Praise for public speaking
Jennifer M. Ivers, Director, New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, Harvard University:
Hillary Goodridge, lead plaintiff, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, Massachusetts:
E.J. Graff is an engaging, incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, and witty speaker. I always learn something new from her. In fact, hearing E.J. speak and reading her book What Is Marriage For? inspired me to became a plaintiff in the lawsuit that won marriage equality in Massachusetts. She gives wonderful presentations and handles question-and-answer sessions with respect, honesty, and humor.
Jennifer Wriggins, Professor of Law, University of Southern Maine:
Thank you for speaking to our law students this week. Your sense of humor and clear analysis kept them fully engaged. Your presentation offered an impeccable ‘teaching moment,’ prompting an in-depth discussion about the intersection of law and social change.
Mary Bonauto, lead attorney in New England’s marriage lawsuits, and civil rights director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders:
I recommend E.J. Graff as a speaker on marriage and family issues. Her vast knowledge about the issues is an asset. Her knowledge is matched by her ability to bring the issues alive with her unique blend of humor and irony as well as her historical and feminist perspectives. I have heard E.J. speak on a number of occasions and believe she would be great with any audience.
Alex Liazos, Chair, Sociology Department, Regis College, Weston, MA:
Your talk was lively, funny, engaging, inspiring, and interesting, and students and faculty told me that it gave them a new perspective on history, marriage, and same-sex marriage. You debated Daniel Avila [Esq., Associate Director of Policy & Research, Massachusetts Catholic Conference] with respect, humor, and without rancor…. The students were fully engaged, and many stayed late after the forum to ask more questions and talk with you. It was obvious, and many told me, that it was one of the best public presentations they have attended (and, I should note, with the best attendance at Regis for many years).
Nancy Tubbs, Director, LGBT Resource Center, University of California/Riverside:
Thank you for an inspiring talk last week on the University of California, Riverside campus regarding the history of the institution of marriage. Your presentation was timely and sparked lively discussion with the more than 250 people in attendance. You were able to connect with two very different audiences: folks grappling with this issue from an intellectual or emotional standpoint … and the LGBT and Allies community members….
I will happily recommend your presentation to other college campuses or community organizations searching for a smart and sincere speaker on the topic of marriage and LGBT equal rights.
Jacqueline Dirks, Professor of History, Reed College, Portland, Oregon:
On behalf of the American Studies Program, I am writing to thank you for your remarkably clear, complex, and informative presentation. It was rewarding to see our students willing to sit through such an extended question and answer session, which you handled with grace and aplomb.
Dorothy Fairweather, The First Religious Society, Unitarian Universalist, of Newburyport, MA:
On behalf of the First Religious Society in Newburyport, I want to thank you for speaking at our Church on Sunday, May 5, 2002. Your talk entitled What Is Marriage For was extremely interesting and informative. Comments from our parishioners have been overwhelmingly complimentary. You are an excellent speaker and we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear you speak.
Susan Kahn, Ph.D., Senior Research Director, Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis University:
I would like to thank you for your inspirational and stimulating talk. As you could tell from the way your book sold out after your presentation, we all wanted more—you have a wonderful way of explaining complex legal and moral issues in a way that is both comprehensible and compelling. We would love to invite you back.
Evan Wolfson, Executive Director, Freedom to Marry:
I am pleased to recommend E. J. Graff as a speaker on gay people’s freedom to marry. She is not only an expert on the history of marriage and our current civil rights battle to end discrimination, but also an engaging, funny, and provocative presenter…. E.J. will give non-gay and gay audiences much to think about, laugh at, and work with as she urges people to get involved in one of the cutting-edge civil rights struggles of our time.
Laura Zimmerman, co-director, New Words Live/Center for New Words:
I’m writing to thank you for the terrific talk you gave at New Words Bookstore. I was observing the audience while you spoke—more than fifty people jammed into that little room!—and everyone was riveted by your clear presentation of a complex social history. This was a tough crowd, with a wide range of opinions on the subject of marriage, but you kept all of us engaged, and you kept us alert through a lively Q&A session. I was especially impressed that you could bring so much good humor and wit into the discussion.
I know people left the bookstore satisfied with the high level of the talk and the urgent questions it raised. Further proof of your success: the staff who attended the reading talked about it enthusiastically for days. One of them pointed out that you speak as engagingly as you write—high praise indeed!