Atheists come to the aid of a young girl who had the courage to speak up.

Hemant Mehta has started a college fund donation drive for Jessica Ahlquist. Kudos to Hemant!

Here is what Hemant had to say about Jessica:

And if you saw Jessica’s speech at the 2011 Secular Student Alliance conference like I did, you’d understand why we need more student activists just like her. Once again, I’m asking for your support. I think we owe it to Jessica to make sure she can go to a wonderful college — one that respects her in a way that many of the people in her high school don’t — without having to worry about tuition.

I spoke with Roy Speckhardt at the American Humanist Association to see if they would consider holding onto the money in a trust fund (as part of the Humanist Foundation of the AHA) and he gave me an enthusiastic “Yes.”

Let’s show Jessica that we appreciate what she’s done and let’s encourage other students to do the same thing



Jessica Ahlquist won her lawsuit against the Cranston school district in Rhode Island.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The high school student who sought the removal of a prayer mural from the auditorium at Cranston High School West has won her suit in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux, in a 40-page ruling issued Wednesday on the lawsuit filed by Jessica Ahlquist's father, Mark Ahlquist, has ordered the "immediate" removal of the prayer mural, although he has given Cranston school officials 10 days to respond.

Throughout the lawsuit Jessica has had to deal with the effects of a community that fought back against her.

For me, the insults and feeling of ostracism began at the very beginning, when I attended my first subcommittee meeting back in November of 2010. One event that stands out in my mind was this one day at school when Mayor Fung came in to give a talk about minorities for “Diversity Week.” At the end of his talk, there was a Q & A in which a student asked for his opinion on the school prayer. He pointed to the prayer and declared in front of hundreds of students that he wanted to see the prayer stay where it was and that it was perfectly legal. Almost everyone in the auditorium stood and applauded him, cheering him on. This was hurtful and extremely upsetting, especially after the mayor had just given a speech about how important acceptance of minorities is. - Jessica Ahlquist interview at a Bright Blog

She has had quite a few physical threats sent her way, people have made sure she knows they want to hurt her.

Throughout all of it she has maintained a strong attitude, and a strong will to get through it because she knows what is right. She has a very sound philosophical footing. She is on the path to greatness, and the online community has gotten together to show her just how awesome we think she is.

Submitted by Sapient on Mon, 2012-01-16 18:17.