Judy Shepard will be honored at the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles on February 25, 2012.
LGLA’s 2012 Community Service Award will be presented to Judy Shepard, Co Founder and President of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, for her immense contribution to hate crime awareness and prosecution across the U.S. After learning the details surrounding the 1998 murder of her 21-year old son Matthew in Laramie, Wyoming, Judy Shepard and her husband Dennis made a transformative turn in their thinking and the purpose of their lives. They committed themselves to fighting for LGBT rights, abolishing hate and punishing hate crimes. In the painful months that followed their son’s death, Judy and Dennis came to understand a lot of things they never knew before: about how LGBT people are treated, about hate crimes and their shocking occurrences; how they are characterized by obvious signs, like excessive violence, the denial that surrounds them; and how hard hate crimes were to prove, prosecute, and appropriately punish, with sensitivity to the victim’s loved ones and the wider community. Today, through the Foundation she created as her son’s legacy, Judy Shepard stands up for the LGBT community and its straight allies, in Matt’s memory. Through Judy Shepard the Matthew Shepard Foundation does its part for LGBT Rights and works hard to persuade others to do theirs, as well.