It all started when two Californians, Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell, among several thousand others, attended the 'Godless Americans March On Washington' in November 2002. The sheer negativeness of the slogan, gave Paul the idea of finding a more positive word to describe those who hold naturalistic worldviews. He came up with Brights.
We've all heard of Gays and Greens and the principle is the same: taking an adjective and using it as a noun. Of course the chosen word must be positive and memorable in order to give it 'life'. This relates to the idea of a meme (or 'living idea'), due to Richard Dawkins, which is a word, phrase or concept that, through widespread use, becomes ingrained in consciousness.
We at Leicester Secular Society first heard about the Brights in October 2003 from our new member Keith Baker. We arranged for him to give us a talk on 22 February 2004. Keith recalled: It was a sunny Saturday in June and I was sat in my flat in Dundee enjoying a leisurely leaf through The Guardian when I noticed an article by Richard Dawkins entitled 'The future looks bright'. It instantly grabbed my attention, I'm a big fan of Dawkins but this was something different, and I duly noted it for further investigation.
The Brights movement became truly international with the launching of the 'Brights Central' website on June 4th 2003: www.the-brights.net aided by webmaster Kevin Schultz; and articles in the media the most significant being by Dawkins in The Guardian and Daniel Dennett in The New York Times ('The Bright Stuff'). Anyone who visits the website, will find all they need to decide whether or not they wish to identify as a Bright, so we do not repeat it here. The Brights are now worldwide. The 'constituency' (those signed up on the website by August 2006) now numbers over 20,000 spread over 137 countries.
The discussion forums at www.the-brights.net/forums provide a space for growing numbers of Brights to discuss Bright-related action and ideas, as well as anything else that happens to be on their minds. Proposals for action go through a 'process' before being adopted.
Other groups have been set up around the world. The Brights UK is one of the largest.
The subject of the name has of course been discussed exhaustively on the forums. There is no conflict between being a Bright and being a Secularist or Humanist. The Bright 'umbrella' covers a wide range.