Grassroots and Outreach Coordinator—United Coalition of Reason
One of the things I truly enjoy with my work at United Coalition of Reason is that we can care for and support our Coalitions who are feeling threatened, depressed, or at a loss as to how to change what can be seen as a very troubling time ahead following the recent elections. The best way to help is to fight for what we believe in, whether it is in our local community, state, and even bigger groups at the national level. This isn’t a call for donations, as we want to let you know about some ways you can help that doesn’t involve your money; only some of your time.
Local Groups: Getting involved in your local secular groups is the most important thing you can do. Go to a Meetup, find out what they are planning to do in the coming weeks to help your community and volunteer your time. The reason this avenue is so important is because every cause grows at a grassroots level. There is not a secular group in this country that did not start as a small, local group. This grassroots outreach is also so very important because it makes the community aware of what your group is doing and you can grow your membership and be able to pay it forward back into your community. If you need any advisement on local groups in your area, please check United CoR’s Secular Directory (www.seculardirectory.org) or email me personally at [email protected]. If you are interested in helping with education of our children, please look at the website of a new group (www.stem-can.org) who help place Science, Technology, Electronics and Mathematics clubs in local, impoverished schools. It also helps get the community involved with the schools which is of the upmost importance for the re-energizing of our public schools which are now being threatened more than ever in the history of this country.
Coalitions: We have over 40 coalitions around the U.S.A and in Canada. On our website, http://www.unitedcor.org, we have an interactive map that will help you find a coalition within your state and volunteer with those groups. Our coalitions are made up of local secular groups in the cities and areas of the state that do work together, as cohesive entities to enhance and support the local and smaller groups in smaller communities. They work together to organize events, potluck dinners, conferences and other large events small groups could not do on their own. We are always looking for new volunteer coordinators and if you notice your area lacking a coalition, please email me and I can help gather some groups to form a coalition that will help your area organize some truly amazing events.
Politics: Get involved in your local politics. Whether it is a place on a city council, doing secular invocations at city council meetings, or lobbying your state and national representatives, this is a way to get some attention from the powers that be. Also, legal and peaceful protests, which are protected by the First Amendment of our Constitution are a big way to show that secular values are important in this country. Follow the local permit laws and please, peacefully assemble with your fellow countrymen and women to air your grievances to our government. The second it turns riotous, you are no longer protected by the First Amendment.
National: On a national level, there are so many groups that need the help of volunteers, it can be quite overwhelming. Some of these groups that are really feeling the need for help are LGBTQ groups which can be found locally but are nationally targeted for hate. Also groups that help Muslim Americans like Muslimish (www.muslimish.com) or the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA–www.malanational.org) are wonderful for our fellow countrymen and women who have been especially targeted in the last year and deserve our help as reasonable and logical human beings. Black Non-Believers (blacknonbelievers.wordpress.com) is a group that helps African Americans who separate themselves from the churches of superstition that permeate their culture. This group is also representing a culture that is time and time again, the focus of unauthorized arrests, beatings, and even killings by the very government that is supposed to protect them, not to mention being ostracized by their own culture and even within the atheist community itself. Also hafree.org helps Hispanic and Latinos separate from their religion and support them in their endeavors to help their communities nationwide.
This leads me to two groups I have discovered that help those prisoners who have been wrongly persecuted, some in prison for life and some even on death row. These two groups fight the injustice that is so paramount in our criminal justice system. They are the National Center for Reason and Justice (ncrj.org) and the Innocence Project (innocenceproject.org) and they help exonerate prisoners unjustly accused and convicted and they also help set up pen pals for inmates in prisons throughout the country.
This is just a small list of ways you can help our fellow human beings during this tremendous time of uncertainty. Let people know in your lives that we are here to fight for them, to protest for them, to protect them, and we will not let the cloud of hate penetrate the dream of hope secular groups have helped build within this wonderful country of ours.