Last Saturday an estimated 20,000 people packed into Washington, D.C.'s National Mall for the Reason Rally, and we're proud to say the JREF was there in full force. JREF founder, James Randi himself, was one of the event's keynote speakers, sharing the stage with other well-known academics, activists, and entertainers who worked to spotlight the growing secularist movement devoted to fostering a more reasonable world. Many of our Amazing Meeting regulars were on the bill, including Richard Dawkins, Adam Savage, R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Michael Shermer, Paul Provenza, and Sean Faircloth, and other friends of the JREF also appeared, including the the inimitable comedian Tim Minchin. Close friend of Randi's, Penn Jillette, appeared via video, as did comedian Bill Maher.
James Randi speaks to the crowd. (photo courtesy Ingrid Laas)
We were very pleased to see the wet weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of those who stopped by the JREF's table in the main exhibitors' tent. Along with our president D.J. Grothe and gregarious JREF volunteer Rick Gibson, I was able to meet so many wonderful supporters of our skeptical mission, and we distributed thousands of our educational and promotional materials to thousands of visitors to our exhibition booth at the event. As great as it was to see some familiar faces from past Amazing Meetings, skeptical meetups, and lectures, I was especially heartened to meet hundreds of new people who have been avid followers of James Randi and the JREF for years and years, but who haven't yet gotten involved with the JREF directly.
Randi with JREF president D.J. Grothe and Reason Rally emcee Paul Provenza looking on. (photo courtesy Ingrid Laas)
Randi himself stopped by the JREF table during the rally and spent hours happily posing for hundreds of photos and chatting with anyone who wanted to meet him. One fan even showed off his tattoo of the JREF logo!
Special thanks to David Silverman and the whole, tireless team of organizers who worked hard to make sure the Reason Rally was as huge a success as it turned out to be. We are more optimistic than ever that the rationality the JREF and our peer organizations work to promote in society might well be contagious and continue to catch on.
An enormous and enthusiastic crowd. (photo courtesy Ingrid Laas)
Brian Thompson is the Field Coordinator for the James Randi Educational Foundation.