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Marian Tompson, a co-founder of La Leche League International, will be honored for her "courageous, pioneering, lifelong work on behalf of children and mothers" by The New York Society For Ethical Culture on Tuesday, May 18.

Mrs. Tompson will receive the Ethical Humanist Award, presented annually by the Society, at the organization's headquarters [2 W. 64th Street at Central Park West in Manhattan] at 7 p.m. The public is invited.

The award honors those who have "acted with extraordinary moral courage, without regard for the sanction or acclaim of peers or of society, and whose actions have had broad humanizing implications."

Marian Leonard Tompson, the mother of seven children, began her pioneering work in 1950 after the birth of her first child, at a time when there was not a great deal of information available about breast feeding. Through her research and work, La Leche League was founded and now has 3,000 chapters world wide. La Leche League Groups receive 200,000 queries a month with questions and concerns about breast feeding.

Mrs. Tompson served as president of La Leche League, a non-profit organization based in Schaumburg, Ill., for 24 years. Founded in 1956, the league has grown into a worldwide network, educating mothers, physicians and the public about breast feeding, childbirth and other issues of concern to families. Mrs. Tompson has carried her message to China, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and across the United States. She now is working to bring together researchers, health professionals and parents from around the globe to address the complex issues involving HIV and breast feeding.

The Ethical Humanist Award honors the memory of Algernon David Black, a long-time Senior Leader of the New York Society For Ethical Culture. Black, born in 1900, was a social activist who fought discrimination long before the civil right movement.

The 1998 award winners were U.S. Senators John McCain [R-Ariz.] and Russell Feingold [D-Wis.]. They were honored for their determined commitment to the recovery of the democratic process through sponsorship of the federal Campaign Finance Reform Bill.

For more information or to make a reservation for the award presentation ceremony and reception call the Society at 212-874-5210.

The New York Society For Ethical Culture, founded in 1876, is a humanistic religious and educational movement inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of life is working to create a more humane society. The Society is a member of the American Ethical Union.

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