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Students receive scholarship for commitment to LGBTQ rights

May 26, 2017

  • Hugo Gonzalez-Venegas '18
  • Demi Jacques '18

Rising third-year law students Demi Jacques and Hugo Gonzalez-Venagas, were honored recently as recipients of the Bill and Ann Shepherd Scholarship. The award recognizes law students in Oregon who are committed to equal rights and justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. The award is sponsored by OGALLA, Oregon’s LGTBQ bar association.

Jacques is co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild at Lewis & Clark, externed in India for the Human Rights Network, and spent over 100 hours doing volunteer work during the 2016-17 school year. She says her life improved once she came out as a bisexual woman and that she feels privileged to be out. “I want to wield that privilege with purpose and responsibility,” she said. “I will always work to ensure LGBTQ+ voices are uplifted and heard.”

Gonzalez-Venegas, an immigrant from Mexico who became a U.S. citizen in 2011, came out at the age of 16. He says the LGBTQ community in Portland was vastly different than today. He was kicked out of his home and that, while there were some safe spaces like Phoenix Rising and Harry’s Mother, there just weren’t enough. “I have dedicated my life to helping those with no voice: immigrants, LGBTQ, children, elders, people of color, and oppressed groups trying to live in this country,” he said. Gonzalez-Venegas is active in several student organization and is also a Lezak Fellows Scholar.

Applications for the scholarship are due at the end of March each year. Jackie Sandmeyer, a student at Willamette School of Law, was another 2017 recipient.

To learn more about the Bill and Ann Shepherd Scholarship, contact OGALLA at



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