About this project
Introducing The Orbit
The Orbit is a diverse collective of atheist and nonreligious bloggers committed to social justice, within and outside the secular community. We provide a platform for writing, discussion, activism, collaboration, and community.
What social justice means to us
We aim to contribute to a more just and equitable world for all people, free of disadvantage on the basis of gender, gender identity, race, age, economic or other social class, sexuality, physical ability or mental illness, geography, nationality, immigration status, and other forms of marginalization and systemic oppression. Our site is feminist and progressive. We know black lives matter and that no one is illegal, we know trans women are women and that sex work is work, and we support a socially conscious atheist movement.
As atheists, we believe criticism of religion must fall within this framework. While bloggers' views differ, our shared belief is that we can criticize systems and social structures in which others participate without practicing bigotry, and that these include religious structures. We recognize that all of us are likely to perpetuate some forms of prejudice, and are committed to listening when criticized, as we ask the movements we criticize, our own among them, to listen to us. Finally, we believe atheists have an essential part to play in progressive culture, and that social justice needs us as much as we need it.
Who we are
Our site is currently home to over twenty bloggers. We're the first atheist media site founded explicitly to work on all forms of social justice, and when we're not writing about religion or activism, we blog on politics, food, film, gaming, and geek culture. In other words, whatever we like. Our members come from all over the blogosphere, and our work's been published in all kinds of places, from Salon to Scientific American, xoJane to The Atlantic and The Times. You might have heard of some of us, but we hope you also find new voices here that deserve to be amplified.
Contributors are cis and trans, male, female, and nonbinary, queer and straight, kinky and polyamorous, asexual and active in the adult industry. We're boomers, Gen X-ers, millennials, black, white, hispanic, desi, Jewish, Romani, migrants and children of migrants, mentally ill and physically impaired, socially and economically marginal. Some of us were brought up in religious communities—Christian, Jewish, Muslim—while others weren't, and some of us feel opposed to religion, while some don't. There are more ways to be an atheist than the headlines suggest, and we think it's high time our atheism got noticed.
Bloggers at The Orbit include Alex Gabriel, Alix Jules, Alyssa Gonzalez, Ani, Ania Bula, Aoife O'Riordan, Ashley F. Miller, Benny Vimes, Brianne Bilyeu, Chris Hall, D. Frederick Sparks, Dana Hunter, Dori Mooneyham, Greta Christina, Heina Dadabhoy, Jason Thibeault, Luxander Pond, Miri Mogilevsky, Niki M., Sincere Kirabo, Stephanie Zvan, Tony Thompson, and Zinnia Jones, with a lineup that is continuing to grow.
What we believe
It's our belief that any atheist movement that sees social issues as mission drift is failing at its own mission, whether that mission is to challenge faith, to support people leaving theirs, or to build new communities. At the same time, we don't think progressive politics can be complete while discussions of religion are left off the table. The power dynamics of belief are worth talking about, and we want to be a home for nonbelievers who've been harmed by religious culture, who feel estranged from movement atheism and alone among progressives.
Why "The Orbit"?
Lots of reasons. The church punished Galileo for saying the earth orbited the sun, and we like reminding ourselves heretical ideas can be vital, that the universe doesn’t revolve around us, and that one pale blue dot is all we have. Being in someone's orbit means being relevant to them, and from particles to planets to galaxies, everything orbits something else. An orbit is a movement, a relationship, a sphere of influence, as well as the name of the human eye socket, and we like thinking about perception, perspective, and how our lives affect other people’s.
Why we’re unique
We want to reach beyond atheism and into progressive communities, and we’ve chosen internal structures that reflect that goal. Our site has no editor or person in charge; decisions are taken collectively by contributors who know one another and share the same basic principles. All maintenance is carried out by our bloggers, with working groups formed for specific tasks, and all the work of bringing this site into existence was done by people here. Having such a collaborative structure makes us different from any other atheist site, and we love it.
About Our Fundraising Goals
Base Goal: $5,000
Reaching this goal will cover our costs to launch and run The Orbit for a year. This includes incorporation, setup, and paying for our servers. That gives us the flexibility to control the ad experience for our readers and writers.
First Stretch Goal: $8,000
We believe in paying writers as a matter of social justice, but we're willing to kick in some extra work to sweeten the pot. When we reach our first stretch goal, we'll put on an online conference dedicated to the topics we cover. We know you can't always come see us when we talk, so we'll bring the talks and panels to you.
Second Stretch Goal: $10,000
When we reach this goal, we'll release an ebook compilation of some of the best writing The Orbit's authors have to offer. This will be delivered to all backers at the Wear It Proud level and above.
Third Stretch Goal: $14,000
This is the level where we bring in a designer to help make the reader experience at The Orbit the best it can be. We're pretty happy with what we've done in house, but professionals are professional for a reason.
Risks and challenges
The two biggest risks in running a publishing network are not being able to pay to keep the lights on and losing your talent. This Kickstarter exists to take care of the first, at least for our first year.
As for losing talent, it happens. People burn out on writing or activism. Writers get exclusive gigs with major media. Life happens. Everyone at The Orbit, however, is dedicated to making this network work. We believe in it enough to have dedicated several months to putting a new network together. We can't promise your favorite will always be here to write for you, but we can promise a dynamic group of atheist writers dedicated to social justice.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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