Opportunities Amid Cancellations
Many events, including some promoted in the Spring Season of Reason, were cancelled due to physical distancing requirements. Some were replaced with online events using Zoom, etc. and a few presentations were recorded and are available for replay. Online events have allowed some members living elsewhere now to re-connect with those still local. More guest presenters have been involved, another small silver lining for this pandemic. Other in-person events, mainly volunteer opportunities at essential organizations like the Red Cross, were modified and are still being held. Here is a brief rundown of how Columbus CoR and its member groups are handling things:
- Columbus CoR cancelled their May 2nd Day of Reason get together and COMFEST participation as well as the April 19th in-person quarterly meeting. We skipped dining together at the last two Bleed-N-Feed Red Cross donation events; more members have donated on other days and notified us for inclusion in our statistics.
- The Secular Student Alliance at the Ohio State University (SSA at OSU) was able to hold an election to determine officers for the 2020/21 school year. SSA at OSU does not usually meet during the Summer.
- Omnipresent Atheists (OA) is holding Zoom-based meetings on most Tuesdays as is the UU Atheists, Skeptics, Humanists (UU ASH) on 4th Tuesdays. You can replay a video of the March UU ASH presentation, Nuclear Issues in Ohio and Beyond.
- Recovery From Religion (RR) is holding online meetings including one with an Ask A Therapist panel. Some feature out-of-town-based, nationally-known guest speakers such as Darrel Ray. How Racism & Injustice Affects Mental Health with Mandisa Thomas & Candace Gorham, LPC will be the topic on June 8th.
- The Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) suspended in-person meetings in mid-March. “Many HCCO events are held at restaurants or other eating establishments, and though such businesses are beginning to reopen, restrictions and health concerns are still great enough that the HCCO board has decided not yet to resume in-person events. Participation in ODOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program is also on hold, until ODOT decides that trash pickups may be resumed. In the meantime, many events have been converted to a virtual format, see Meetup for details.” Randall Saunders, Vice President
- Black Nonbelievers of Columbus OH (BN CBUS) has scheduled an online meeting on June 13th “Sikivu Hutchinson is our guest speaker for our June Special Edition General Meeting. Sikivu is the founder of Black Skeptics Los Angeles and the Women’s Leadership Project, and is also on the organizing team for the Women of Color Beyond Belief conference. She is also the author of several books, including the newly released Humanists in the Hood: Unapologetically Black Feminist, and Heretical and the play, NARCOLEPSY, INC., which premiered at the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival.” Precious Singo, BN CBUS Founder.
- Mid-Ohio Atheists (MOA) is not currently scheduling in-person or online events.
Get Out And Kayak
COUNT has been working with Adaptive Sports Connection (ASC), a chapter of Disabled Sports USA since the Fall of 2018, and 13 members have assisted in 54 cycling, winter sports, sailing and kayaking events. COUNT skiers completed the 2019/20 season Adaptive Sports Connection (ASC) Winter Sports events just as the pandemic hit the area. Due to it, ASC cycling events are not being scheduled yet and the vital Spring ASC annual fundraiser was cancelled. COUNT is accepting contributions to help support ASC and raise visibility of non-theist generosity.
ASC kayak events that usually start in May were reworked for social distancing so that they can start on June 6th and be open to the larger community (not just those needing adaptive support). COUNT is recruiting both customers and volunteers for the new Get Out And Kayak events every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning.
Ronald McDonald House
COUNT members continued to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) at every 1st Sunday this year as they have since May 2013 and will be there again on June 7th. RMH occupancy dropped to perhaps 50% as elective procedures were curtailed but many families still rely on this resource, including those with hospitalized COVID-19 infected children we assume. “At this time, we prefer that no novice COUNT volunteers work at RMH. It is safer to involve only less-vulnerable volunteers that know the building and procedures because extra precautions are required” says the COUNT Steering Committee. 21 COUNT volunteers have contributed 1,584 hours from the start of our involvement with RMH in 2013 through the end of May 2020.
Van Buren Center
Columbus CoR group members have continued to volunteer on second Tuesdays serving dinner at the Van Buren homeless shelter, when allowed. Sometimes the shelter is serving packaged food with disposable plates to reduce risk and does not need us. Our COUNT event host will schedule 2nd Tuesdays as allowed but will limit novice volunteer participation for now. “It is safer to involve only less-vulnerable volunteers that know the shelter layout and can better assess risk” according to the COUNT Steering Committee. We’re hoping to volunteer next on June 9th. 108 Columbus CoR volunteers worked 1180.25 hours in 67 events at the Van Buren Center to date.
SSA Con 2020
Soon after the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) moved their HQ from Columbus to Los Angeles, their national conference left this area. This summer, the Secular Student Alliance Virtual Conference is themed: Envisioning A Better World. Non-theists are invited to attend – for free! – the four day online event July 22 – 25.
As the morning main session starts at 9 AM PST (Noon EST) each day, Ohioans will be able to sleep in and still tune in for the opening speakers. Keynotes will be delivered by Rachel Laser, President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Anthony Pinn, Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies, Katherine Stewart, Author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. Details are still emerging and can be tracked at secularstudents.org/conference/2020conference/.
Columbus CoR was represented at three Carriage Place Red Cross donation events held on third Thursdays in January, March and May. We skipped dining together for the last two; more members have donated on other days and reported the number of units and donation date for inclusion in our statistics and reports. Our 23 Columbus CoR donors have contributed a total of 151 units since January 2017. RSVP for the July 23rd COUNT event even if you might donate on a different day/time/location.
HCCO, COUNT, OA, BN CBUS, MOA, RR and SSA at OSU are members of the Columbus Coalition of Reason.