by Brianna Nelson | After inspiring us with her story and her accomplishments as an activist at the 2005 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Denver, Judy Shepard will join us once again as a keynote speaker in Baltimore. She’s back with more insight and news of her invaluable contribution to the struggle for equal rights.
As you may know, Judy is the mother of Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student who was attacked and murdered in 1998 due to his sexual orientation. After bartering for the mercy of Matthew’s attackers, Judy dedicated herself to a life of LGBT advocacy. Judy and Dennis Shepard founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation to support LGBT acceptance for all—and for youth in particular.
Since she last joined us at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Judy has published her book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder and a World Transformed. The book details the story of her much-loved son “Matt who just happened to be gay” as well as the international significance and aftermath of his murder.
Additionally, for the last fourteen years Judy has worked to promote an extension to federal hate crime law to include crimes against perceived gender, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. After the act was dropped in 2007 when President Bush threatened to veto the legislation, Judy and the Matthew Shepard Foundation did not give up, pushing forward the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act. President Obama signed the act into law in 2009, extending the first federal protection of this kind to trans individuals.
You can watch video highlights from past keynote speakers including Judy here. But we’d also love for you to join us to see her again in Baltimore this fall, October 29-November 1. Register for the 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Summit easily online. Judy will be joining us as a featured speaker at the Opening Plenary on Tuesday, October 30.