International music sensation/Portland native Thomas Lauderdale returns to the scene of an annual benefit he launched two decades ago: A Class Act, the 20th annual benefit for the Bill & Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund of Equity Foundation, on Friday, April 25th, at The Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 curtain.
Quoth Lauderdale: “I started this whole thing off for you; don’t you think I should come back and do your 20th anniversary show?” The reception following 50 non-stop minutes of Lauderdale’s breath-taking program showcases sinful savories and decadent desserts from some of Portland’s finest bakeries, including Piece of Cake, Cupcake Jones and Old Wives Tales.
Shepherd Scholars, beneficiaries of the benefit, are 3rd and 4th year law students dedicated to donating their legal expertise to fighting bigotry and discrimination, particularly in the area of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Synonymous with the birth and rapid early growth of the gay/lesbian/ transgender civil rights movement in Oregon, the late Bill and Ann Shepherd, parents of lesbian daughters and a transgendered son, defied countless death threats in the mid-1970’s to co-found what would become the first chapter in Oregon of the International Federation of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – PFLAG.
PFLAG provides educational and emotional support to individuals in distress about the coming out process. Bill practiced law for over 56 years in Oregon; his career was a continuum of service to the Oregon State Bar, fledgling law students and civil liberties causes. Bill and Ann’s passion for justice continues to be reflected in their belief that only through education do people exchange their bigotry for a heart of love and acceptance.
Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door, and are available online for a modest ticket fee. To purchase a pew seating 10 for $350 or for more information, call 503-286-1752. Class Act highlights are now on Facebook.