Freethought Day dates back to 1692, during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Massachusetts Governor William Phips wrote, on October 12, about the quagmire that the trials had degenerated into, in part by a reliance on "evidence" of a non-objective nature and especially "spectral evidence" in which the accusers claimed to see devils and other phantasms consorting with the accused.
Our annual event, California Freethought Day, started as Sacramento Freethought Day in 2001 on the steps of the Sacramento County Courthouse Plaza and now takes over the north steps of the California State Capitol Building, usually on the second Sunday of October.
The event now boasts an entire day's worth of community engagement, live entertainment, motivational and educational speakers, volunteer recognition, and more. Our event reaches hundreds of local atheists, Humanists, and other freethinkers -- and attracts an audience from throughout California and the country.
Notable speakers at California Freethought Day include Senators Richard Pan, Athena Salman, and Juan Mendez; the "Friendly Atheist" blogger Hemant Mehta; executive director of NCSE Dr. Eugenie Scott; hip hop artist Greydon Square; Representatives Jared Huffman, Jerry McNerney, and Zoe Lofgren; secular activist leaders including Aron Ra, Sean Faircloth, Annie Laurie Gaylor, and Mandisa Thomas; authors including Greta Christina and Phil Zuckerman; and entertainers including Shelley Segal, Victor Harris, and Brian Dalton.