PORTLAND, Ore. — The Matthew Shepard Foundation will bestow “Making a Difference” Awards on two prominent Oregonians next month for their achievements in advancing equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans, at a Portland benefit reception.
Former Gov. Barbara Roberts and Portland entertainer Darcelle XV will receive the awards from Foundation co-founder Judy Shepard at the “Bear to Make a Difference” reception and silent auction Monday, March 29.
“As I have traveled across the country in the last decade to promote equality for all and an end to hatred based on people’s differences, I have always told people their voices are the most powerful tool in erasing hate,” said Judy Shepard, who with her husband Dennis created the Matthew Shepard Foundation in 1998 in memory of their son Matthew, murdered that year in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming. “We are privileged to be able to recognize two Oregonians who have been using their voices to do exactly that for many, many years.”
Gov. Roberts, who served from 1991 to 1995, remains the only woman elected governor of Oregon, and was known as a strong supporter of gay rights during her administration. She remains active in advancing civil rights, children’s health, women’s leadership, environmental and other positive social causes.
Darcelle XV, a Portland entertainment fixture for decades and prominent supporter of a wide range of charities, owns the Darcelle XV Showplace, and stars in the longest-running female impersonator show in the United States. She was recently named to the “Stonewall Trans Heroes 40” roster by the International Court Council and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.
The “Making a Difference” Award recognizes individuals and organizations for their unwavering and longstanding leadership in working towards a world free of hate. Previous recipients have included Moises Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theater Project; former NBA star and author John Amaechi; and former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.
The March 29 “Bear to Make a Difference” event will be held at, Wilf’s Restaurant and Bar, 800 NW 6th Avenue. With a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by a silent auction and an awards presentation. Judy Shepard, and Portland Mayor Sam Adams, will make special remarks. Tickets are $30 per person, and proceeds benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s educational and outreach programs. Tickets may be purchased online at:
Silent auction items include custom-designed, autographed teddy bears donated by Meryl Streep and Carol Burnett, among other items.
National sponsors for the benefit are MillerCoors and the International Court System, along with Silver sponsor Bling Dental and Bronze sponsors Wilf’s, PBS Design Group, and JustOut.
Special guests and other partners in the event include Poison Waters, Byron Beck, Bravado Home & Design, Live on Stage Productions and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.