Yesterday, the Capital Pride Alliance announced that Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights for two decades, will be Grand Marshals of this year’s Parade. The Parade will take place June 9, 2018, beginning at 4:30 pm, in Washington, D.C., as part of a week of Pride-related events (click here for a full schedule).
“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, including the Capital Pride Heroes Gala this Thursday, June 7, and the Pride Brunch, this Saturday, June 9.
“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.
Many LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly trans people of color, are disproportionately impacted by violence. The Shepard Foundation, Casa Ruby, Marriott International, and the Capital Pride Alliance are working together to turn that around.
“As the (Shepard) 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, Capital Pride Alliance Board President. “The Shepards’ tireless work is an inspiration as we continue to work towards a more accepting, resilient, and united community.”