REMEMBERING MATTHEW SHEPARD
farming communities across the United States scarecrows are used to frighten
birds from eating seeds in crops that have been recently planted. One fall day
in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, a bicyclist rode up on what he thought was a
scarecrow. When he got closer he found
it was not a scarecrow but the body of Matthew Shepard.
October 7, Shepard had been lead away to a desolate area by Aaron McKinney and
Russell Henderson. It was in the remote area that the two men brutally beat,
pistol whipped, and tied Shepard to a fence because his attackers believed him
to be gay.
bleeding and for dead, Shepard clung to life for almost 18 hours. He was rushed
to the hospital and fought five days for his life before succumbing to his
people who knew him said that the 21-year-old was a caring and loving individual
who believed in equality for all. His senseless and untimely death sent
shockwaves through the United States as well as other countries.
public outcry was fierce and people demanded justice. For sympathizers the
question was "why?" How could something
so horrific happen to someone so who was so good?
answer to this question may be hard to hear, but the answer is hate. Too many people
hate what they do not know and judge what they do not understand. If some were
more willing to have an open mind, it would not take tragic events like this
for the community to get the message.
bigotry, prejudice, and violence are things that poison the mind and help
create a continuous negative cycle that needs to be stopped. No two people are
the same, and by learning to live with others in a peaceful way we would not
have to attend another funeral of someone killed as a result of intolerance.
help create awareness and embrace diversity, Shepard's family created the
Matthew Shepard Foundation in hopes of educating those willing to learn and not
act on preconceived notions and prejudices.
October 12, 2010, remember Matthew Shepard and what he stood for. Remember that
your life and the lives of your loved ones are precious. Candlelight vigils
will be held across the United States to honor Shepard's memory.
information on Matthew Shepard and the Matthew Shepard Foundation visit, www.matthewshepard.org