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A hate crime (sometimes termed a “bias crime”) is defined by law as an act where the offender targets his or her victim specifically due to one or more personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression.

Judy and Dennis, dedicate their lives to strengthening hate crime laws and raising awareness of the violence the LGBTQ+ community face. In October 2009, the Shepards joined President Barack Obama as he signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. It expanded prior federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

How We’re Making Communities Safer:

  • We collaborate with the Department of Justice to coordinate law enforcement trainings across the country.
  • We convene and participate in hate crimes coalitions in several major metropolitan areas.
  • We help improve relations between law enforcement and communities for better awareness and knowledge for reporting or preventing hate crimes.
  • We conduct groundbreaking research into ways we can improve the accuracy of hate crimes data.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation provides a variety of services:

  • Media resources, including photography and video
  • Historical background and cultural context
  • Creative consultation
  • Post-show discussions and community conversations

Where we’re speaking: