Matthew Shepard: 13 years ago today

6 Oct

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was the 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.

Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.

The outcries for justice and for greater protections were immediate and resonating.

Since then, Matthew’s mother Judy has made it her personal mission to protect all young LGBT people from Matthew’s horrific fate. In founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation, she has created safe spaces in and outside of schools for kids, and worked with parents to ensure their children learn to erase hate from their lives.

But overwhelmingly what you saw in 1998 was a community ready to act, ready to change something. And Matthew’s story was the catalyst for that. Many of you have seen or read the Moises Kaufman play, The Laramie Project – Matthew’s story as told through interviews of those who were living in Laramie at the time – some of his friends and some who just happened to be riding a bike through the plains of Wyoming that day. If you think of nothing else today, please consider the importance of telling your story – how your story can change the world around you.

This young boy, unbeknownst to him, has changed the world with his.

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9 Responses to “Matthew Shepard: 13 years ago today”

  1. Michael J. Garceau October 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Rest in peace, Matthew. We will never forget you or what you went through on that fateful day. We will continue the fight, no matter how difficult, for equal rights for all gay and transgendered people of this supposedly united nation. Watch over us, bud!

  2. A.C. October 7, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    my heart still aches every time i think about how scared he must have been and how hopeless he must have felt.

    • Gunita Singh October 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      I know… it is quite haunting :( God bless anyone who also deals with such hopelessness and allow them to remember that there is always hope.

  3. mthoffman October 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    I can’t believe it was that long ago. That’s crazy. R.I.P.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Remembering Matthew Shepard 13 Years After His Brutal Murder | Accidental Bear - October 7, 2011

    [...] Thirteen years ago today, Matthew Shepard was fatally attacked because he was gay. Read reflections from bloggers John Aravosis, David Badash, and Jamie McGonnigal. [...]

  2. Midday open thread | Hotspyer – Breaking News from around the web - October 7, 2011

    [...] was thirteen years ago today: On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t [...]

  3. Midday open thread - Online Political Blog - October 7, 2011

    [...] was thirteen years ago today: On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t [...]

  4. Midday open thread - October 8, 2011

    [...] was thirteen years ago today: On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn?t [...]

  5. Top 12 News Today » Remembering Matthew Shepard: 13 Years Later – Huffington Post - October 12, 2011

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