It has been 13 years since the death of Matthew Shepard, but he has not been forgotten.
Shepard was a 21-year-old college student when he was tied to a fence in a remote area, beaten and left for dead. A man riding his bicycle came upon what he thought was a scarecrow. It was Shepard, and he was in a coma. He would later die in a hospital.But his memory lives on.Many people took to Twitter to commemorate the day of Shepard’s death.
“RIP Matthew Shepard. 13th Anniversary of his death… So sad,” one person tweeted.Tweeted another: “Thinking of Matthew Shepard; how far we’ve come in 13 yrs; & how far we’ve yet to go. Keep spreading love & light.”Across the country, there are plans for screenings and showings of the film and play versions of “The Laramie Project.”
There are also plans for memorial services. Students at Ball State University in Indiana, for example, will hold a memorial service for Shepard and others who have been discriminated against due to their sexual orientation.
“We will have a candlelight vigil around the Quad and have people tell stories of times they felt bullied or harassed, basically just have a discussion about bullying,” student J.P. Bechtel, who organized the event, told the student newspaper The Ball State Daily News.Judy Shepard, Shepard’s mother and co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, wrote about the anniversary of her son’s death and what she has seen in her advocacy.
“The coming out stories that young people tell me, slowly, almost imperceptibly, got better,” she wrote in The Huffington Post. “More and more, the story ends not with a young person being turned out of the house, but affirmed, and accepted, lovingly. Every time I speak at a college somewhere in America, I am hoping I will hear another one like that.”