Speakers

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November 19-21, 2021
Boston Park Plaza Hotel
50 Park Plaza
Boston, Massachusetts, 02116
617-426-2000


Brian BoltonBRIAN BOLTON

Brian Bolton has endowed a secular studies professorship at the University of Texas in Austin, the Brian F. Bolton Distinguished Professorship in Secular Studies. Brian is a retired academic psychologist with a background in mathematics, statistics and psychometrics. His contributions in psychological measurement, personality assessment and rehabilitation psychology have been recognized by universities and psychological societies. He has 10 edited and authored 10 books include Handbook of Measurement and Evaluation in Rehabilitation. He is a licensed psychologist, Humanist minister, Karate black belt, and Distinguished Toastmaster. The executive wing of FFRF’s Freethought Hall is named for Brian Bolton, and for 11 years he has personally underwritten FFRF’s essay contest for grad/older students, with up to $10,000 prize money. He is helping to underwrite a bible accountability project with FFRF, which will be publishing Brian’s new book, Why the Bible is Not a Good Book, this year.


Ben Hart IM GODBEN HART

Ben Hart will receive a Freethinker of the Year Award as the major plaintiff in FFRF’s and ACLU-Kentucky’s successful lawsuit after the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet denied Ben his requested license plate reading “IM GOD.” This federal lawsuit ended in 2020 after more than three years. Ben has been married to his school sweetheart for over 50 years and is retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Although raised in a religious family, he began to question religion as a child and now identifies as an atheist. He first put up his personalized “IM GOD” license plate in Ohio, where plates carry the state motto, “One Nation Under God.” In Kentucky, standard license plates proclaim: “In God We Trust.”


SIKIVU HUTCHINSON

Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is an educator, author, playwright and director. She received her doctorate from New York University and is the author of Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars, Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels and the novel White Nights, Black Paradise, on Peoples Temple and the 1978 Jonestown massacre. She also wrote, directed and produced a short film of White Nights, Black Paradise. Her short plays Grinning Skull and Narcolepsy, Inc. were featured in the Robey Theatre’s 2017 Paul Robeson Festival and the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival. She has contributed chapters to The Oxford Handbook of Secularism and Gender and Planning from Rutgers University and her articles have been published in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, The Humanist Magazine and the L.A. Times. 

She is a contributing editor for The Feminist Wire and the founder of the Women’s Leadership Project, a feminist mentoring program for girls of color in South L.A. as well as Black Skeptics Los Angeles. In 2016, she was a keynote speaker at the Mandela and Kathrada Foundations’ Anti-Racism Network conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her most recent novel is Rock ‘n’ Roll Heretic: The Life and Times of Rory Tharpe.

Hutchinson will recieve FFRF's "Freethought Heroine" Award.


Megan Phelps RoperMEGAN PHELPS-ROPER

Megan Phelps-Roper is a speaker, advocate and author of the new bestselling book Unfollow: On Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church.

Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka, Kansas church known internationally for its daily public protests against members of the LGBTQ community, Jews, other Christians, the military and countless others. Starting at five-years-old, she participated in the picketing almost daily and spearheaded the use of social media in the church. Dialogue with "enemies" online proved instrumental in her deradicalization, and she left the church and her entire way of life in November 2012. Since then she has become an advocate for people and ideas she was taught to despise — especially the value of empathy in dialogue with people across ideological lines. In addition to her new book, Phelps-Roper gave a powerful TEDTalk on her experience leaving the grip of the church, which has been viewed more than 5 million times.

Phelps-Roper will receive the $10,000 “Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism” Award and sign copies of her new book.


GLORIA STEINEM

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality.

Steinem, who’s been billed as “the world’s most famous feminist,” is a journalist who co-founded Ms. Magazine in 1972, helped establish the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Media Center, and was president of Voters for Choice, a political action committee, for 25 years. She is the founder of the Ms. Foundation for Women, Take our Daughters to Work Day, and many other initiatives. Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, Marilyn: Norma Jean and My Life on the Road.

Steinem will receive FFRF’s “Forward” Award, which is reserved for those who are moving society forward. The award includes a statuette designed by world-renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis. Steinem has previously been named Humanist of the Year.


KATHERINE STEWART

Katherine Stewart is the author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism (Bloomsbury). She writes about religion, politics, policy and conflicts over the separation of church and state for The New York Times opinion section, The New Republic, the New York Review of Books, American Prospect, The Advocate, the Guardian and others. She is also the author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children. In 2014 she was named Person of the Year by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Stewart will speak on her book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism and will interview Margaret Atwood.


David TamayoDAVID TAMAYO

David Tamayo is cofounder and president of Hispanic American Freethinkers in 2010, which is the first and only national Latino 501(c)(3) educational organization of its kind. He was Vice President of the Reason Rally 2016, former host of the TV Show “Road to Reason – A Skeptic’s Guide to the 21st Century, founding Board Director of Camp Quest- Chesapeake, and host of Contrapuntos Podcast (debates with preachers, science deniers, and other interesting personalities in Spanish). David is the Chief Information Officer for DCS Corporation, a large aerospace engineering company in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor degree in Computer Science from George Washington University, and a Master in Management in Information Technology from University of Virginia.


DAVID WILLIAMSON

David Williamson is co-founder of the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC), an organization of atheists and Humanists fighting for the separation between state and church and building a thriving secular community in the Greater Orlando area. David also serves locally on the Central Florida Commission on Religious Freedom and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. He is Secretary of the Florida Humanist Association and co-coordinator of the organization’s biennial conference, FREEFLO. David serves two national organizations: the Advisory Board of the Freethought Equality Fund and as Florida State Representative for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Williamson and other winning plaintiffs in the Brevard Co. lawsuit will accept FFRF's Freethinker of the Year Award.


PHIL ZUCKERMAN

Phil ZuckermanPhil Zuckerman is the author of several books, including What It Means to be Moral (Counterpoint, 2019) The Nonreligious (Oxford, 2016), Living the Secular Life (Penguin, 2014), Faith No More (Oxford, 2012), and Society Without God (NYU, 2008), and the editor of several volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of Secularism (2016) and The Social Theory of W.E.B. Du Bois (2004). He is the Associate Dean as well as Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College, and the founding chair of the nation’s first Secular Studies Program. He blogs for Psychology Today. He lives in Claremont, California, with his wife and three children.

More information coming soon. 

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