The 2020 Spirit of Justice Award Celebration, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)’s annual gala, will be celebrated on Friday, October 16, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm EST live online.

Grace Sterling Stowell
Grace Sterling Stowell
Executive Director, BAGLY

This year’s honoree will be activist Grace Sterling Stowell, executive director of Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY). The Spirit of Justice award is given annually to an individual with a lifetime’s body of work striving for social justice.

“Every year I am energized by the powerful sense of community and inspiration I get from Spirit of Justice,” said GLAD’s executive director Janson Wu. “There is no more fitting honoree for 2020 than Grace, whose courage, wisdom, and compassion have helped thousands of LGBTQ youth to love themselves, become leaders, and live happy lives.”

Normally a large in-person affair in a downtown Boston ballroom, going virtual means that Spirit of Justice 2020 will be accessible to supporters of equity and LGBTQ equality across the U.S. for the first time. To enhance the feeling of community and celebration, attendees have the option to meet and chat in online rooms before the live program, which will feature remarks by GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto.

“It’s gratifying and humbling to be honored by GLAD, an organization that I love so much,” said Stowell, who will also speak. “GLAD is a fierce advocate for young people, and has been a steadfast partner to BAGLY throughout the years. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

BAGLY, now celebrating its 40th anniversary year, is a nationally recognized model of LGBTQ youth leadership and community development. The organization has served more than 30,000 youth since 1980.

Previous SOJ honorees include Chai Feldblum, Jose Antonio Vargas, the Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr, Phill Wilson, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Urvashi Vaid, Margaret J. Marshall, Deval Patrick and his family; Reverend Irene Monroe; Bishop Gene Robinson; Beth Robinson, John Ward, Terrence McNally, Mandy Carter; Reverend William Sinkford, Tim Gill, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, Tony Kushner, Laurence Tribe, and Mary L. Bonauto.

Spirit of Justice is chaired by Annika Bockius-Suwyn and Ray Cheng. This year’s presenting sponsor is Dr. Samuel Pang at Boston IVF.