Interview with Sikivu Hutchinson – Creator, Women’s Leadership Project

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Sikivu Hutchinson is an American Feminist, Atheist, Author/Novelist and Playwright. Twitter: @sikivuhutch; Website: www.sikivuhutchinson.com; Author: Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars White Nights, Black Paradise.

Here we talk about her achievements and more.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What personal accomplishments make you most proud, as true achievements?

Sikivu Hutchinson: I’m proud of having created the Women’s Leadership Project Black feminist humanist civic engagement and mentoring program for South L.A. girls of color. The initiative started in South L.A. middle schools in 2002 and we branched out to high schools in 2006. Many of our “first in the family” alum have gone on to higher education, careers and activism. My first love has always been fiction writing, and, while I’m proud of all of my books, I’m the most passionate about having written the novel, play and short film White Nights, Black Paradise. WNBP is the first literary portrayal of the African American diasporic experience in Jonestown and Black women’s role in the Peoples Temple movement that preceded it. The WNBP film was my debut as a director and gave me the platform to direct two new plays, Grinning Skull and Narcolepsy, Inc (which I spun off into a web-series).

Jacobsen: Who have been the most outstanding and outspoken secular women in the last decade?

Hutchinson: Maryam Namazie, Mandisa Thomas, Bridgett Crutchfield, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Loretta Ross, Rebecca Watson to name a few.

Jacobsen: What initiatives have worked to include secular women more in the public and institutional spaces of the secular communities and organizations? What ones have been abject failures?

Hutchinson: Over the past decade initiatives spearheaded by Black Skeptics, Black Nonbelievers, the Council of Ex-Muslims, Secular Women, Skepchick’s publication and the Secular Social Justice conferences have all contributed to raising the profile of secular women. BSLA’s annual First in the Family Humanist scholarship and support of the Women’s Leadership Project have also amplified college and high-school aged secular women of color. With respect to “abject failures”: one-off events that aren’t connected to ongoing, sustainable organizations or initiatives are problematic. The secular “movement” is notorious for tokenizing and fetishizing women of color, and even some white women, as flavors of the month then not following through on long terms agendas for anti-racist gender justice.   

Jacobsen: For secular women in the 2010s, what seems like the most significant achievement as a cohort or sub-demographic of the secular community?

Hutchinson: Becoming more politically active, visible and outspoken in local and national public policy issues around reproductive justice, educational justice, voting rights.

Jacobsen: Any recommended annual events, authors, speakers, or organizations?

Hutchinson: BSLA, Black Nonbelievers and WLP have partnered to launch the first Women of Color Beyond Belief conference in October of this year.  Black Nonbelievers also has its annual cruise in November of this year. I will be appearing at the Freeflow Humanist conference in Florida in November. I will also be launching a public education tour of the White Nights, Black Paradise play in San Francisco in spring 2020 at SF’s Museum of the African Diaspora.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Sikivu.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

Do not forget to look into our associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular Alliance, and Centre for Inquiry Canada.

Other Resources: Recovering From Religion.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

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