The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.
O’Neill, elected NOW president in 2009, is a feminist lawyer, professor and activist for social justice. She is also president of the NOW foundation and chair of the NOW Political Action Committees, serving as the principal spokesperson for all three of her positions within the organization.
The lecture is part of the Alice S. and Peter H. Rossi Lecture series, which honors the academic couple that taught at UMass for several years. Both of the Rossis were named Distinguished Professors as members of the sociology department and were each separately elected president of the American Sociological Association.
Each year, the lecture series alternates between the honorees, presenting a renowned public figure that pursues Mr. Rossi’s interests one year and one who champions Mrs. Rossi’s causes the next.
This year, the series is dedicated to Alice, one of the original founders of the National Organization for Women.
O’Neill has long been involved in key political and social movements. As a political organizer, O’Neill worked on several historic campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and the campaign leading to the election of Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu. She has also written several federal amicus briefs on abortion rights for the Louisiana chapter of NOW, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.
O’Neill currently oversees NOW’s multi-issue agenda, which includes advancing reproductive freedom, promoting diversity, ending racism, achieving equality for women, stopping violence against women and ending sexual discrimination. The lecture will bring a narrower focus to these causes, highlighting the challenges feminists face as they pursue reform.
Eric Bosco can be reached at email@example.com.