Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Jul 18 · 2 min read

Looking into the imperilled funding of the arts and humanities in the United States and elsewhere, this can seem bleak to the members of the young humanist community with a sensibility for the arts and humanities as an integral part of general global culture and to personal development. However, once in a while, and for the humanist community, we can see the benefits for the humanist community through grant funding. One such grant was awarded in Oakland, California, in the United States.

It was reported as a highly competitive process through California Humanities with $175,000 (USD) awarded to 11 projects. This is entitled the “2019 Humanities for All Project Grant program.” Within Los Angeles, California lies one of the hidden intellectual treasures and underappreciated thinkers within the secular movement, Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, she is the project director for a stage play.

Dr. Hutchinson has been working on speaking courageously and honestly about some of the aspects of people of colour’s and women’s experience and narratives for many years, especially in the secular community. She does this while working in the community and uplifting individuals. She is known for several published books, including White Nights, Black Paradise. It is a stage play.

Happily, the play has been awarded a grant worth $10,000 to explore the voices of African American women characters during the Peoples Temple and Jonestown massacres.

Dr. Hutchinson earned a grant amount of $10,000 for the historical stage play examining the 30-year development of the Peoples Temple with the culmination in the Jonestown Guyana massacre of November, 1978. Much bound in an intersect of a background of the Great Migration, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the LGBTI+ and Black Power movements.

There will be a series of performances in 2020 and 2021. These performances of “White Nights, Black Paradise” will include panel discussions and public dialogues. Local partners will with Dr. Hutchinson will have film screenings. A preview of the work can be seen here:

The conversation and the stage play aim to spark conversation and, perhaps, a modest amount of insight into the cross-sections of class, gender, religion, politics, secularism, and more.


California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities — focused on ideas, conversation and learning — as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect us to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photo by Tess on Unsplash

Humanist Voices

Official Secular-Humanist publication by Humanist Voices

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Written by

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights.

Humanist Voices

Official Secular-Humanist publication by Humanist Voices

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