Willamette students receive scholarship for supporting LGBT rights

by Jennifer Johnson,

A scholarship that recognizes Andy Blevins JD’19, MBA’19 for advancing justice for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people will help him expand his outreach.

Blevins and Carrie Elmore JD’19 recently received the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship, administered annually to a third or fourth-year law student through Oregon’s LGBTQ Bar Association.

The scholarship honors the Shepherds’ assiduous fight for gay and lesbian civil rights since their daughter came out to them in 1972. At least one Willamette student has received the scholarship every year since 2013.

Blevins says being chosen was “a humbling and empowering testament about how important the pursuit of queer justice is in our society.”

He says, “Not only will this honor help me increase the capacity of work I feel privileged to do for our queer military and veteran community, but it serves as confirmation to every closeted, weird, queer kid who has ever been made to feel ostracized or not worth it — keep pushing, keep fighting and you really will realize your wildest dreams.”

Elmore says it’s a privilege to be chosen as a scholar and to be counted among past and current recipients.

“As a queer white woman, receiving an award for this work highlights how much we have yet to do institutionally,” she says. “We not only need to bring more queer and trans people of color into law, but we also need to fully appreciate their contributions, effort and experience.”

 
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