SHEPARD FOUNDATION MARKS 20 YEARS SINCE THE BRUTAL MURDER OF MATTHEW SHEPARD, 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF FOUNDATION’S WORK TO “ERASE HATE”
The Capital Pride Alliance (CPA) announced today the addition of Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights for two decades, as Grand Marshals of this year’s parade. The parade, presented by Marriott International will take place June 9, 2018, beginning at 4:30pm, in Washington, D.C., as part of a week of pride related events (see here for a full schedule).
The Shepards will lead the Marriott contingent of the parade, along with representatives from Casa Ruby and Marriott loyalty members, associates, and their friends and family.
“We could not be more proud to serve as Grand Marshals and to march alongside Marriott and our friends from Casa Ruby,” said Judy and Dennis Shepard. “For the past two decades we have tried to create a legacy not only for our son, but for all those without a voice who experience hate and discrimination, especially those individuals more marginalized in our community yet more impacted by hate violence,” continued the Shepards.
In addition to participating in the parade, the Shepards will also attend several other Pride week events. and as special guests of Marriott.
“We are so honored to have Judy and Dennis participate as the Capital Pride parade Grand Marshals,” said Ryan Bos, Executive Director of Capital Pride Alliance. “Given these divisive and challenging political times, their work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community as it relates to hate crimes prevention, education and their tireless efforts to address the epidemic of violence in our communities is more important than ever. ” continued Bos.
“Marriott International is proud to support and celebrate Capital Pride, Judy and Dennis Shepard and the mission of the Matthew Shepard Foundation,” said Apoorva Gandhi, Vice President of Multicultural Affairs at Marriott International. “This is especially meaningful now, since this marks their twentieth year honoring their son’s memory. We share Capital Pride’s commitment to showing that love is a universal language understood by all, which is why we created the #LoveTravels platform in 2014.”
Many LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly trans people of color, are disproportionately impacted by violence. The Shepard Foundation, Casa Ruby, Marriott International, the Capital Pride Alliance, and many other local organizations are working together to turn that around.
“As the Foundation celebrates its twentieth year of advocacy, our entire community is reflecting on the progress that has been made in the 20 years since Matt’s brutal murder and what work we still have to do,” said Ashley Smith, CPA Board President. “The Shepards’ tireless work is an inspiration as we continue to work towards a more accepting, resilient and united community, especially in the face of virulent opposition at both the national and local levels,” concluded Smith.