Gay-Straight Alliance

Shepard Speaks At Gay-Straight Alliance Event

By Delcie Kincaid
News Editor •


Advocate and mother Judy Shepard was the guest speaker at the Aug. 19th Gay-Straight Alliance event on the campus of NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

Shepard’s son was a victim of a hate crime in October 1998 in Wyoming. The impact of his death has led his family to crusade for what they believe his life meant – understanding and equality for everyone. Not only was this event geared towards tolerance for the gay and trans-gendered community, it was also meant for all biases.

“Matt showed me how good life can be and, ultimately, how hurtful,” Shepard said. “He was my son, my friend.”

A short film prefaced Shepard’s discussion. The film touched on hate crimes towards gay and trans-gendered people and on minority races. The film also told the story of a black man, James Byrd, Jr., who was dragged to his death behind a pick-up truck.

Shepard’s advice to the audience? “Educate! Educate! Educate!” And vote. “Get busy and work on somebody’s campaign. We’ve moved beyond tolerance.”

Visit the Web site devoted to Matthew at For more information on the alliance, visit or call Amy Robertson-Gann at (479) 619-2660.


Delcie Kincaid / News Editor
Judy Shepard discussed on Aug. 19 her experience of losing a child to a hate crime, her drive to strengthen hate crime legislation and her efforts to carry on her son's message of respect and dignity for others. Shepard's son, Matthew, was murdered in October 1998 in Wyoming. The event was sponsored by NWACC's Gay-Straight Alliance. For more information on Matthew Shepard, visit and for more information on the alliance, visit or call Amy Robertson-Gann at (479) 619-2660.

For questions/comments on this content, please contact Mike Willard.