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Jessica Ahlquist

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Jessica Ahlquist in 2012
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Jessica Ahlquist is a young woman from Cranston, Rhode Island, who is known for challenging, successfully, a prayer posted in her high school's auditorium. As a result of the case she, her father, and the ACLU brought against the City of Cranston, the school was obligated to remove the banner with the prayer. For her efforts, Ahlquist, who was sixteen at the time, was and is the recipient of all kinds of invective from a variety of community leaders, including being dubbed "Evil Little Thing" by Rhode Island State Representative Peter Palumbo (and look who's talking[1]).

In addition to her activism for separation of church and state, Alquist is also an activist for pro-LGBT causes.


  • American Humanist Association Humanist Pioneer Award — 2012
  • Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award — 2013[2]