For The Record

As a Harvard Law student 25 years ago, Bradley Sears organized a symposium celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots: the “chaotic, violent night where people pushed back — people really at the margins of the LGBT community then, who would still be seen at the margins of the LGBT community today.”

Now a UCLA law professor, Sears revisited the importance of that moment in history as the keynote speaker at the University of Richmond Law Review Symposium’s “Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots: Reflecting on the Rise & Evolution of LGBTQ Activism & Rights in the Law” in October. The response to a police raid at a New York City gay nightclub in 1969, the Stonewall riots were a catalyst for social and political activism. Sears pointed out that the commemoration at Richmond Law was timely.

“Fifty years ago, no one would have foreseen a week where we had three cases before the Supreme Court; an out, gay viable presidential candidate; [and] all of the candidates, at least of one party ... speaking on a forum on LGBTQ rights,” said Sears. “They would have dreamed of this day.”

Sears pointed to tangible ways to advance LGBTQ rights — including partnering with communities of faith and grounding the work in truth and love.

“The speakers and the panels today are really ... one of the best set of topics to discuss LGBTQ rights that I’ve seen,” Sears said. “[Richmond Law] is right on the cutting edge.”

The symposium included sessions on the rise of “queer criminology,” promoting LGBTQ rights through political activism, and LGBTQ rights in family law.