The Freedom From Religion Foundation is announcing $20,000 in scholarships given to four students, making this its second annual distribution of the Forward Freethought Tuition Relief Scholarships, funded by generous FFRF benefactor Lance Bredvold. This year, the students were selected by Black Skeptics Los Angeles (BSLA), an African-American humanist-atheist community-based organization.
FFRF has previously partnered with BSLA in its annual “first in the family” humanist scholarships for outstanding secular students of color. This year, the tuition relief was doubled to $5,000 per student, thanks to the fund Bredvold has endowed for FFRF.
This year’s winners: Justin Fajar, 17, Dartmouth College (pre-med); Kitty Anne Dubuisson, 18, MCPHS University in Boston (pre-medical and health sciences); India Quick, 17, Fayetteville State University (business major); and Jalyn Williams, 19, Albright College (environmental studies).
“Secular African American youth disproportionately come from religious backgrounds and communities,” says BSLA founder Sikivu Hutchinson. “These youth are often marginalized in K-12 and higher education due to their nonconformity.”
BSLA is the first secular humanist atheist organization to specifically address college pipelining for youth of color through its ongoing scholarship, college and K-12 youth leadership partnerships. FFRF has proudly partnered with BSLA for seven years to provide tuition grants, gradually increasing the funding and number of scholarships.
In the video by Justin Fajar, an aspiring pediatrician, he notes: “Mixing religious beliefs and medicine leads to discrimination and unnecessary deaths” and that “health care [should be] based on facts, not beliefs.”
Kitty Anne Dubuisson’s video notes: “It’s so important to question. Every great discovery started with wonder, someone unwilling to accept the norm. I came to realize that the qualities that would make me a good scientist also made me a terrible believer.”
In Jalyn Williams’ video, she notes that she prefers to work, not pray, for change and wants to offer more “secular opportunities for communities of color” to show that religion is not the only path for improvement for their communities. “I hope freethinking will become a more widely accepted world view in communities of color,” she said.
Both Fajar and Williams took part in a BSLA-hosted Zoom panel discussion on Sept. 26, with Black secular Gen Z youth recipients from the 2016 and 2020 classes of its First in the Family Humanist Scholarship/Freedom From Religion Foundation award.
You may donate to the Forward Freethought Tuition Scholarships (choose “Tuition Scholarships” in the dropdown designation). Donations will help future students and are deductible for income-tax purposes.