Shelley Segal in Fresno

Singer, Songwriter, and activist Shelley Segal is on tour and has offered the secular community of Fresno the chance to see her in an exclusive performance!

 


Date:  Tuesday, February 28th
Time: 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Location: Maw ‘n Paw Barbecue,  2686 N Clovis Ave (see map)

 

Tickets / cost: Donations  (see below)

 

You may know Shelley from her song “Saved” which is currently being used as the Intro music to the Atheist Experience video call-in show hosted by the Atheist Community of Austin.

 

 

Tickets / cost:


CVAAS is still putting together our nonprofit status, so we don’t have much to work with yet.  In order to make this happen, we need your donations!

 

This takes you to the GoFundMe page
Click on the “GoFundMe” button to help CVAAS make this happen!
Click on the button on the right to make a donation and help CVAAS bring Shelley to our own private performance.  We’ve already raised over a third of the costs in the first day!

 

This GoFundMe will pay for Shelley’s appearance and fees and will be used to secure the venue.  

 

If we do not meet our goal, then CVAAS will cancel the event and all money will be returned.

 

However, if we DO meet our goal, then CVAAS will add a “stretch goal” and from that we will provide a free dinner to everyone who attends!

 

Maw ‘n Paw Barbecue will supply the venue and the dinner for this event.  If you attended last year’s “Heretic’s Barbecue” you may remember the delicious food catered for us by Maw ‘n Paw.  We will offer a meal for Shelley’s performance.  Tri-tip & chicken, plus two sides, bread, and a drink all for $8.50 (plus tax).

 

Excellent Barbecue! Click the logo to see their menu.

Of course, if we meet our stretch goal then dinner will be free for all attendees!

 

Seating for this event is limited to 60 people, but everyone who donates $15 or more will be guaranteed one seat.

 

So, what do you say?  We all know that the secular community is important, now we have the chance to show it!  Make a donation and help this event happen!

 

 

Two hands working – CVAAS and the support of the LGBT community

floridaheartThe Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics grieves for the victims of the Orlando massacre, and stands side-by-side in solid support with our friends and family in the LGBT community.

As president of CVAAS, this statement encapsulates our organization’s stance on the atrocity committed in Orlando Florida yesterday.

But as a person, I must protest.  A mere statement can not be the whole of the action that any person or organization takes in response to this crime.

The founder of American Atheists, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, once said, “Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.”  

LGBT_7
Religious leaders, members of the Faith in Community coalition, stand in solidarity and support of the LGBT community at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fresno

This quote came back to me over and over again yesterday as I attended the vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fresno.  Local religious leaders who are members of the Faith in Community of Fresno stood together hand-in-hand at the UU church to deplore the outrage in Florida, and to encourage healing.

It is not enough.

During the candlelight vigil and march from the LGBT Community Center to the Tower Theater in the Tower District of Fresno, I watched as my friends choked back grief, and offered each other unconditional compassion and love.  And again these same religious leaders spoke about support, about love, about healing.  And once again it was just not enough.

And finally there was another speaker, someone who spoke with outrage and passion about the necessity of change.  As this person demanded that we act I was again reminded of O’Hair’s quote – “Two hands working….”

LGBT_vigil2
Members of the LGBT community hold a candlelight vigil at the Tower Theater on Olive in Fresno

Over the last day I’ve asked myself, what can we do?  What can I do?  I am not gay.  I’m not transgender.  I do not have a faith or belief in a deity.  

But I do believe in us.  I honestly believe that we are all greater than the sum of our individuals.  I believe that even if solutions to a complex problem are elusive or impossible, we can still find ways to make real positive changes.   

This is not going to be easy.  Over the last day, voices about the Orlando massacre have been all over the map.  The voices of hate and marginalization have been either outrageously evil, or they have been subtle and insidious.  I’ve watched as political leaders have written, or tweeted their support of the “victims of Orlando” without ever using the words, “gay”, “homosexual” or “LGBT”.  I’ve been attentive as media talking heads have gone out of their way to avoid any meaningful dialog about guns in America.  I’ve watched opinion leaders in America paint with brushes so broad that no room for nuance is allowed.  And I’ve watched the most insane of the devout gibber in glee in support of “Team God”.

This atrocity didn’t happen in a vacuum.  Although the murder of our friends and family is horrific, it is also a symptom of the contempt in which the LGBT community is held by many here in America.  And although there are secular people who dislike or hate gay people, most hatred, and I use the word “hatred” deliberately, is overwhelmingly coming from America’s religious communities.

Over the last 6 months, there have been over 200 pieces of legislation introduced around the country that are designed to marginalize gay and transgender people.  Since June of last year, when the Supreme Court ruling made same-sex marriage lawful in America, religious fundamentalist hate groups with words like “family” or “decency” in their names have been doing everything in their power to dismantle LGBT families, and to disparage members of the LGBT community and their supporters in the most immoral ways imaginable.

To be certain, religious fundamentalism in America is a minority.  But it is a large minority, and an extremely loud one.  And it is one that has had little or no opposition by religious moderates or liberals.  When moderates do find their voices, it is too common that a voice is all that is found.  “We are with you, in sorrow, in healing, and in prayer”.  But not in action.

LGBT_vigil4
This is what action looks like. Yesterday morning I watched as my friend Kaylia worked with others to organize a candlelight vigil and march, and a place for grieving people to go for support. These are two hands working.

That’s not enough.  Two hands working can certainly do more than that.


Here is what I suggest.  As an ally, I will refuse to let anyone in my hearing, or in my circle of communication, get away with the marginalization of anyone in the LGBT community.  As an ally, I will support other allies who support the LGBT community.  

I suggest that we talk to our elected representatives.  There are plenty of places online that will allow you to plug in your address and will show you who your local, state and Federal representatives are.  Do this, and then write to them.  Use old-fashioned snail-mail to make a bigger impact.  Write more than once – write often.  Encourage others to do the same.

Join a local grass-roots organization.  Learn how to influence our political system.  Even at the level of an individual there are things you can do.  Even changes made at a local level can have national consequences.  The philosophy of, “think globally, act locally” applies here.

And finally, study the problems in politics in America.  Because we definitely have our problems, complex problems.  And I believe that working together we can advance toward real solutions.  

I believe in us.

If you would like to join us in figuring out what “two hands” can do, meet us on our discussion board.

Raise a glass and learn at the Central Valley Café Scientifique

The school year has started, and Central Valley Café Scientifique is back in session!

 

For the price of a cup of coffee or glass of wine, the Café Scientifique forum is a place where anyone can explore the latest, cutting edge ideas of technology and science.

 

The café format starts with a speaker who is very knowledgeable in a field giving a short talk about a subject.  The subjects can be anything of science and technology.  After the initial presentation, everyone is given several minutes to relax, refill their glasses, and start a conversation.

 

Following that there is an hour or more of questions and answers.  Anyone can ask a question, and the questions and answers are frequently insightful and thought provoking.

 

The Central Valley Café Scientifique adds to the cultural opportunities in the California Central Valley.  Speakers are invited from local universities and beyond!

 

The informal setting encourages non-scientists to participate in a comfortable, non-academic atmosphere.

 

Currently Central Valley Café Scientifique meets on the first Monday evening every month.  See their website for details about time and venues.  (Click here)

Volunteer opportunities with CVAAS

We could use your help!

 

CVAAS is always looking for people that want to help us create and grow.

 

Opportunities to help include:

 

  • Writing and content creation
  • Graphics design
  • Desktop publishing
  • Podcast production
  • Website maintenance
  • Media relations
  • Public outreach
  • Advertising

 

If you have skills in any of these areas (or want to learn some of these skills) why don’t you let us know?

 

But what is in it for you?  Sure, you are doing this because you enjoy being a part of a secular / skeptical organization.  But it could mean more to you.

 

  • Volunteering with CVAAS is something that you can add to your resume.  Volunteer with us, and we will gladly provide volunteer references and a volunteer confirmation letter.
  • You could apply to become a “volunteer affiliate member” of CVAAS.  If accepted, you can trade 20 hours of volunteer time for a full one-year membership.
  • As a volunteer you can help make CVAAS a better organization – which benefits you, as a member!

 

Get started as a volunteer by letting us know!  Contact us in the form below, and let us know how you want to help.

 

[wdcontactform id=”1″]

Drinking Skeptically!

Got Doubt?

 

Do you have a hard time taking things at face value?  Are you inclined to question normally accepted opinions?

 

Then you should join up with a bunch of skeptics as we gather together at our local favorite places to have some food, and our favorite beverages!

 

Drinking Skeptically is an open event hosted by CVAAS for everyone who considers themselves a skeptic.  peeves-logo3Join us as we discuss any topic.  Nothing is off the table.  Our one rule is this:  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

 

We currently meet at Peeve’s Public House, whose owner is a fellow freethinker and skeptic. Peeve’s offers a limited, daily menu of fresh, locally-sourced foods and a wide selection of beers and wines.

 

We are there from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (or longer) on the first Sunday of every month!

 

Sometimes things happen and we can’t make it to Peeves.  If that happens, check our Meetup event page for our new location!