Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Speaker lineup features star-studded cast

Vol. 38 No. 07 September 2021
Ann Druyan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

You aren’t going to want to miss this year’s incredible lineup of speakers at FFRF’s 44th annual convention happening Friday, Nov. 19–Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. (The event is limited to those who are fully vaccinated for Covid-19. See page 24.)

The conference will open informally on Thursday night, Nov. 18, with early registration and a two-hour appetizer reception. Registration resumes at 7 a.m. Friday, Nov. 19. The full, two-day program formally opens at 9 a.m. Friday. The membership meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, followed by a short meeting of the State Representatives, ending by noon.

The convention will include a report on FFRF accomplishments by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Co-President Dan Barker, an hour-long legal report by FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and FFRF’s attorneys, a little music at the piano by Barker, FFRF book and product tables, the traditional drawing for “clean,” pre-“In God We Trust” currency, and some complimentary food receptions. 

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel will lead a workshop on Christian nationalism and its ties to Jan. 6. 

Speakers

To read more about each speaker, please go to ffrf.org/convention-2021.

Margaret Atwood is the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Edible Woman, The Robber Bride, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake. Atwood will receive FFRF’s “Forward” Award. 

Randa Black of Florida has won FFRF’s Nothing Fails Like Prayer contest and will recite her secular invocation. Black is a professional actor, appearing in hundreds of commercials and TV shows. 

Christopher Cameron, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is author of the new book, Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism. 

Ann Druyan is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director specializing in the communication of science. She was the creative director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project and program director of the first solar sail deep space mission. 

Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is an educator, author, playwright and director. She is the author of Humanists in the Hood: Unapologetically Black, Feminist, and Heretical.  Hutchinson will receive FFRF’s “Freethought Heroine” Award.

Megan Phelps-Roper, author of Unfollow: On Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church, was raised in the Topeka, Kan.-based church known for its protests. Phelps-Roper will receive the $10,000 “Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism” award.

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist, experimental psychologist, linguist and popular science author. He is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. 

Sasha Sagan is author of the new book, For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World. She has worked as a television producer, filmmaker, writer and speaker. 

Sushant Singh is an Indian actor and presenter known for his work predominantly in Hindi cinema. Singh will be receiving the Avijit Roy Courage Award. 

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. Steinem, who’s been billed as “the world’s most famous feminist,” is a journalist who co-founded Ms. Magazine in 1972. Steinem will receive FFRF’s “Forward” Award. 

Katherine Stewart is the author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. 

David Tamayo is cofounder and president of Hispanic American Freethinkers in 2010. 

Jay Wexler is a professor at Boston University School of Law. 

David Williamson is co-founder of the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC). Williamson will accept FFRF’s Freethinker of the Year Award.

Phil Zuckerman is the associate dean and professor of sociology at Pitzer College, and the founding chair of the nation’s first Secular Studies Program. 

Receptions

There will also be two optional author receptions. After “An evening with Margaret Atwood” Friday night, a short private reception for Ms. Atwood will take place, limited to 100 individuals. Tickets to the reception are $500 and will include a copy of The Testaments, her sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Friday evening will end with a complimentary dessert reception and hot beverages for all participants.

Gloria Steinem will be interviewed by FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor on Saturday afternoon, taking some audience questions, followed by a half-hour reception limited to 50 individuals. That $500 ticket will include a copy of Ms. Steinem’s newest book, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! Thoughts on Life, Love, and Rebellion. 

Mail in the handy registration on Page 24 or register online at ffrf.org/convention-2021.

Pre-registration deadline is Oct. 31, unless the convention sells out earlier.