Statement from Judy Shepard on the Murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Dennis and I, and the entire board and staff of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, stand with all who are grieving the loss of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado in one of the most shockingly brutal hate crimes in Puerto Rico’s history.

While we are grateful to the local law enforcement officials for their swift work to apprehend the suspect in this terrible crime, we remain deeply saddened that yet another family should have to suffer the pain of such a tragedy, and that such breathtaking violence continues to be directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are simply trying to live their lives honestly and openly.

For another young person to lose their life and be taken from their family and community due to fear, prejudice and hatred is simply unacceptable. Each of us who believe in freedom and equality must remain vocal, active, and unrelenting in calling for justice.

Our thoughts are with Mr. Lopez, all who knew and loved him, the members of his community and the millions worldwide who have been touched by his senseless death. Our family and the Foundation will continue to work to prevent similar tragedies in any way we can.

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