• Roe v. Wade attorney Sarah Weddington to speak at PROUD! Gala

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    Sarah Weddington of Austin, best known as the attorney who represented Jane Roe in the U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 PROUD Gala!

    Weddington argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court in 1971 and 1972; the court ruled on the matter in 1973. She is thought to be the youngest person ever to win a case before the nation’s highest court. Weddington was in her 20s at the time.

    “It is an honor to have an icon like Sarah Weddington speak to attendees at our third annual PROUD Gala! Her voice is an especially important one to hear during a period when the political and societal fabric of America is so frayed,” says Edgar Gierbolini, president and CEO of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the gala.

    The PROUD! Gala, set for June 23 at the LINE ATX Hotel, serves two purposes: It raises money for the Austin LGBT Scholarship Foundation, which helps members of the LGBT community gain knowledge and skills, and it honors LGBT businesses and allies through the Austin LGBT Business Awards.

    Tickets for PROUD! are available at www.austinlgbtchamber.com/gala.

    “We couldn’t be prouder to have Sarah Weddington as our keynote speaker. For decades, she has stood up for reproductive rights, women’s rights and human rights. The Dallas Morning News aptly describes her as ‘the reigning grande dame of Texas feminists,’” says Chase Kincannon, chair of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

    Today, Weddington’s professional activities include speaking, teaching and writing. Aside from her prominent role in the Roe v. Wade case, Weddington has been a groundbreaker in a number of other areas:
    • In 1973, she became the first woman from Austin to serve in the Texas House.
    • In 1977, she was the first woman to become general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    • From 1978 to 1981, she led women’s issues and leadership outreach for the administration of President Jimmy Carter.
    • From 1983 to 1985, she was the first female director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations.
    • She was a featured speaker at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C. 
    • From 1981 through 1990, Weddington was a distinguished lecturer at Texas Woman’s University in Denton and an adjunct professor in the school’s Department of History and Government in 1993.
    • She was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin for 28 years. There, Weddington taught classes on gender-biased discrimination and American leadership. 

    “I am proud of my legacy of opening doors for women,” Weddington told Austin Woman magazine in 2006. “Many young women today take for granted the rights we fought for because they have never been without those rights. They need to know those rights are in danger of being taken away. That is why leadership skills and getting these women involved is so important.”
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