Netroots Nation Conference Connects Protect Thy Neighbor With Social Justice Activists Nationwide

Image courtesy of Erin Hagen

Image courtesy of Erin Hagen

This past weekend I attended the 2016 Netroots Nation Conference as a representative from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Netroots is a space for progressive activists and organizers from all around the country to learn from each other, build each other up, and maximize the reach of their movements with technology.

The focus of Netroots 2016 was racial justice, and conference-goers engaged in many conversations about how we can grow a movement that provides liberation for all; a movement that rebukes racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination. It was empowering to be in conversation with organizers from all over the country, and to share how the work we do at AU addresses issues of injustice and freedom.

The first half of this year has been filled with challenges; from religious refusals and other discriminatory legislation that AU fought to the U.S. Supreme Court’s punting of Zubik v. Burwell down to the lower courts, leaving the students we represented at religiously affiliated universities and many other women to wait at least one more year before knowing whether they will have access to contraceptive healthcare. Despite these challenges, we also saw many church-state separation victories, and I am thankful to work among such impassioned people fighting to protect the LGBTQ community, women, and people of all belief systems from religiously motivated discrimation.

When AU launched Protect Thy Neighbor, we reinvigorated our commitment to fight religious discrimination and discrimination justified by religion. Netroots 2016 has provided us with new digital platforms and strategies to explore as we grow our campaign such as: social listening, story-sharing technology, and grassroots analytics. I am excited to test out new ways to connect with people as we continue to involve more faith leaders, young leaders, and people directly affected by church-state separation violations.

We at Americans United do this work because we are deeply committed to fighting against injustice, but we cannot do it alone. Please join us as we fight to protect people all over this country who are being discriminated against. You can let us know that you are with us by signing our Protect Thy Neighbor Pledge.

Follow Erin Hagen online at @erinchagen