At the luncheon, which honors both celebrities and everyday women for their work in various charities which contribute to improving women's' self-esteem, Kerry spoke on a number of issues, which he referred to as "random thoughts" gathered in reaction to the work performed by many of the honorees. "Your stories are stunning," he said.
Among the honorees were Bridget Kelly, a Texas woman who survived a violent rape and shooting and now speaks out against sexual violence, and Kitty Westin, whose daughter committed suicide at the age of 21 following a struggle with an eating disorder.
Kerry praised the groups' courage, expressing a wish that other Americans might hear their stories. He tied this idea to his belief that many Americans tend to be insular in thinking. "We could use a dose of truth telling," he said, adding that he hoped to "put common sense back in the mainstream."
Of course, the visit served as a campaign stop for Kerry, who ran down a list of issues that he said the current administration is ignoring. "We live in an exciting and dangerous time," he said. "This is the most important election of our lifetime, bar none."
Before presenting the award winners, Stacy Morrison, Redbook's editor-in-chief, jokingly offered Kerry a book on what to do when you've become president, including tips on how to order pizza. During his speech, Kerry added that he wondered whether the book included an epilogue on what to do when you lose your job as president.
Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry was also honored for her philanthropic work. Uma Thurman, Daisy Fuentes, Jamie-Lynn DiScala, and Sarah Michelle Gellar were also honored for their charitable work. Neither DiScala nor Gellar were able to attend yesterday's luncheon: Gellar for work reasons, while DiScala missed her flight after attending several parties following the Emmy awards on Sunday night.