Updated: Jan 31
On Saturday, January 23rd the ACL hosted our 4th annual meeting virtually, on Zoom. The annual meeting is a time when members of the ACL and the local community can reflect on the previous year and look ahead to the next. Members get to meet with each other, vote on important issues, celebrate volunteers and partners, and hear from amazing guest speakers.
This year former American Atheist Texas State Director Vicki Gettman gave the opening words, praising our group for our outreach projects and congratulating us on the significant progress we have made over 4 years, as well as for being awarded the 2020 Affiliate of the year award by American Atheist!
Members were delighted to get to hear from Seth Andrews and Matt Dillahunty, both of whom led wonderful discussions. Seth Andrews reflected on the difficulty of unity in these unprecedented times, while also emphasizing it's importance. Matt Dillahunty spoke about community and why it's important for us to go beyond activism to meet more of our community's needs and to reach out to other sister organizations to learn from one another's efforts.
Tracey Benefield, the ACL's Executive Director, recapped all of the accomplishments the organization has had over the last year, from the homeless outreach projects, to authoring the religious disparities report, and serving the community with our assistance programs. She also spoke on future projects and goals for the organization, focusing on increasing paid memberships and funding, as well as diversifying our programing. ACL is introducing yearly memberships with special perks to help with funding their programs and to increase overall engagement. ACL will also be looking to diversifying our programming so we can meet the needs of our community in a variety of different ways.
The highlight of the night was getting to celebrate the partnerships and volunteers who make all of ACL's work possible. Each year we recognize an partner organization in Lubbock who has contributed significantly to improving the Lubbock community for the better. This year ACL recognized Lubbock Activist Striving to End Racisim, or L.A.S.E.R., as their Partner of the Year. L.A.S.E.R was formed in early 2020 around the Black Lives Matter protests following the unjust death of George Floyd. From the beginning L.A.S.E.R welcomed ACL's involvement and we were honored to be part of a call for change. L.A.S.E.R's work in trying to bring attention to the issues which perpetuate disparity in our community has been invaluable to Lubbock. We are so thankful to get to recognize their important work.
ACL introduced a new award this year, the Ally of the year award. This award recognizes an organization who has helped the Atheist Community of Lubbock reach new members, educate the public on our mission, or helped contribute in some way to our mission. This year the ACL recognized Lubbock Compact as our Ally of the Year. Lubbock Compact has been tirelessly working to educate the public on how systemic injustice is ingrained in the institutions of our community. They have continuously worked to move people in Lubbock to take action and to address and change these systemic issues. One of the ways they have addressed these issues is through publishing the Disparity Report. The Disparity Report outlines issues in our community that contribute to injustice, and it offers solutions. The ACL was fortunate enough to be able to author the "Religious Disparities" section of the report. This effort has allowed ACL to shed light on those individuals' stories and experiences who have to live in a heavily conservative Christian culture. We are so thankful for the support and partnership of Lubbock Compact, and this is why we feel they more than deserve our Ally of the Year award.
ACL also recognized their Volunteer of the Year, Kaylie Durrant. Kaylie has been a spectacular volunteer, helping with nearly every project the ACL has produced over the last year. ACL was introduced to Kaylie in 2019 when she came out to volunteer for the ACL's Homeless Outreach Project on her own birthday. Since then, Kaylie has been an indispensable part of the team and is even joining our board of directors this year!
It was a spectacular event, and we can not wait to get to work! Next year's annual meeting will be even more fun!
If you would like to watch the full video recording of the meeting you can do so below. If you would like to read more about the Disparity Report you can do so by clicking this link: https://lubbockcompact.com/