Connecticut will play host Oct. 19 to the first-ever coalition meeting of regional secular groups.
The Secular Assembly for the North East conference will take place at the University of New Haven in West Haven from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The gathering will be a chance for the regional secular community “to gather and discuss important topics and interact with secular leaders in order to reinforce our large and increasing presence in society,” according to SANE's website. It will feature speakers on the forefront of church-state issues, including:
Jessica Ahlquist, a Cranston, R.I. high school student who successfully sued to remove a prayer from her school's auditorium and received hate mail and death threats for her efforts;
Liz Heywood, an advocate who lost a leg as a child after her Christian Scientist parents failed to give her proper medical treatment for her osteomyelitis;
and Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D., a senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission whose work focuses on the cultural and social history of African American secular humanist thought and its role in the black liberation struggle.
The conference is being co-sponsored by a bevy of secular groups from around Connecticut, such as the Hartford Area Humanists, the Connecticut Valley Atheists and the Humanist Association of Connecticut in Hamden.
Tickets for the event are $35. Seating is limited and not guaranteed; only 26 spots remained on Oct. 4, according to a comment on SANE's Facebook page. For more information, visit http://www.saneonline.org/ or call 860.454.8301.