believers in the U.S. is small but increasing. Most have difficulty meeting other black non-believers or finding many who are involved in secular organizations. The internet has made many connections possible; however, the common feelings expressed by black non-believers are those of isolation, loneliness, and alienation. Often the remedy for these feelings is activism. This activism includes diligently searching for and befriending other non-believers, working with as many other non-believers as possible to address social ills, continuing to be educated about the factual world, providing positive expressions for secular ideas through writing and public speaking, and strengthening the secular community by supporting existing organizations as well as creating dynamic new ones. Unfettered activism is captured in the purpose of the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers.
The Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers (DoS), held annually on the fourth Sunday in February, must be embraced beyond the events that take place in cities across the nation on that day. It must be used to build genuine communal relationships. It must be used to launch a wave of activism among blacks in America and other people of color as we strive to openly embrace our non-theist status in an ethical and dignified manner. Those that accept this call to activism must garner enough interest to create and support opportunities that will motivate those who have so far remained dormant except for an occasional message via email, Twitter, blogging, or postings on Facebook. This Day of Solidarity event is an effort to bring them out from behind those high tech media devices and other locations that keep them inconspicuous.
Anyone who supports this initiative can contact other non-theist individuals, groups, and organizations to plan a gathering, such as brunch, lunch, book or film discussion, museum trip, speaker presentation, etc. Decide on a time and place. Publicize the event as widely as possible. Use Facebook, Twitter, MeetUp.com, and other websites. Also consider newspaper and web-based community calendars, issuing local press releases, radio station announcements, and making personal invitations. When your planning is complete, post the details of your event on the DoS Facebook page for the benefit of others that may be looking for an event in your area.
We want to know about every event that takes place on Sunday, February 26, 2012; large or small, private or public! Please be sure to post your videos, pictures, links, podcasts, or comments on the DoS Facebook page. If you have any questions or need further information, be sure to contact us on our Facebook page or e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org. Black non-believers you are not alone. “Come Out and Join In.”
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What is the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers (DoS)?
The DoS is a nationwide event during Black History Month to promote community and solidarity among blacks inAmericawho identify as non-believers: atheists, agnostics, skeptics, free-thinkers, etc. DoS has been organized as a way to counter the religious voice that all too often serves as the lone voice of black consciousness and experience. These gatherings will promote fellowship and the pursuit of humanist strategies to solve the problems facing humanity – especially those affecting the black community.
2) Where will the DoS events take place?
Day of Solidarity events will take place in cities and towns across the U.S.We plan to keep an updated list as events are reported. Send us an email, email@example.com, to request event locations.
3) When will the DoS take place?
The Day of Solidarity will take place on Sunday, February 26th, 2012. Thereafter, the Day of Solidarity will take place annually on the last Sunday in February.
4) What can I anticipate happening at a DoS event?
The events will be unique, customized by each of the organizers and attendees. Most likely DOS meetings will take place in coffeehouses, restaurants or other casual settings. Larger groups may convene in libraries or other public venues. Although there is no formal itinerary for the DOS events, organizers are encouraged to include a segment on historical black non-theists, share life experiences, plan for the next DOS, and there should be ample time to socialize – get acquainted!
5) Is there a cost for attendance?
Ideally, there will not be a cost to participate outside of whatever food items or group merchandise participants choose to purchase. The goal is to gather. DoS organizers are encouraged to keep all costs to a minimum to encourage the most participation. A small admission fee may be requested to defray any rental costs associated with the venue. Local organizers will inform attendees ahead of time if a cost is associated with attendance.
6) Do I have to be Black or African American to attend?
No! The events are open to everyone. We welcome the support and participation of our allies in the Secular Movement, regardless of race. While we do not wish to discourage other individuals from attending, the primary focus will be on answering the religiosity in the black community and providing a forum for black non-theists to share experiences.
7) I don’t see a Day of Solidarity event planned in my area but am interested in participating. How can I learn more about organizing a DoS event?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you suggested guidelines for organizing an event. Also, review the info section on the Facebook page. We can also assist in identifying local secular groups that may have an event planned or contact information for others interested in participating.
8) I live in a remote area and cannot attend the DoS closest to me. Any hope for me participating in a DOS event?
We will aim to use as many forms of communication as possible if there is interest. Skype and/or conference calls may be options for those of us in rural locations or who have accessibility issues.
9) I’m pretty sure I’m the only black non-theist in my area! I’d still like to participate somehow. Any suggestions?
Well you never know. There are more of us than you think – but whether two, twenty, or two hundred are gathered, solidarity can be achieved. We can help with suggestions for finding other non-theists in your area so just send us an email. The Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers is in the process of building, and our numbers will grow as more people are comfortable with identifying as non-believers. We have to start somewhere. So even if your event only has two people in attendance, that is a positive move in the right direction. We hope to see you or hear about your event on February 26th!