We’ll be announcing details about our 2019 conference soon! Check out information from our recent 2018 conference below.
Jennifer Ouellette, Humanist of the Year
Jennifer Ouellette is a nationally recognized science writer and the author of four popular science books: Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self (2014); The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (2010); The Physics of the Buffyverse (2007); and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics (2006), all published by Penguin. She also edited The Best Online Science Writing 2012 (Scientific American Books/FSG). She is former science editor of Gizmodo, a popular technology/science daily news blog that garners over 35 million page views per month. Her freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Book Review, Discover, Slate, Salon, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, Alta, Nature, and New Scientist, among other venues.
From October 2012 to June 2015, Ouellette served as a co-host for Virtually Speaking Science, a weekly conversation with a prominent scientist or science writer hosted by the Exploratorium in Second Life and aired as a podcast by Blog Talk Radio. She makes frequent public appearances, including stints on National Public Radio, and an appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in February 2011. As a bonus, she won one of the show’s coveted “Golden Harmonicas.” From November 2008 to October 2010, Ouellette was the founding director of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a Los Angeles-based initiative of the National Academy of Sciences aimed at fostering creative collaborations between scientists and entertainment industry professionals in Hollywood. She holds a black belt in jujitsu, and lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, Caltech physicist Sean (M.) Carroll.
Dan Blinn, President’s Award
Dan Blinn has been active in the Connecticut secular community for more than a decade. Originally a member of a New Haven area group, he began organizing events in the greater Hartford area. It soon became apparent that Hartford was ready for its own Humanist organization, and Dan organized Hartford Area Humanists in 2013. He now serves as president. After fewer than five years, the group has more than 750 members on its Meetup page.
Dan was also one of the organizers of the Connecticut Coalition of Reason. He was one of the founding co-chairs of that group and still serves on its board of directors.
While attending the Humanist Institute (Class 19), Dan organized a coordinated Humanist response to the People’s Climate March in New York on September 21, 2014. Approximately 200 individuals rallied under a Humanist banner at that event.
Dan is a frequent speaker on Humanist topics for secular groups, churches, and other organizations located throughout Southern New England. He also organizes a monthly “Humanist Dinner Club” at which individuals meet to discuss current events, philosophy, and other topics of interest to Humanists. He is also a Humanist Celebrant.
Professionally, Dan is a busy lawyer who primarily handles consumer protection claims against car dealerships. He has served as president of multiple legal aid boards, and he is a former treasurer and board member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Dan is married to Linda Segal Blinn, and they have two grown children living in nearby New England cities.
Andrew Bradley, Humanist Arts Award
This year’s Humanist Arts Award is being given jointly to Deven Green and Andrew Bradley, the creative team behind Mrs. Betty Bowers videos. Learn more about Deven Green here.
Andrew Bradley is an English-born, American humorist now living in Atlanta. He went to Duke University as an Angier B. Duke Memorial scholar. He has written or co-written three humor books: “What Would Betty Do?” (Simon & Schuster); “White House Handbook” (co-writer for Penguin); and “Welcome to Jesusland!” (co-writer for Hachette). He also wrote the comedic play “Madness,” which has been produced several times.
He’s the creator and sole writer for the award-winning internet sensation Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best ChristianTM. In 2015, the Advocate magazine described Betty as “a celeb blowing up social media,” quoting Betty’s tweets next to those of Hillary Clinton and other celebrities. Bradley writes all of the content for Betty’s Facebook page, which has over 550,000 fans. Those Facebook posts routinely appearing on millions of people’s pages each week. During the first week of 2018, the page reached over nine million people. Bradley also is the sole creator of all content for Betty Bowers’ Twitter account. Betty’s Twitter followers have grown by 100,000 followers in the past year, with tweets being routinely featured in national media, including Huffington Post and CBS News.
In 2009, Bradley teamed up with Deven Green to create Betty Bowers videos for YouTube. These videos are written and edited by Bradley, with Green co-producing and appearing as Betty. One of their earlier efforts, “Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else,” has, so far, gotten well over 2,000,000 views on YouTube (and another 2,200,000 views on Facebook). These videos have been viewed by over ten million people. Bradley also produces other videos on politics and religion, which appear on Betty Bowers’ social media feeds. A popular, recent video exposed how Christian conservatives like Donald Trump, not because the businessman is a Christian, but because Christianity is a business.
Bradley also served as one of the lead writers on other successful websites. Among them have been: LandoverBaptist.org, a full-throttle spoof of domestic fundamentalism; and WhiteHouse.org, a satiric mirror of the real White House website, which managed to get under the skin of the George W. Bush administration for eight years. It earned both praise from media and a cease and desist demand from Dick Cheney. (The latter was happily ignored and, instead, made part of a new piece on the site, which received national attention.)
Bradley has been quoted in the New York Times, CNN and many other news outlets. He has done numerous interviews for media, both domestic and not. And he has been a guest speaker at numerous atheist, secular, and free-thinking conventions.
Deven Green, Humanist Arts Award
This year’s Humanist Arts Award is being given jointly to Deven Green and Andrew Bradley, the creative team behind Mrs. Betty Bowers videos. Learn more about Andrew Bradley here.
Deven Green is an award-winning comedic performer based in Los Angeles via Canada. You know her from her “Welcome To My Home” & “Welcome To My White House” parodies, as the OCC makeup spokesmodel, judging on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” proudly performing her live music shows as a comedic chanteuse across America and, of course, portraying “Betty Bowers – America’s Best Christian”.
Deven has been an outspoken ally and advocate for LGBT rights, The Trevor Project, The NO H8 campaign, HIV Equal, Aids Ride, Southern California’s G&L Centre, San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, LGBT Youth Centre – San Diego, headlining Pride festivals across the U.S., being an officiant for same-sex marriages and speaking to gay alliances at colleges/universities.
Deven has written awards-ceremony speeches for the likes of Marlee Matlin to Larry King to Billy Jean King. She captioned the illustrated book “Milkmen and Money Makers,” wrote the Prince Poppycock stage show, has written comedy segments for David Magazine, wrote and appeared in the “Accident” perfume video and offers entertaining advice in her month advice column “Well Hello!” in Goliath Magazine.
Deven has won “Best Youtube” and “Funniest Person” from World of Wonder, was named “20 Funniest Web Videos” by NY Entertainment and has won “Performer of the Decade” from the LA Improv Theatre. Just this year she was part of the team to win “Best Drag Show – LA” for Drag Queen Bingo.
Her charming music shows have taken her from opening for Salt N’Pepa to headlining in theaters and lounges across America to entertaining the troops overseas. She plays songs from the 1920s to today all on electric ukulele. Catch her weekly residency at Akbar in Los Angeles or this summer in Province Town. “You never know what she will say or play next. On top of it all that girl can sing!”- Las Vegas Beat
Her website is DevenGreen.com
Gavin Grimm, Keynote Speaker
Gavin Grimm is a 18-year-old recent high school graduate in Gloucester, Virginia. He is transgender.
As part of his medical treatment for severe gender dysphoria, Gavin and his mother notified administrators of his male gender identity at the beginning of his sophomore year so that he could socially transition in all aspects of his life. With permission from school administrators, Gavin used the boys’ restroom for almost two months without any incident. But after receiving complaints from some parents and residents of Gloucester County, the school board adopted a new policy banning Gavin from using the boys’ restrooms on December 9, 2014, by a vote of 6-1, despite warnings from the ACLU.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on Gavin’s behalf and filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the court to rule in time for Gavin to be able to use the same restroom as other boys at Gloucester High School when classes resumed for the 2015-16 school year. The lawsuit argues the bathroom policy is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.
The district court denied the injunction and dismissed Gavin’s claim under Title IX. That decision was appealed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the lower court’s decision was overturned in August of 2016. Gloucester County School Board then asked the Supreme Court of the United States to take on the case and the Fourth Circuit’s order was stayed pending the Supreme Court’s decision about whether to take the case.
On October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court announced it will review the decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Gavin’s case was set to be heard by the Supreme Court on March 28, 2017. But on March 5, the Supreme Court announced that it’s sending Gavin’s case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.
Gavin graduated high school in June 2017—still unable to use the same restroom as other boys. After graduation, he withdrew his motion for a preliminary injunction and filed an amended complaint with the district court for nominal damages and a declaration that the Board violated Gavin’s rights under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. The amended complaint also seeks to permanent injunction preventing the Board from excluding him from the restrooms when he on school grounds for alumni activities.
As of 10/12/17, we’re waiting for the district court to rule on the Board’s motion to dismiss the amended complaint.
Ana Kasparian, Humanist Media Award
Ana Kasparian considers herself too feisty for her own good, which is usually reflected in her passionate news coverage and analysis. Kasparian began her tenure with The Young Turks as a host and producer in 2007, and has contributed to the explosion of the show’s popularity as the largest online news program. Her honest coverage and dedication to truthful commentary was honored in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016 and in the Daily Dot as a Top Women of YouTube Prior to TYT, Ana has also served as a contributor on MSNBC, RT, and Pivot.
Kasparian gets fired up when discussing the criminal justice system and education. She was awarded a Webby Award after appearing on the Sundance Channel’s “Dream School” where she successfully encouraged high school dropouts to finish their education. Other accolades
Aside from being a regular op-ed writer for Raw Story, Kasparian has also written for the New York Times and Time.com. She also teaches journalism at California State University Northridge, the same school where she received her Bachelor’s in journalism and Master’s in political science.
It’s not all work and no play for Kasparian, who enjoys running, going to music concerts, rapping along to Drake when she’s alone in her apartment, and abandoning online shopping carts she fills with items she could never afford. She is the proud owner of a rescue dog named Charlie who has her wrapped around his little paws.
Ijeoma Oluo, Feminist Humanist Award
Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based Writer, Speaker and Internet Yeller. Her work on race, feminism and other social issues has been featured in The Guardian, The Stranger, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine and more. She is the Editor at Large at The Establishment. Her book, So You Want To Talk About Race will be published early 2018 with Seal Press. You can find her yelling on Twitter @ijeomaoluo.
David Suzuki, Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It’s a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis, The David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.” His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C.