Robert Affinis (Peoples) is the founder and chair of Affinis Humanity Coalition (AHC); a nonprofit organization that normalizes Humanism one narrative at a time. He is a New Jersey native and currently resides in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to establishing the AHC, Robert operated a successful secular apparel line; making it to the semi-finals of “Phoenix Raw: natural born artists” fashion show. In the greater Phoenix area. He also operated as a contract policy writer for the Department of Economic Security (DES), and functioned as a corporate Diversity and Inclusion trainer for one of the largest behavioral health companies in Arizona.
Through photography, video campaigns, and school presentations, Robert has reached national and international communities to bring awareness of the benefits of Humanism. He also currently serves on the board for the Secular Coalition for Arizona.
Brandi Alexander is the National Director of Constituency for Compassion & Choices, and she has been with the organization for more than 10 years. Her dedication to educating people about having autonomy over all aspects of life, including at the end of life, has been a driving force in her career. At Compassion & Choices, she is responsible for outreach to physician, African American, faith, and LGBTQ communities. Brandi previously served as the coalition director for the Yes! On Colorado End of Life Options voter initiative campaign in 2016, which passed with more than 65 percent of the vote. She has worked on campaigns all over the nation to advance the end-of-life choice movement, including in Colorado, Vermont, Montana, and Washington, D.C., where medical aid in dying is authorized.
Brandi graduated from Middlebury College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in French and women’s studies. She holds certificates in the Fundamentals in Gerontology and Health and Wellness in an Aging Society, through a joint program offered by the American Society on Aging and the USC Davis School of Gerontology. She has completed several Wellstone Advocacy Training units, including Direct Mail & Voter Guides, Endorsements & Outreach, and Direct Voter Contact. She also has completed the Management Center’s People of Color & Indigenous Cohorts training.
Bridgett “Bria” Crutchfield was baptized and raised in the Jehovah’s Witness faith, from which she was later disfellowshipped. In 2006 she came out as an atheist, in 2011 she founded Minority Atheists of Michigan, and in 2013 she established the Detroit affiliate of Black Nonbelievers. In 2016 she spearheaded the initiative, Operation: Water For Flint via GoFundMe and raised $7k. Bria has 4 grandchildren, affectionately known as “Suga Babies” and is in a long term relationship with her partner, Kimberlee.
Bria also serves on the board for Black Nonbelievers, and has presented at the organization’s 5th Anniversary celebration in 2018, the 2017 BN Convention at Sea, and the 2018 Secular Women Work conference. She is also one of the key organizers for the Women of Color Beyond Belief conference that debuted in 2019.
Bria has a mouth as big as her heart, hates respectability politics, and will boldly tell you to kiss her where the sun doesn’t shine.
Candace R. M. Gorham MA, LPCS is a licensed professional mental health counselor. She is a former ordained minister turned atheist-humanist activist, researcher, and writer on issues related to race and religion. She is a member of the Black Humanist Alliance advisory board, The Secular Therapist Project, and The Clergy Project.
Candace is the author of “The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking Out on Religion—and Others Should Too.” She was also one of the “Five Fierce Humanists” featured on the cover of the July/August 2018 issue of The Humanist magazine, has been an enthusiastic and frequent presenter at BN events, including the 5th Anniversary celebration in 2016, and the Women of Color Beyond Belief conference in 2019.
Kalen Lang is a recently retired Newark, New Jersey native who now resides in Knoxville, TN. Most of his professional career was spent in IT, however much of his advocacy revolved around teaching something and /or doing something creative.
In the mid 90’s, Kalen developed a passion for Latin music and dance. Since then, he has spent about ten years teaching NY style salsa at his local YMCA, and as a rec teacher in the Newark, NJ public school system. In his own words, “My passion for partner dancing also extends to various styles of R&B music. If music is playing and I can’t take my partners hand and dance with them – why bother?”
Khryshondrai (Drai) Salmon is a first-generation American born to Afro-Caribbean immigrants who is the first in her family to attend college. A proud Spelman sister, she majors in English and minors in Political science, with a goal of being a civil rights attorney. After completing her law degree, she wants to focus her knowledge on fighting social injustice for all people. LGBTQ+ equality, women’s rights, prison reform, and the rights of minority and immigrant populations are all very important in her journey. “I will not rest until I have made a real difference in the lives of others,” she says.
Drai describes herself as a freethinker that does not subscribe to any religious doctrine. She believes that religion is and has always been a tool to keep human beings from being able to realize our true potential.
Drai has previously held leadership positions in her school’s Human Rights commission, the LGBTQ+ rights society, and several groups representing minorities on campus. She volunteered for the “Right to Vote” campaign, canvasing door-to-door to encourage college students to register to vote. She also led a community lobby group that held a sit-in near the local government office to protest for the right for citizens to vote without being intimidated at poll booths and fight against gerrymandering. Drai is a recipient of the 2019 Secular Student Alliance’s Student Activist Scholarship, and plans to start an SSA chapter at Spelman College this year.
Mandisa Thomas, a native of New York City, is the founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism, and Islam. As a child she loved reading, and enjoyed various tales of Gods from different cultures, including Greek and Ghanaian. “Through reading these stories and being taught about other cultures at an early age, I quickly noticed that there were similarities and differences between those deities and the God of the Christian Bible. I couldn’t help but wonder what made this God so special that he warrants such prevalence in today’s society,” she recalls.
Mandisa has a number of media appearances to her credit, including CBS Sunday Morning, CNN.com, and Playboy, The Humanist, and JET magazines. She has been a guest on podcasts such as The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. Mandisa currently serves on the Board for American Atheists and previously for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America. She also is an active speaker, and has presented at conferences/conventions for Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, and many others.
In 2019, Mandisa was the recipient of the Secular Student Alliance’s Backbone Award, and was also named the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Freethought Heroine. She was also the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association’s 2018 Person of the Year.
As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa encourages more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones. “The more we make our presence known, the better our chances of working together to turn around some of the disparities we face. We are NOT alone.”