University News

Center for Social Justice Announces New LBGTQ+ Speaker Series Inaugural Event

Published: August 25, 2020 | Categories: Law, All News

An interview with Evan Wolfson one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Profile photo of Attorney Wolfson with quote from Martin Luther King, jr. quote in background.

The Western New England University 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, September 10, 2020 from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

This is the first event in the Center for Social Justice's new and important 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

Wolfson was the founder of Freedom to Marry, the successful campaign for marriage equality in the United States, and is widely considered the architect of the movement that led to nationwide victory in 2015. During the 1990's he 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 Barack Obama. Wolfson earned a B.A. in history from Yale College and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Wolfson will be joined by WNE 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," says Center Director, Ariel Clemmer. "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, Wolfson 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 WNE Law School alumna Elena Gervino ('88), 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. The Western New England University Center for Social Justice provides the venue for conversations about legal issues important to the LGBTQ+ community by bringing prominent leaders, speakers and advocates to engage with the Western New England University School of Law Community. Lectures will be held during the lunch hour and are open to students, alumni, the University community, and the general public.

Online registration for this event is available at For more information, contact Ariel Clemmer at

Launched in 2019, the University's Centennial year, the Center for Social Justice is designed to strengthen collaborative efforts between the School of Law and the region to work toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive society in its next century of service. The Center provides a centralized hub of activity and innovation for the School of Law's justice-related teaching, scholarship, and service. It also broadens social justice academic offerings, helps students aspiring to be social justice lawyers achieve their goals, imbues a culture of pro bono volunteerism in students, faculty and other legal professionals, manages in-house pro bono projects, and works closely with community organizations and partners to identify and address unmet needs that require a multi-dimensional response cutting across law and other fields. For more information visit the Western New England University Center for Social Justice website.

The Springfield Public Forum is one of the nation's oldest free public speaker series. Established in 1935, the Forum is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit entity. The Springfield Public Forum's goal is to illuminate the key issues facing our society by bringing thought-provoking speakers to the Springfield community and providing a platform for discussion.