One of the nation's leading advocates for women's rights and social and economic justice will be addressing the Freedom From Religion Foundation's yearly gathering in early November.
Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood, has agreed to speak at FFRF's 41st annual convention in San Francisco, which runs Nov. 2-4.
Richards will receive FFRF's "Forward" award, which recognizes work to move society forward. She is a lifelong activist and the author of the recently published New York Times best-seller, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead.
As president of the Planned Parenthood Federation and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Richards led a federation of more than 600 health centers, providing high-quality health care to millions of people each year, and directed a staff of more than 500 employees in the national office. Under her leadership, the number of Planned Parenthood supporters swelled to 12 million, four times more than when she joined, and the organization expanded advocacy efforts to include fighting for access to health care.
After starting her career as a labor organizer, working with women earning the minimum wage, Richards went on to start her own grassroots organizations. She served as deputy chief of staff for Nancy Pelosi, playing a key role in the congresswoman's election as the first female Majority Leader for either party in Congress. In 2011 and 2012, Richards was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Other featured honorees and speakers at FFRF's annual gathering include eminent writer Salman Rushdie, television host Adam Savage, actor John de Lancie (of "Star Trek" fame), Ex-Muslims of North America co-founder Sarah Haider, irreverent actress Julia Sweeney and stand-up comedian Leihann Lord. Also appearing at the convention will be Ensaf Haidar, the activist wife of a Saudi freethinker whose persecution and imprisonment have caused global outrage.
Convention registration is only $60 per member, $65 per companion, $110 non-member, and free for students and children. Sign up for the discounted package that includes the two group meals on Saturday and save $20. The convention is being held at the arresting downtown Hyatt Regency, which has the world's biggest hotel lobby and rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows. Room can be reserved for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at $235 plus tax while they last, so act now!
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in Madison, Wis., is the largest U.S. association of freethinkers, representing over 33,000 atheists, agnostics, and other freethinking American citizens.