News & Blog

American Atheists to Convene in Philadelphia and Pack 24,000 Meals for Locals in Need on Easter Sunday

Philadelphia, PA – Hundreds of atheists and nonreligious people from all over the United States will convene at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel this weekend for the annual convention of American Atheists. The civil rights organization, now in its 60th year, works to protect religious freedom and the separation of religion from government and advocates for the representation and inclusion of the 28% of Americans who identify as religiously unaffiliated.

Nick Fish, Philadelphia resident and President of American Atheists, said, “I am so excited we’re hosting our 2024 convention right in the heart of Center City. This is the birthplace of America, and religious freedom was so central to that founding. Our most recent State of the Secular States report found Pennsylvania has strong constitutional and nondiscrimination protections in place, but no state is immune to the dangerous rise of Christian nationalism. Attendees will learn a lot about the work we’re doing to fight back and save our democracy.” 

This year’s convention boasts a diverse speaker line-up of activists, academics, and authors discussing timely topics ranging from immigration and abortion access to public education policy and recovering from religious abuse. Presenters include the hosts of popular podcasts Unreasonable, The Burning Eden, and The Plain People’s Podcast, as well as writers Kate Cohen, a Washington Post contributing columnist and author of We Of Little Faith, Sarah Stankorb, best-selling author of Disobedient Women, and award-winning science journalist and author of the forthcoming book The Progressive Parent, Kavin Senapathy

Other events include a charity pub quiz, a cabaret show, and an Awards Dinner with featured speaker Ellery Schempp, the primary student involved in the landmark 1963 United States Supreme Court decision of Abington School District v. Schempp, which declared that mandatory Bible readings in public schools were unconstitutional. American Atheists’ founder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, was the plaintiff in the related and eventually consolidated case, Murray v. Curlett. Also in attendance will be the legal team behind American Atheists’ recent victory in a West Virginia religious coercion lawsuit.  

The convention culminates with American Atheists’ annual “Two Hands Working” service project on Easter Sunday. In partnership with The Outreach Program, the organization’s staff and volunteers will pack 24,000 meals for Philadelphians in need. The tradition is an homage to founder O’Hair’s quote that “two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.” 

“This project is always one of the highlights of our conventions. I think a lot of us are pretty tired of hearing politicians offer thoughts and prayers, and this is an opportunity for our community to give something tangible and meaningful back to the community that is hosting us,” said Debbie Goddard, Philadelphia resident and Vice President of Programs at American Atheists. “Although we’ve made enormous strides in the last six decades, there is still a persistent misconception that nonreligious people are immoral people. It’s not true. We do so much good, and we don’t expect anything in return.” 

The American Atheists convention will take place March 28-31. Locals are welcome to attend the convention at a discounted general admission rate of $99. The “Two Hands Working” Service Project will occur on Easter Sunday from 1:30-4 and is open to volunteers. Members of the press are invited to attend the convention with a free media pass.  

For additional information, including a full schedule of speakers and special events, please visit the American Atheists convention website at

For press passes and media inquiries, please contact Melina Cohen, Communications Director, at [email protected].