A stand-up comedian from the age of ten, Leighann Lord has traveled the world with her comedic routines and appeared on Lifetime, VH-1, Comedy Central, and HBO. Lord is the author of Diet Jokes: ALTernate DEFinitions for Words You've Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget (Volumes 1 & 2) and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories from the Career of a Very Funny Lady.
Lord graduated magna cum laude from Baruch College, City University of New York, with a degree in journalism and creative writing. She was the New York City face of the African Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry and has spoken at the annual conferences of American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, and Center for Inquiry, as well as at DragonCon (Skeptrack), The Freethought Society, NECSS: the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, and PASHTACon! Lord is also a certified secular celebrant who officiates milestone life events with nonreligious celebrations and ceremonies.
Leighann Lord accepted the 2019 Humanist Arts Award at the AHA Annual Conference at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York, on June 8. The following has been adapted from her remarks with her permission.
Thank you to the American Humanist Association for this wonderful and unexpected honor of receiving the Humanist Arts Award. In the interests of full transparency, when I was notified about the award, my imposter syndrome was thoroughly activated and I thought, "No, no, no. There must be some mistake." My ego was thinking, "What took you so long?" and my vanity said, "Just put on a pretty dress and let's do this."
When I first shared the news I got a lot of very sincere well wishes. The funniest one was: "Congratulations, Leighann. I didn't know you were a humanitarian." Neither did I.
Honestly, it's not easy being a humanist, because--let's face it--human beings are a hard species to love. So I guess that makes me more of a dogist. I say all the time that life is better with fur in it and that the world would be a better place if we all treated each other half as good as we treated our pets. Seriously, I would love it if everyday somebody rubbed me on my tummy and said: "Who's the best girl in the whole world?!" (Actually, I probably shouldn't say that, because there's a guy on Twitter who keeps offering. #CarefulWhatYouWishFor.)
Another good friend said to me, "Leighann, don't take this the wrong way like Mr. Spock did when either Captain Kirk or Doctor McCoy said he was the 'most human soul' they knew." With that disclaimer out of the way my friend went on to say:
Leighann, you embody "Christian values" more than any Christian I know. Your ability to see and recognize love, to do for others, to be kind, generous, supportive, thoughtful, inclusive ... everything too many "Christians" in this country are not. How often does an atheist get called a good Christian? I bet it's more...