With the help from Metroplex Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance, Secular Students at Collin College was able to take nine of our members to the Reason Rally in Washington, DC.  Although we had to scramble to arrange transportation as the Rally Bus was canceled only a week before, we teamed up with local off-campus organizations to rent vans and make the trip.  We took two passenger vans and split our members between them.

The trek from Dallas to DC was an event in and of itself.  We left at dawn on Friday to cover 1,326 miles—21 and a half hours of straight driving with nine other people we would get to know *very* well.  The vans got separated nearly immediately, but our experiences still were similar.  We drove through Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia.  We got to go through cities like Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville.  Tennessee is an incredibly long state, as it turns out, and can produce some mean storms and extremely thick fog.   After gingerly driving through, we managed to survive and make it all the way to DC just as the Rally was starting.

Even though the weather didn’t fully cooperate, it was still an amazing event to be at.  Seeing so many of the biggest names in the movement—live!—was incredible.  Tim Minchin and Eddie Izzard were hilarious.  Nate Phelps was moving.  Adam Savage was inspiring.  Jessica Ahlquist was young!  And then there was the massive tent behind the crowd.  We got so much free stuff!  (The Secular Student Alliance bags were the best, of course).  It was awesome getting to see the big speakers work their tables in between speeches.  There was nothing quite like seeing Michael Shermer and Dan Barker just chill out within 50 feet of each other.

The funding that the Secular Student Alliance provided made it possible to bring two more members with us.  Everyone’s lives were changed after going to the Rally.  We all felt empowered that we could make a real difference in the movement and the rest of the world. We truly got the message that is our duty to help dispel the negative stereotypes about people without religion.  One of our members even found the courage to come out as an atheist to his family once he got home.

The trip also got us very close (both literally and figuratively) with the off-campus groups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.    DFW is large, and our groups don’t cross paths often.  However, by teaming up and getting a large Texas presence to the Rally, we created relationships that will benefit both the students and the non-students in the future.

After a long and very wet day, we crawled into our vans and set off for home—another 1,326 miles and 21 and a half hours away.  Although two thirds of our three day weekend was spent in a van (and a member lost her phone AND got food poisoning), the trip was well worth it.  We left DC empowered, inspired, wet, and with a bunch of new friends with plans to travel to more secular events.  After all, if a bunch of heathens from Dallas can conquer DC, what in the world can stop us?


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