Miami Beach Pride is proud to announce their 2019 Ally Marshals, who will be helping kick off Pride’s 11th annual celebration on Miami Beach. This year’s Ally Marshals will be Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard and founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Coming off of the 20th anniversary of the attack on University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard, the Matthew Shepard Foundation has been working tirelessly to erase hate crimes and foster understanding, compassion, and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

Leading these efforts, Judy and Dennis Shepard have spent two decades working to provide a safe place for LGBTQ youth, and educate parents and allies on how to stand up for the LGBTQ community. Judy and Dennis were also instrumental in helping pioneer the first federal legislation against hate crimes, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“We are incredibly honored to have Judy and Dennis Shepard be our Miami Beach Pride Ally Marshals this year, and to honor them for their unwavering support and tireless work in the LGBTQ community.” said Bruce Horwich, Chairman of Miami Beach Pride. “Their dedication to increasing safety, visibility, and inclusiveness for the LGBTQ community has affected positive change and improved the lives of many LGBTQ youth.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be a part of Miami Beach Pride. Miami has always been a friendly place for the Foundation, though we know we have much more work to do down there. Hate crime reporting is very low, which does not match up with the known issues in South Florida.” said Jason Marsden, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. “We hope that by representing our Foundation and reminding people of Matt, we can encourage both those affected by hate crimes and law enforcement to step up, connect, and do a better job for LGBTQ+ community of Miami Beach.”

The Matthew Shepard Foundation empowers individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy and resource programs. We strive to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance. Learn more and donate at matthewshepard.org.

Via Press Release