In the Spirit: 'Atheist Pride Parade,' perhaps the first in the country, hits State Street Saturday

2013-03-07T14:00:00Z In the Spirit: 'Atheist Pride Parade,' perhaps the first in the country, hits State Street SaturdayDOUG ERICKSON | Wisconsin State Journal | derickson@madison.com | 608-252-6149 madison.com

Godless UW-Madison students and others will march up State Street to the state Capitol Saturday in what organizers are calling an "Atheist Pride Parade."

Hundreds are expected to take part, said Chris Calvey, executive director of Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics, the UW-Madison student organization sponsoring the event. He thinks it could be the first event of its kind in the country. He has yet to find any mention of others through Internet searches.

The parade will begin at the base of State Street about 3 p.m. "We'll be hard to miss," promises Calvey. The parade will end with a rally at the Capitol.

The goal is to improve the public perception of atheism, Calvey said. “We aren't interested in attacking anyone; rather, the parade is a celebration of our own identity. We want to show that atheists come from all walks of life, and that we are nothing to be afraid of.”

The pride parade coincides with the student group’s second annual “Freethought Festival.” The festival runs Friday through Sunday in the Lowell Center on the UW-Madison campus. Funded by a $12,600 grant from the university, the event is free and open to the public. The conference is comprised of three sessions, each featuring several speakers presenting talks on a similar theme.

For information on the Freethought Festival, go here.

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