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Matthew Shepard was a gay college student from Wyoming who became a victim of a hate crime and died on October 12, 1998. News of his murder sparked outrage on a national and global scale.

That was twenty years ago this month, and he is not forgotten.

Matthew's parents, LGBTQ activists Judy and Dennis Shepard, are donating their son's personal belongings to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to ensure that his legacy will continue.



The Smithsonian will accept the donation from the Shepard family on October 25.

The collection will include papers from Matthew's academic years from elementary school through college; theater scripts, photographs, and notebooks.

In addition to his papers, the museum will also receive an assortment of objects including a child-sized cape, a wedding ring, sandals, and a purple ribbon award, according to local Wyoming station K2 Radio.

Students from George Mason University's School of Theater will perform excerpts from The Laramie Project as part of the event.

Written in 2000 by playwright Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, the play portrays the various reactions to Matthew Shepard's murder and spotlights the lack of anti-hate crime legislation at the time.

Matthew was 21 when he was tortured, beaten, and left for dead by his homophobic assailants, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, near Laramie on October 8, 1998.

A passing cyclist discovered the University of Wyoming student tied to a fence and in a coma 18 hours after the attack.

Matthew died in the hospital a few days later from severe head trauma.


Matthew's murder brought attention to hate crime legislation at national and federal levels, leading Congress to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law on October 28, 2009.

On Friday, Matthew's ashes were interred at the Washington National Cathedral.

His mother, Judy, issued a statement explaining the significance of the location as Matthew's final resting place.

"We've given much thought to Matt's final resting place, and we found the Washington National Cathedral is an ideal choice, as Matt loved the Episcopal church and felt welcomed by his church in Wyoming."
"For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt's story with the world. It's reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world."





We will never forget you, Matthew. Rest in peace.


H/T - Qvoice, YouTube, Twitter, HuffingtonPost, Wikipedia

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