In Pictures: Judy Shepard and A.G. Eric Holder
Last night, the Office for the Victims of Crime held its annual National Observance and Candlelight Ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this year featuring Attorney General Eric Holder and keynote speaker Judy Shepard.
Though the observance was intended to voice support for the rights of victims of all forms of crime, Holder spoke glowingly of Shepard’s relentless advocacy for the rights of hate crimes victims in particular. He cited her son’s murder as a turning point in public outrage over anti-LGBT hate crimes, as well as her role in pressing for the creation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which drew a loud and unscripted round of applause. In her speech, Shepard briefly recounted the horror and anguish that she and her husband suffered through. She praised the overwhelming support that they received from the Laramie P.D. and the U.S. Department of Justice, which helped them to rise above their feelings of deep frustration at a criminal justice system that seemed, she said, to value the rights of their son’s killers more than those of their son.
Speakers (in order of appearance) -
- Voices of Praise Choir
- Joye Frost – Acting Director, Office for Victims of Crime
- Ronald Machen Jr – U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
- Laurie Robinson – Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs
- Eric Holder – Attorney General of the United States
- Judy Shepard
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