It is just barely three months until Reason Rally 2016 on June 4th. So now is the time to start making plans to attend. And if you have any leanings whatsoever towards nonbelief or a commitment to critical thinking, this is an event not to be missed.
I was at the first Reason Rally four years ago, and it was an absolutely thrilling experience. Approximately 20,000 nonbelievers descended on Washington, DC in a show of solidarity never before seen in this nation so badly afflicted with religiosity. And it was glorious. Despite the chilly, rainy miserable weather, the crowd was larger than anticipated and the enthusiasm was quite palpable.
One of my fondest memories of that day was walking out of the hotel several hours before the Rally wanting to see a little bit of the sights, since I had never been to DC before. I was wearing one of my “scarlet letter” T-shirts. I hadn’t gone more than half a block, and as I was passing an outdoor cafe, I heard a woman’s voice yell out “Hey, I love your shirt!” It was at that moment that I knew it was going to be a special weekend.
The memories of that weekend are kind of a jumble, but kind of vivid, too. I remember meeting a man and his high school senior daughter from Utah and talking to them about college student groups and directing them to the sponsor tent to talk to the CFI-OnCampus people about starting a campus group if there wasn’t already one. I remember seeing people of all sizes, shapes and ages, some wearing outrageous costumes, some (like me) dressed much more sedately, some carrying very provocative signs.
I remember seeing and hearing Tim Minchin for the very first time. I had never even heard of him and he was up on stage putting on an amazing performance. And many in the audience were chanting the words to “Storm” right along with him, and I thought “I gotta find out more about this guy.” And as soon as I got back to my computer, I did. I’m still amazed by this tremendous talent.
I remember seeing James Randi in the lobby of our hotel and Rebecca S. being so ecstatic that she had the chance to actually meet him and shake hands. I remember late in the day being cold and tired and hungry and walking the eight or nine blocks back to the hotel, and being somewhat dazed by the whirlwind of speakers and performers. It was an experience that I shall never forget.
So to help facilitate anyone who wants to attend this year’s Rally, CFI-Pittsburgh is planning to act as a clearinghouse of sorts to help co-ordinate ride sharing to DC. There is, of course, a bus for those who just want to go to the event and turn around and come back home, but for those who want to attend some of the pre- and post- parties, or participate in the lobbying efforts on Thursday and/or Friday, traveling by car is the best way.
If you are planning to go to the Rally and need a ride, or have an extra seat or two, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: what area you are located and would like to leave from, what day(s) you are planning to stay, where you are planning to stay, how many seats you need or conversely, how many seats you have available. Hopefully, we can again have good representation from the Pittsburgh secular community.