Third annual Freedom from Religion Foundation award of $10,000 to Black Skeptics Los Angeles’ First in the Family College Scholarship Fund for outstanding secular youth of color

Black Skeptics Los Angeles (BSLA), an African American atheist community-based organization, has partnered with the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) for its 2017 scholarship fund for youth non-believers of color.  For the third year in a row, FFRF has granted the organization $10,000 for four awards to outstanding secular students of color from its Catherine Fahringer Memorial Scholarship fund. This year’s winners are Dia Brown (University of Vermont), Lydia Mason (New York University), Sydney Steward (University of Pennsylvania), and Elijah Willig (Middlebury College).  Each recipient will receive $2500 apiece to support their college education and expenses.  According to BSLA founder Sikivu Hutchinson, “Secular African American youth disproportionately come from religious backgrounds and communities.  These youth are often marginalized in K12 and higher education due to their non-conformity.  This scholarship program provides a platform for their voices and experiences.”

In 2013, BSLA spearheaded its First in the Family Humanist Scholarship initiative which focuses on undocumented, foster care, homeless, LGBTQI, system-involved and secular youth who are underrepresented in the college population. The organization was created to provide resources for non-believers of color and combat stereotypes about atheists not being socially responsible.  Responding directly to the school-to-prison pipeline crisis in communities of color, BSLA is the first atheist organization to specifically address college pipelining for youth of color. If current prison pipelining trends persist the Education Trust estimates that only “one of every 20 African American kindergartners will graduate from a four-year California university” in the next decade.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation is a nonprofit organization that “works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.”  The FFRF sponsors publications and competitions and conducts outreach and education on secularism worldwide. 


About us: Black Skeptics Los Angeles is a 501c3 community-based organization that provides resources and education for non-believers, humanists and secularists of color

Contact: Steve Kelley, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 323-304-9578

Los Angeles, CA 90043

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