Brian Silva '00

Brian Silva

As executive director of Marriage Equality USA, Brian Silva ’00 has been at the forefront of the fight for equal rights.

“It’s very exciting, and humbling to remember so many people who have come before,” he said. “We have had such a string of successes, but there were years of not being protected, and some people aren’t around anymore to see the fruits of their labor.”

Silva worked in emergency and disaster management in New York City when Proposition 8 came up on the ballot in California in 2008.

“Being from California, I cared a lot about it,” he said. “When the proposition passed it made me viscerally angry, that I was told by my home I was not worthy of equal protection.”

Silva began volunteering for Marriage Equality New York before becoming executive director of the national group. There are both small and big victories, but “there’s still work to be done.”

“We need to remember that things only change if folks stand up,” he said. “It’s not enough to want change, you have to get up and do something.”

Silva was a government major while at Redlands, and kept busy by participating in student government, newspaper, and theater. He came to Redlands from Pleasanton, California, and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he arrived.

“You don’t always know where you are going to end up,” he said. “Try things out – classes, clubs, study abroad. Do something you ordinarily wouldn’t do. Everyone at Redlands is supportive and kind, and I’ve kept in touch with so many people. I’ve seen many advocate, and that’s an extension of what I fell in love with at Redlands.”

Silva returned to Redlands for Homecoming 2014, and taught a mini-course with Dr. Art Svenson titled, “Marriage Equality, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution.”

“The goal is always to make people engaged and think about the topic,” Silva said. “You want them to walk away learning something new.”

As more people join the dialogue on marriage equality, Silva is hopeful that soon it will no longer be an issue.

“I am really looking forward to the day when everyone can marry who they love,” he said.

Posted: May 16, 2014
Written by: Catherine Garcia

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