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WNEU Center for Social Justice Announces Inaugural Event of LBGTQ+ Speaker Series

SPRINGFIELD — The Western New England University (WNEU) School of Law’s Center for Social Justice and Springfield Public Forum will present an interview with Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, on Thursday, Sept. 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

This is the first event in the Center for Social Justice’s new Gervino-Ward LGBTQ+ Speaker Series, which provides a venue for conversations about legal issues significant to the LGBTQ+ community. The virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required at bit.ly/Gervino-Ward.

Freedom to Marry, the successful campaign for marriage equality in the U.S., is widely considered the architect of the movement that led to nationwide victory in 2015. During the 1990s, Wolfson served as co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case that launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry, and has participated in numerous gay-rights and HIV/AIDS cases. In 2012, Wolfson received the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside President Obama. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale College and his juris doctor from Harvard Law School.

Wolfson will be joined by WNEU School of Law Professor Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project, who will moderate a Q&A-style event.

“The Center for Social Justice and Springfield Public Forum are thrilled to welcome Evan Wolfson as the center’s inaugural Gervino-Ward LGBTQ+ speaker,” Center Director Ariel Clemmer said. “Particularly during these challenging times, it is important that we come together and have candid conversations about what it takes to make change. Evan Wolfson is a venerable example for us all.”

Wolfson now devotes his time to advising and assisting diverse movements and causes in the U.S. and around the world. Based in New York City, he has been named a Distinguished Visitor from Practice at Georgetown Law Center, where he teaches law and social change; a Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy at Yale University; and senior counsel at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.

The Gervino-Ward LGBTQ+ Speaker Series is made possible by a generous donation from WNEU Law School alumna Elena Gervino; her wife, Kathleen Ward; and their two daughters. The mission of this series is to draw awareness to emerging trends in LGBTQ+ law and continuing social-justice concerns that might affect LGBTQ+ clients or practitioners. Lectures will be held during the lunch hour and are open to students, alumni, the university community, and the general public.

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