Jennifer Lewis commends Virginia House of Delegates for memorializing Matthew Shepard

Jennifer LewisIn advance of Judy Shepard’s visit to Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District, Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax) today motioned to adjourn the special session of Virginia’s House of Delegates in the memory of Matthew Shepard, 20 years after his murder.

Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming – because of his sexual orientation. His mother, Judy Shepard, and his father Dennis, created the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and they helped pioneer the nation’s first federal hate crimes legislation, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. President Barack Obama signed the Act into law in 2009.

Delegate Sickles’ motion represents the only state legislative recognition of Matthew Shepard this year. Even more, it is the first recognition by Virginia’s legislature of Matthew Shepard at all.

Jennifer Lewis, for whom Judy Shepard is hosting a fundraiser on September 13th in Staunton, issued the following statement:

“I want to thank Delegate Sickles for his motion in honor of Matthew Shepard. Judy Shepard has been gracious enough to join us in Virginia next month, and today the House of Delegates signaled that our Commonwealth aspires to be one that values and respects every citizen – regardless of who you love.”

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