Atheists Gather in Philadelphia for 73rd Annual AHA Conference Former U.S. Representative Barney Frank to receive Humanist of the Year Award

The American Humanist Association is pleased to announce that its 73rd annual conference will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel from Thursday, June 5th to Sunday, June 8th. The event will feature informative speakers, book signings and celebrity guests, as well as a banquet to present former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank with the Humanist of the Year Award.

In his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Barney Frank has been a leader in the fight against discrimination. His Congressional legacy is one of civil rights and financial reform. In 1987, he became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, and in 2012 he became the first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office. Almost a year ago, he also publicly acknowledged his atheism.

“Barney Frank is a trailblazer, for the LGBTQ community as well as for atheists and other nontheists,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “His commitment to supporting progressive, humanist values of equality and justice demonstrate that one can be good without a god, as are millions in this country.”

Other individuals accepting awards at the conference are Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Natalie Angier (Humanist Media Award), lead vocalist and songwriter for the band Bad Religion Greg Graffin (Humanist Arts Award), founder of Wireless Xcessories Group Steve Rade (Humanist Business Award), retired executive director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., Dr. Eugenie Scott (Lifetime Achievement Award), and feminist activist, speaker and writer Jessica Valenti (Humanist Heroine Award). MIT physics professor, Max Tegmark, will be featured as the keynote speaker.

Other featured speakers and presenters include Rob Boston, director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement; Anne Klaeysen, Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture; James Croft of the Humanist Community at Harvard; August Brunsman, executive director of the Secular Student Alliance; and Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

On Sunday, conference attendees will also have the opportunity to attend The Sunday Assembly led by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans as well as to participate in a Thomas Paine Day Tour of the city hosted by local Philadelphia freethought activist Margaret Downey.

More information about the conference, honorees and speakers can be found here.