Judy Shepard is an activist and co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is dedicated to social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Judy is also the mother of Matthew Shepard, victim of the well-known hate-crime murder that took place in Laramie, WY in 1998.
Synonymous with gay rights, Matthew Shepard’s tragic murder has forever changed the way people view hate crimes in the U.S. At the time of his murder, however, federal hate-crime laws didn’t exist to protect people attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender. But Matthew’s story, which was immortalized in the play “The Laramie Project,” (and a film of the same name) and performed in hundreds of schools and theaters across the country, would help lead to the kind of awareness necessary for the Matthew Shepard Act, a bill to expand federal hate-crimes laws which was signed into law just last year by President Obama.
But what do we really know about Judy Shepard and her son Mathew? What do we really know about their relationship before Matthew’s horrific hate-crime murder would occur?
In The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed, Judy Shepard reveals for the first time in book form about her loss, sharing memories of Matthew, their life as a typical American family, and the pivotal event in a small college town that changed everything. Believe me, this is not some puff piece either. Shepard digs deeply into a relationship we know little about and, warts and all, shares a powerful and touching story that is a must-read book for June.
You can meet Judy Shepard in person on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 (7 p.m.) at
Borders Books and Music
100 S. Brand Blvd.
Frank Mundo, The LA Books Examiner, is scheduled to interview Judy Shepard soon for an upcoming article on the site. Until then, check out this powerful excerpt from Chapter One of the New York Times bestselling book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed by Judy Shepard, which is now available in paperback:
Read the excerpt at Frank Mundo’s LA Books Examiner