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24th National Convention


Saturday evening, June 13, 2020 was the occasion for the American Atheists Awards banquet where we recognize the work out outstanding members and supporters who labor for Atheism and the separation of church and state.

Ellen Johnson, the President of American Atheists, was recognized for her role of stepping into the key leadership role of the organization. Frank Zindler, editor of the American Atheist Magazine and Dick Hogan, Texas State Director opened the evening by presenting an appreciatory gift from members of the Board. Ms. Johnson was praised for her considerable work on behalf of American Atheists and "reinventing" the organization, putting it on the road to becoming a credible civil rights movement.

Ms. Johnson recognized the work of many members, including Margie Wait, Spike Tyson, Ron Barrier, Bob Zauner, Chris Prokop, Ann Zindler, Frank Zindler, and Joe Zamecki. Tony Pasquerello and Neal Cary were singled out for their work. Speakers, including Mr. Steve McFarland, Rich Andrews, Dr. William Provine, Dr. Marci Hamilton, Dr. Rita Swan were thanked for making the 24th National Convention a resounding success.

Ms. Johnson then recognized the efforts of individual members who had made outstanding contributions to the organization.

Randall Gorman of Texas received the OUTSTANDING MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARD for his work in defending state-church separation and speaking out on behalf of Atheist civil rights. Mr. Gorman serves as webmaster for the Texas American Atheists office site on the world wide web.

The LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was presented to Henry Schmuck, who has been involved with the American Atheists since 1975; Henry was also one of the "Chicago '47" who picked the pope in 1979, and has served on the Board of Directors. "He is 'family'."

DR. William Provine received the ADVANCEMENT OF ATHEISM IN ACADEMICS AWARD for his outstanding contributions in the academy.

Neal Cary, the National Outreach Director, then cited the work of the 15 State and Regional Directors in promoting Atheism and representing the organization throughout the country. He echoed the organization's goal of building a presence in all fifty states by the end of next year.

Mr. Cary then presented Dave Silverman, State Director for New Jersey, with the ATHEIST DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD, citing his work on the internet, editorials in newspapers, and constant work in opposing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Ms. Johnson then presented Ann Zindler, Associated Editor for American Atheists Press, with a 1998 Certificate of Recognition for her contributions to the organization.

Jim Senyszyn of North Carolina was recognized as ATHEIST ACTIVIST OF THE YEAR for his tireless activism in that state. Mr. Senyszyn led the organization's successful effort to stop the display of a Ten Commandments plaque in the Government Center in his community of Charlotte.

The DEFENDING THE WALL AWARD for outstanding work on behalf of state-church separation was presented to Dave Kong, California State Director. Dave has worked to have the City of San Francisco take down the infamous Mt. Davidson cross, which sits n the middle of a public park. Kong is also protesting the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts organization, and is working to defeat the California Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Dick Hogan, Texas State Director for American Atheists, was presented with an HONORABLE SERVICE AWARD for his work in challenging unconstitutional practices, and helping with business aspects our day-to-day operations.

Margie Wait, Internet Representative for American Atheists, was again recognized for her work on behalf of the organization. Margie is also the aachat coordinator, head of our FaxNet and a member of the Board of Directors. She received the 1998 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD.

Ms. Johnson then recognized the considerable work of Jim Heldberg, our new National Affiliation Director. Jim also works closely with other California atheists, Jim received a DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD.

John Massina was cited for his role as a co-plaintiff in our suit to remove the Mt. Davidson cross. He received a CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION AWARD.

Wayne Aiken was his cited for his efforts as State Director in North Carolina and other areas. Wayne received a DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD.

Ed Gauci was singled out for his extensive contributions as web master for American Atheists; he was recognized as the 1998 AMERICAN ATHEISTS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR. Mr. Gauci's considerable technical expertise has done so much to improve our internet operation.

Jerald Laskey of Ohio was cited for his work on behalf of state-church separation; recently, he organized a demonstration against a local March for Jesus. Mr. Laskey received the 1998 FREEDOM OF SPEECH AWARD.

The 1998 NATIONAL OUTREACH AWARD was presented to Ronald Barrier, who since 1996 has served as our National Media Spokesperson. Ron also co-produces the Atheist Viewpoint cable TV program, and was a participant in our recent meeting with members of the White House staff.

The ATHEIST OF THE YEAR AWARD was presented to Frank Zindler, editor of The American Atheist magazine and a long-time activist. Mr. Zindler has been a member of the organization for over twenty years, and is the author of numerous books and articles dealing with philosophy, Biblical history and politics.

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