A late night phone call on October 8, 1998 changed the lives of Judy and Dennis Shepard forever. That was the day they received word their son, Matthew, had been brutally beaten and was in a coma—because he was gay. He died four days later.
On Wednesday, April 23, Judy Shepard will visit Plymouth State College to share The Legacy of Matthew Shepard, at 7 p.m. in the Heritage Commons. By establishing the Matthew Shepard Foundation and sharing her son’s core values of respect and dignity for others, Shepard’s focus is the prevention of hate crimes. She will urge the audience to make schools and communities safer for everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.
Shepard’s presentation is the culmination of ALSO’s, the College’s gay-straight alliance, 25th anniversary celebration. The brutal death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo., caused a nationwide public outcry, and in the words of ALSO President Fran Page, “We have all been affected by the tragedy of Matt.” Page also states, “The presentation will hopefully open the eyes of the audience participants and help them gain a better understanding of hate crimes and how they continue to plague us. Also, (we hope) to gain tolerance and understanding of the GBLT (gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender) community.”
Judy Shepard’s presentation is free and open to the public, but free tickets are required. Tickets may be obtained at the PSC Box Office, Silver Cultural Arts Center, Monday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m. 535-ARTS. If tickets remain the night of the event, they will be available at the door.
For more information on this or other ALSO events, call the ALSO office at (603) 535-2796 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Matthew Shepard Foundation visit http://www.matthewsplace.com .