Despite rain and cold, an estimated 20,0000 atheists came to the Washington Mall on March 24 for the biggest ever “coming out party” for non-religious Americans. Organized by one of the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s newest member organizations, American Atheists, the rally was also supported by many other IHEU members including the American Humanist Association, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.
The official aim of the Reason Rally was to “unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by so much of American society.” The day-long event included speeches and performances by Richard Dawkins, James Randi, Eddie Izzard and Tim Minchin.
While there is no official count for the crowd size, estimates ranged from 8,000 to 26,000, with organizers saying it was in the region of 20,000. The last time a secular rally was held on the Washington Mall, the Godless Americans March on Washington in 2002, between 2,000 and 3,000 people took part.
Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, said “We’ll look back at the Reason Rally as one of the game-changing events when people started to look at atheism and look at atheists in a different light.”