2021 Secular Summit Agenda:
11:00: Sign in to Zoom
11:05: Welcome introduction by Secular AZ Board Chair RT Justice
11:10: Introduction and 2022 Vision by Secular AZ Executive Director Jeanne Casteen
11:20: The Growing Influence of Christian Nationalism on Education – remarks by Lindsay Love
11:40: Remarks on Secular Student Alliance – Sami Al-Asady
11:50: Special recognition to former Secular AZ Board Chair Zenaido Quintana
12:00: Lunch Break
12:05: Secular Star Awards with remarks by Rep. Athena Salman, Sen. Juan Mendez, Sen. Rosanna Gabaldon
12:20: Secular Champion Award Presentation – Kevin Hickman, Reason Riders
12:30: Secular AZ Legal Update – Legal Director Dianne Post
12:55: Strategic Priorities – presentation of survey results
1:00: Keynote Speaker Congressman Jamie Raskin
1:30: Religious Refusals Panel – Dr. Atsuko Koyama, Dr. DeShawn Taylor, Professor Elizabeth Sepper
2:00: Closing and Summary
About our Keynote Speaker:
Congressman Jamie Raskin
Congressman Raskin proudly represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes Montgomery, Carroll, and Frederick Counties. Congressman Raskin was sworn into his third Term at the start of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2021.
This is Rep. Raskin’s third term serving on the House Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the Committee on House Administration. This is his second term serving on the Rules Committee and the Coronavirus Select Subcommittee. He was also renamed Chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Chair of the Rules Subcommittee on Expedited Procedures for the 117th Congress.
Prior to his time in Congress, Raskin was a three-term State Senator in Maryland, where he also served as the Senate Majority Whip. He earned a reputation for building coalitions in Annapolis to deliver a series of landmark legislative accomplishments. He was also a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years. He authored several books, including the Washington Post best-seller Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People and the highly-acclaimed We the Students: Supreme Court Cases For and About America’s Students, which has sold more than 50,000 copies.
Congressman Raskin is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
About Our Religious Refusals Panelists:
Dr. Atsuko Koyama
Atsuko Koyama is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine (COM). She received her MD at the University of Arizona COM and her MPH from the University of California at Berkeley. She completed her Adolescent Medicine fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and her Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship at Boston Medical Center. She works at a Valleywise Health Medical Center and a local family planning clinic. Her current research interests include medication abortion provision by emergency medicine physicians and adolescent sexual health in the ER. Her current teaching interests include antiracism medical education, the intersection of medicine and the carceral system, and reproductive justice. She works to improve the care of adolescents within the emergency room as well as across hospital systems and advocates for the well being of children and adolescents.
Dr. DeShawn Taylor
DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG, is a board-certified OB/GYN, clinical professor, women’s health and reproductive rights advocate, and owner of Desert Star Family Planning in Phoenix. While she dreamed of being a brain surgeon as a child, she found her passion for women’s health during medical school.
Dr. Taylor’s goal is to offer fully integrated women’s health and sexual health services, including abortion. Desert Star Family Planning caters to all members of the communities in Phoenix, including men. Patients have access to annual exams, STD testing, birth control, and family planning advice, as well as medical (pill) and surgical abortions. Dr. Taylor and her team also offer services in both English and Spanish.
Desert Star Family Planning wants to remove the stigma from reproductive health with patient-centered well-woman, family planning, and sexual health care. The team offers personalized care, aiming to build lasting relationships with patients and becoming true partners in health. All services are delivered with the utmost respect and confidentiality.
Dr. Taylor received her Bachelor of Science at the University of Southern California (USC). She went on to complete her doctorate of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Medical Education Program. Dr. Taylor served her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the Martin Luther King Jr./Charles Drew Medical Center in Willowbrook, Los Angeles.
Dr. Taylor decided to specialize in family planning and completed rigorous fellowship training at the USC Medical School in Los Angeles. She is currently certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of several professional medical organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Family Planning, and the Abortion Care Network.
Professor Elizabeth Sepper
Professor Elizabeth Sepper is a nationally recognized scholar of religious liberty, health law, and equality. She has written extensively on conscientious refusals to provide reproductive and end-of-life healthcare and on conflicts over religion and insurance coverage. Her recent work focuses on legal theoretical and policy debates related to the antidiscrimination obligations of public accommodations—that is, businesses, social service providers, and membership organizations that are open to the public—under federal, state, and local laws. Professor Sepper’s articles appear in top journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, and Harvard Journal of Gender & Law. Her article, Doctoring Discrimination in the Same-Sex Marriage Debates, on the issue of religious objections to gay rights won multiple awards, including the 2014 Dukeminier Award for best sexuality law scholarship. She is the editor of Law, Religion, and Health in the United States (Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, & Elizabeth Sepper, eds. Cambridge Univ. 2017).
Sepper received her B.A. in History magna cum laude with distinction from Boston University. She received her LL.M. and J.D. magna cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she served as an notes editor of New York University Law Review. Following law school, she clerked for the Hon. Marjorie Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, practiced human rights law with a focus on women’s rights, and was a Center for Reproductive Rights fellow at Columbia Law School. Prior to joining the Texas faculty, she was a professor at Washington University School of Law. During 2018-19, she held the LAPA\Crane Fellowship in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University to work on her book project Sex in Public, which explores the history and contemporary implications of social movements against sex discrimination in public accommodations.
Additional Speaker Bios (in order of appearance):
RT is Board Chair of Secular AZ. He is a 5th generation Arizona native and a 4th generation member of the management team that owns and operates the Justice Brothers Ranch in Waddell, Arizona. He is active in agricultural advocacy, serving as a delegate during policy conferences. R.T. is a graduate of the University of Arizona, with bachelor’s degrees in business management and entrepreneurship. During his studies at the University of Arizona he was an active member of the local Secular Student Alliance affiliate, and served as Events Coordinator from August 2013 to January 2015. A member of Secular AZ’s Board since 2016, he looks to continue serving the Arizona secular community.
Jeanne is Executive Director of Secular AZ. She has a bachelor’s degree in human communication and history from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU and a master’s in education, also from ASU. Jeanne has over 11 years of experience teaching in Maricopa County’s public schools. In 2011, Jeanne completed the Emerge Arizona program and in 2012 became a school board member of the Creighton School District. She served as Board President from 2016 through 2020. In 2020, Ms. Casteen ran for Maricopa County School Superintendent, and came within 12,000 votes of winning. She has been awarded the Arizona School Public Relations Association Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Political Contributions to Education as well as the Arizona School Board Association’s All-Arizona School Board Member Award.
Lindsay Love is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Dedicated to social justice issues, she works closely with teens and adults experiencing trauma, and endeavors to create safe spaces for marginalized voices in her practice TherapyLuv, PLLC. Lindsay is an EMDR and Brainspotting therapist who specializes in racialized trauma, sexual assaults and negative body image.
Lindsay values the diverse stories from within her community as she recognizes the strengths of individuals and groups. Using her positions on the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board and as the ASBA Black Alliance President, Lindsay has prioritized mental health, equity with an anti-racism lens, and LGBTQIA+ protections.
As a true social worker, Lindsay is dedicated to dismantling systems of oppression that maintain power over oppressed groups. Disrupt!
Sami a Board Member of Secular AZ, a first-generation college student and a child of war refugees from Bosnia and Iraq. He realized that religious faith can be used for violence. As such, he studies political science to one day emerge as a leader in foreign and domestic politics. Outside the classroom, he is an activist fighting for the civil liberties of marginalized communities in the United States, especially secular and LGBTQ+ communities. At the state and federal levels, he campaigned for State Representative Judy Schweiebert and interned for Congressman Ruben Gallego. He is a member of American Atheists, the Secular Student Alliance, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. His goal is to transform public perception of secularism and uphold the Constitutional separation of church and state.
Alessandra Navidad is the President and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League and the former director of ACLU Arizona.
Zenaido is co-founder of Secular AZ and led the organization for more than a decade. He serves on the boards of Americans United for Separation of Church and State − Greater Phoenix Chapter, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, and is a member of the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix.
A long-time political and civil liberties activist and leader, Zenaido has frequently spoken on the importance of keeping religion out of government, including statements before the Arizona state legislature and numerous presentations before organizations and community groups. Zenaido is a retired corporate executive and a small business owner in Phoenix.
Representative Athena Salman
Athena was born in Arizona to a diverse working family who operate a small family business. She attended AZ public schools with educators who cared deeply about their students and earned degrees in Economics and Political Science from Arizona State University, where she began her career in community organizing and advocating for the public interest.
Athena now serves LD26 in the Arizona House of Representatives where she routinely takes powerful institutions head on in order to protect the rights that serve as the foundation of our dignity and humanity. Her advocacy as a public servant has led to numerous acclamations, including the City of Tempe’s MLK Diversity Award and Arizona Republic’s Top Ten Newsmakers to Watch.
Senator Juan Mendez
Juan Mendez is a first generation Chicano and a native Arizonan. Having lived across Maricopa County he attended the public school Tolleson Union High School, received his associate degree from Phoenix College, a local community college, then graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Justice Studies from Arizona State University’s Main Tempe Campus.
Juan’s passion for politics and social justice is reflected in his commitment to building strong communities. Juan first started serving on the City of Phoenix Human Services Advisory Committee working with fellow community leaders to recommend improvements to local senior and family service centers and programs for the homeless. He then went on to manage the nonprofit Community Voice Mail, where he connected thousands of people living in poverty, transition and homelessness to jobs, housing, information and hope. Juan then served on the Tempe Community Council, as a planner, advocate and resource to improve the funding and policies affecting human services in Tempe and the surrounding communities. Outside of the legislature Juan served as a substitute teacher for Tempe and Mesa public High Schools.
Elected to the State House of Representatives in 2012 and now as a State Senator, Juan represents district 26 which includes north Tempe, northwest Mesa, the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and parts of south Phoenix. He sits on the Transportation and Government Committees and is also elected chair for the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus.
Juan is not only a lifelong member of the Arizona Democratic Party but has worked for years to contribute to our state and local Democratic Party. He has held various offices and positions as an elected Precinct and State Committee Member, Chair of the Resolutions Committee on the state level, President of the ASU Young Democrats, Treasurer and Secretary at the district level, and as a Field Organizer helping to turn out Democratic voters and elect progressive Democrats.
Senator Rosanna Gabaldon
Rosanna served as an Arizona State Representative from 2013 to 2021. She was elected to serve at the State Senate for Legislative District 2 in 2020.
She is known for her work with the local stakeholders, school boards, and business partners to bring together successful opportunities for growth and education. She is most proud of her participation in programs that involve working with children. Rosanna believes in creating opportunities and prosperity by supporting and encouraging public education and economic development efforts.
Reason Riders Atheist Motorcycle Association
The Reason Riders were formed from a uniting of those who choose to act with thoughtful and specific purpose. Reason Riders ignore the pressures of religions and politics and act in the purest forms of charity. The love of the motorcycle community and the respect for the traditions therein bring the Riders together in a structure that is time-honored.
The Reason Riders are not purely atheist, some prefer to be called agnostic, spiritual without formal religious practices, or free from religion. We come from many different backgrounds and varied upbringings. Our love of motorcycles brings us together and our diversity brings us strength.
Dianne is Secular AZ’s Legal Director and a Board Member at Large. She received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1979. She was a family lawyer in Arizona for 18 years, representing mostly battered women and abused children, before beginning a career in international law primarily doing gender-based violence work. On the international level she has worked for the U.S., O.S.C.E., and the U.N. in Russia, Mongolia, Algeria, Cambodia, Kenya and other places. She coordinated the group in Russia that drafted the first trafficking law and worked with the former head of the Constitutional Court in Kenya to create a manual to train prosecutors to prosecute cases of sexual violence against children.