This is hot off the press! A statement was read today, Wednesday, October 16th on behalf of Judy and Dennis Shepard at the Department of Justice commemorative event to mark the historic 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The statement was blistering in nature and specifically calls out the Department of Justice and Attorney General William Barr. Here is a quote from the full statement:
“Mr. Barr represents the government and he is well-suited and has the power to change hearts and minds to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity among all groups of people, and drive out the forces of hate. As the head of the Department of Justice, he can take a stand as a member of this administration to disavow and condemn any person who fuels the fires of hate with their words and actions. He must lead and demonstrate his refusal to accept hate in all its manifestations. He must demonstrate courage, even if it means disagreeing with the administration. So far, he has done none of these deeds.
We find it interesting and hypocritical that he would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while, at the same time, asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees.
Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways. If you believe that employers should have the right to terminate transgender employees, just because they are transgender, then you believe they are lesser than and not worthy of protection. If so, you need not invite us to future events at the Department of Justice that are billed as celebrating the law that protects these same individuals from hate crimes. Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy.”Judy & Dennis Shepard
For those of you don’t know, Judy & Dennis Shepard are the parents of Matthew Shepard. Matthew was beaten, tied to a fence post overnight in severely cold weather, and left for dead because he was gay. Matthew passed away four days later and helped spurn a national conversation about homophobia and hate. Along with the brutal and racist slaying of Dennis Byrd Jr. these two cases, and the public outcry that went with both, gave birth to the Hate Crimes Act. If you want to read the full statement you can after the jump. If you want to learn more about the Matthew Shepard Foundation you can here!