On Dec. 1, Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) welcomed a little bit of Hollywood to downtown Indianapolis, where actress and activist Ashley Judd served as keynote speaker for PPIN's 80th Anniversary celebration.
Although Judd is a Kentucky native, she's plenty familiar with Indiana-her husband, racecar driver Dario Franchitti, has won the Indianapolis 500 three times-and she acknowledged that it was nice to visit for her own personal reasons.
Ms. Judd's words were pure inspiration. She talked about her experience as a college student, escorting women past protesters into Planned Parenthood health centers during a summer trip to southern California. She also spoke about growing up in Appalachia, where she saw firsthand what a lack of sexual health education and family planning resources could mean, even in her own family.
She encouraged young people to find constructive outlets of activism for their anger and discontent about what they see in the world around them. As an individual who went to Harvard University for a Master's in Public Administration to become a more effective activist, Ms. Judd is clearly someone who practices what she preaches.
The evening also raised awareness and funds for the Sara and Albert Reuben Partners in Health Education initiative. In conjunction with the event, PPIN raised a net total of more than $75,000, with more than $46,000 going specifically to the education initiative.
Four regional winners-Stephanie Scharf and Dr. David Taber; Ed Howard; and Betty Crowe--won PPIN's regional Daring to Care awards. Dr. Joseph Thompson was honored as the 80th Anniversary Margaret A. Sanger Award for decades of work to advance the cause of family planning in general and PPIN specifically.
"My favorite moment was surprising outgoing Board Chair Debbie Simon with her PPIN legacy," said President and CEO Betty Cockrum. "We will henceforth have a Deborah Joy Simon Advocacy Council, with pledges of $125,000 already in place for the next five years. We will thus sustain the future of our ever-more-important public policy efforts."
Ashley Judd and award winners Dr. Joe Thompson and Betty Crowe (from left).
Emcee Dr. Terri Jett, political science professor, Butler University; Ashley Judd, actress and activist; and President and CEO Betty Cockrum (from left)