Sunday, October 12, 2008

Matthew

Today is the 10-year anniversary of the day Matthew Shepard died, six days after he was brutally beaten for being gay.

To mark the anniversary of Matthew's death, Barack Obama issued the following statement:
Today, we pause to remember the heartbreaking and senseless murder of Matthew Shepard. A freshman at the University of Wyoming, Matthew was a young man committed to fighting for equality and changing the world around him. He was tragically taken from us far too early, an innocent victim of an abhorrent hate crime, and never had the chance to see his dreams realized.

In the ten years since Matthew's passing, Congress has repeatedly and unacceptably failed to enact a federal hate crimes law that would protect all LGBT Americans. That's not just a failure to honor Matthew’s memory; it's a failure to deliver justice for all who have been victimized by hate crimes, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. All Americans deserve to live their lives free of fear, and as Americans, it is our moral obligation to stand up against bigotry and strive for equality for all.

Today, Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Matthew's parents, Judy and Dennis, and to all whose lives have been touched by unconscionable violence
Matthew's parents established The Matthew Shepard Foundation in the aftermath of his death. I got to meet Matthew's mother, Judy, when she was in Chattanooga as the featured guest at a fundraiser for a LGBT organization. She's a moving speaker whose incredible love for her son has been redirected into a passion for activism and an intense desire to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance. After her speech, she patiently stuck around until everyone who lingered was able to have a few private words with her, and she demonstrated a real desire to hear each personal story that was shared with her. She made a genuine connection with so many people in such a short time, and left our area with many new Chattanooga friends. If you ever have the opportunity, go see her when she's in your neck of the woods. And in the meantime, here's a segment from MSNBC (via towleroad):


2 comments:

A Free Man said...

I didn't realize that it was 10 years ago. Such a shameful moment in American history. All the more shameful considering the legislated homophobia that we've been allowing ever since.

Jill said...

Wow, thank you so much for your post Alice. This happened my sophomore year of college, and I remember how angry I was. It was personal to me because I thought of my LGBT friends, and this happening to them. How shameful that we have continued to fail at passing legislation that respects and protects the LGBT community.