Joined by NY Times Columnist Frank Bruni, Library Honors Attorneys David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, After-Party DJed by Questlove
More than 400 Brooklynites flocked to historic Weylin B. Seymour’s in Williamsburg on Wednesday to support Brooklyn Public Library’s programs and services at the 18th annual BPL Gala.
This year’s gala honored attorneys David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, whose extraordinary effort to overturn California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is chronicled in their book “Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality.” Award-winning New York Times columnist Frank Bruni interviewed the honorees, facilitating a conversation on the future of marriage equality in the United States.
“In addition to housing virtually all of humanity’s accumulated wisdom, modern libraries provide free programs for diverse communities and encourage public dialogue on civil and human rights issues,” said BPL President and CEO Linda Johnson. “Our world-class resources serve Brooklynites from every walk of life, including older adults, new Americans, children and teens, and members of the LGBT community.”
The event marked Boies and Olson’s first public appearance together since the Supreme Court’s January announcement that it would decide whether the United States Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry.
“David and I share the belief that marriage is a fundamental right, and that marriage equality is a legal and moral imperative for our nation,” said Theodore B. Olson. “It is a great honor for our work to be recognized by Brooklyn Public Library, an institution that so embodies the values — liberty, dignity and respect for all people — on which the movement for marriage equality is founded.”
“The movement to end antigay discrimination is the defining civil rights issue of our time. The progress which has been made on marriage equality has moved our country forward, and closer, to fulfilling the promise of our founders, and it has, importantly, expanded the ‘we’ in ‘we the people’ as set forth in our Constitution,” stated David Boies. “Ted and I are honored to have made a small contribution to the march forward, and are grateful to reflect upon it with supporters of Brooklyn Public Library.”
Brooklyn’s literary community was well represented at the gala, with authors Charles Duhigg, Lev Grossman, Dinaw Mengestu and Emma Straub in attendance, along with legendary WNYC radio host and noted bibliophile Leonard Lopate.
“Brooklyn Public Library inspires every new generation of Brooklynites to fall in love with reading. My 18-month-old son thinks it’s part of our house, I’m pretty sure,” reflected Straub. “And it’s more important than ever to support BPL— to help keep their incredible programming free for generations to come.” Following the seated dinner and program, legendary drummer and DJ Questlove got the crowd dancing at an after-party sponsored by BET Networks.
Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP provided lead sponsorship for the night’s festivities; The Starr Foundation also provided visionary support. The evening raised $636,000 in support of BPL’s programs and services for more than 2.5 million Brooklynites across 60 branches.