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Freethought Goes to School


The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 1.


The Council for Secular Humanism is expanding its youth program with the planned launch of a school freethought group, and the appointment of a full-time staff member to coordinate campus and school activities.

A public launch of the Young Freethinkers Alliance is planned for the Council's annual conference in Chicago, May 13-16, 1999. Student coordinators have already been in touch with atheist and humanist groups at ten high schools, and are in touch with many other interested individuals, including junior high students. The new Alliance will provide practical support, educational resources, and a national community for teenage freethinkers. (For one high-school student's experience of starting a school atheist club in the face of official opposition, see this article.)

The new Alliance hopes to match the success of the Campus Freethought Alliance (CFA). Launched in August 1995 with just two campus groups, the CFA grew rapidly to include nearly one hundred campus groups by 1998. Its 1999 annual conference will also take place during the Chicago conference.

New Campus Coordinator

To coordinate and develop its expanding youth and campus programs, the Council for Secular Humanism has appointed Amanda Chesworth as full-time Campus Freethought Alliance Coordinator. Amanda, age 28, has a background in science writing and education, especially in promoting science to young people. A Canadian by birth, Amanda has recently lived in Houston, Texas, where she helped found Houstonians for Secular Humanism. She started work at the Center for Inquiry International in Amherst, New York, in January 1999.

Commenting on her new role, Amanda said, "I am thrilled to be working in what I consider the most vibrant part of a very dynamic movement. Humanism has a lot to offer students, and students, in turn, are making important and indispensable contributions to humanism. So as well as promoting humanism and rationalism to university and school students, I hope to see the enthusiasm, optimism, and lust for life young people emit spread to all areas of the secular humanist movement. I believe this combination of energy and wisdom can really make an impact on individual lives and on society as a whole."


Amanda will be supported in her work by Chris Mooney, a senior at Yale. Chris, 21, will work part-time as CFA Field Director. Amanda can be contacted at: CFA, PO Box 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0664, e-mail: FIAmanda@aol.com.


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