In her continuing role as board president, Ms. Shepard travels across the nation speaking to audiences about what they can do as individuals and communities to make this world a more accepting place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation.
Speaking from a mother’s perspective, Judy also authored a 2009 memoir, “The Meaning of Matthew,” exploring the family’s journey through the prosecution of Matthew’s assailants, the ensuing media coverage, and their continuing work to advance civil rights. Originally trained as a teacher, Mrs. Shepard holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Secondary Education from the University of Wyoming where she later pursued some post-graduate studies.
Executive Director of SMYAL (Sexual Minorities Youth Assistance League)
SMYAL supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. Through youth leadership, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills, and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains, and advocates for programs, policies, and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood. Joining Mr. Shakir on the panel will be a member of SMYAL’s youth community.
About The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson was named Vice President of Religion and Senior Pastor at Chautauqua Institution September 1, 2017. He was elected Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, becoming the first openly gay and partnered priest to be elected Bishop in historic Cristendom. He served as IX Bishop of New Hampshire until his retirement in early 2013. A Senior Fellow at both the Center for American Progress and Auburn Seminary, Bishop Robinson is a celebrated interfaith leader whose ministry has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, utilizing his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation. He is the author of In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (Morehouse, 2006) and God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage (Knopf, 2012). In addition to being a popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, he writes opinion columns on a variety of topics for The Daily Beast, Huffington Post and Time.com.
(Note: This biography was up-to-date as of the date of the lecture. Biographies are not updated over time.)