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California Freethought Day


The following details are being updated from our prior year and will likely be changed.

This year's speakers, our emcee, and other recognized individuals are shown below. But don't forget about this year's Authors and Podcasters and Entertainers.

Dr. Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Political Scientist

Juhem Navarro-RiveraJuhem is the Political Director and Managing Partner at Socioanalítica Research. He is a leading scholar in the study of secularism, race, and politics in the United States and Latin America and the author or coauthor of countless articles, chapters, and reports on secular demographics and politics and on Latinx political behavior.

He holds degrees in political science from the University of Puerto Río Piedras (BA) and the University of Connecticut (M.A./PhD).

You can follow him on Twitter @JuhemNR and @Socioanalitica.

Sean Omar Rivera, Grassroots Political Organizer

Sean Omar Rivera

Sean has been a secular activist and organizer for ten years, when, at 14 years old, he was introduced to the Secular Student Alliance. He went on to become the President of the SSA at the University of Texas at San Antonio, a multi-time speaker at secular conferences around the nation (and one conference at-sea), and a founding member of the SSA National Leadership Council.

His work branched into intersectional activism, campaign organizing, and eventually a role as the Field Director of a progressive youth voter registration non-profit, where he supervised the registration of almost 60,000 young voters across seven major cities.

He now works as a city council aide and spends his free time in San Antonio with his partner, his two-year-old Calina, and a mound of Star Trek memorabilia.


Kavin Senapathy, Journalist

Kavin SenapathyKavin is a writer and journalist covering science, health, food, and parenting at outlets like SELF Magazine, Slate, The Daily Beast, Forbes, SciShow, Undark Magazine, and more. She’s also co-founder and contributing editor at

She's based in the midwestern United States (ope!) where she is currently quarantine co-parenting a 4th grader, a 2nd grader, a puggle, and an Italian Greyhuahua.

Find her on Twitter @ksenapathy.

Award Winners

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)

Zoe LofgrenA member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, Zoe represents Santa Clara County including San Jose and the "Silicon Valley".

While serving on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and the Committee on House Administration, Zoe has championed immigration reform including the 2010 DREAM Act. She is also known for her work on patent reform, copyright issues, digital rights, and the support of net neutrality.

Arlene Ríos

Arlene RíosArlene, who founded the Fresno Latino Atheists – helped normalize non-religion despite centuries of tradition from Mexican and Latinx homes. We also recognize her for her service in the US Navy.

Evan Clark

Evan ClarkEvan’s work has been inspirational and untiring. For starting a chapter of the Secular Student Alliance on his campus at Cal Lutheran and later becoming the board chair of the nationwide Secular Student Alliance, for hosting an outstanding podcast, for co-founding the Humanist Community of Ventura County, and now for serving as the Executive Director of Atheists United, we are proud to give you our Community award.

Follow Evan on Twitter @evansaysblah.

Essay Winners

Merit Onyekwere

From over fifty entries, Merit is the winner of this year's $1,000 scholarship essay contest.

From Bear Creek High School, in Stockton, Merit has been involved in student government since her freshman year. She chairs her school's AVID club that has been helping students and their parents participate in this year's election.

Jaxson Davis

Jaxson is the winner of the Robert Nickelson "Good Without God" scholarship.

The winners will be reading their essays at our event.