Remember? Matthew Shepard ….. Never forget!


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~~October 12, 2014~~

Today we memorialize the death of Matthew Shepard, 17 years ago today. He died from injuries sustained in a hate crime several days earlier, having never woken up. He was left for dead, lashed to a fence in the bitter cold of a Wyoming winter.

What some people don’t know is this was not the first time this poor young man had experienced the horror of violent crime. Three years earlier, on a class trip to Morocco, he was beaten and raped. Almost to much to comprehend the torture this man endured during his short adulthood.

Today he would be just a few months shy of his 38th birthday.

“As it appears in … “

https://www.facebook.com/bloggingforchange

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Matthew Shepard

(1976 – 1998)

Since 1998, the legacy of this remarkable young man’s life has challenged and inspired millions of  individuals to erase hate in all forms. Although his life was short, it  continues to have a great impact on both young and old alike.

The story of Matthew Wayne Shepard begins on December 1, 1976 when he was  born prematurely to Judy and Dennis Shepard in the small city of Casper, Wyoming. Matthew attended school in Casper until his junior year of  high school when he finished his primary education at The American School in Switzerland. His experience abroad fueled his love for travel. He took the opportunity to explore Europe and learn multiple languages including German and Italian.

Matthew was an optimistic and accepting young man. He always put his  family and friends first and had a special gift of relating to almost  everyone. He was the type of person that was very approachable and always looked to new challenges. Matthew had a great passion for equality and always stood up for the acceptance of people’s differences. Throughout his life he expressed his love for acting by becoming very  active in community theater both on and off stage.

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Matthew’s college career took him to a number of different  universities and later ended up studying political science, foreign relations and languages at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He was extremely interested in politics and was chosen as the student representative for the Wyoming Environmental Council.

Shortly after midnight on October 7 1998, Matthew Shepard, met Aaron James McKinney and Russel Arthur Henderson in a bar. After Shepard admitted he was gay, they talked him into leaving with  them, at which point they drove to a secluded location outside Laramie, stole his wallet, tied him to a fence, pistol-whipped him senseless, and left him for dead in freezing weather. He was discovered 18 hours later, his unconscious body initially mistaken for a scarecrow.

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Matthew died on October 12 at 12:53 am at a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. His entire family was by his side for the last few days of  his life. His funeral was attended by friends and family from around the world and gained the appropriate media attention that brought Matthew’s story to the forefront of the fight against hate.

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Matthew was promptly made an example of by the Right Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, who claimed divine  retribution had killed Shepard for the sin of being a homosexual.  

Phelps and his flock picketed Shepard’s funeral on 17 October 1998,  holding signs proclaiming “GOD HATES FAGS” and similar slogans, later  installing a “memorial” on the church website which proclaims: Matthew Shepard has been in hell for 2102 days. Eternity – 2102 days = Eternity.

This tragedy helped the world wake up to the fact that hate and discrimination still lives in our communities, our schools and our  families.

Although his life was cut short, the impact of his spirit is great.

~~MATTHEW’S GALLERY~~

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The Matthew Shepard Foundation

Was founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son.

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Created to honor Matthew in a manner that was appropriate to his  dreams, beliefs, and aspirations, the Foundation seeks to “Replace Hate  with Understanding, Compassion, & Acceptance” through its varied  educational, outreach and, advocacy programs and by continuing to tell  Matthew’s story.

MISSION

To encourage respect for human dignity and difference by raising awareness, opening dialogues, and promoting positive change.

VISION

To “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion, and Acceptance”  through a variety of educational and outreach programs, and by  continuing to tell Matthew’s story.

DESIRED OUTCOME

To persuade people to think differently, behave differently, and inform others of the importance and value of diversity.

We ALL are ONE!!!

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~~Matthew Shepard’s Story~~

~~Uploaded on Jan 5, 2012~~

This video was produced for the American Giving Awards presented by Chase. The Matthew Shepard Foundation competed for a share of $2 million in grants. The Foundation ended up receiving $250,000 thanks to our many supporters. For more information on the Foundation visit http://www.MatthewShepard.org and http://www.MatthewsPlace.com

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16 thoughts on “Remember? Matthew Shepard ….. Never forget!

  1. Pingback: Remember? Matthew Sheppard ….. Never forget! | One Pride Network

  2. Pingback: Why I want to run for political office…but won’t. | The 30-Second Soapbox

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  3. The Matthew Shepard Foundation has done much good in his memory. Hopefully someday hate crimes like this will be a fading page in old dusty history books.

    Like

  4. I think about Mathiew often, I have been disowned by my family, beaten for being gay even fired, and I would give my life to bring this young man back, I feel his pain and cry for him, and those who loved him.

    Liked by 1 person

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