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.
A collection of Matthew Shepard’s papers and personal objects will be given to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of… https://t.co/LatoAKVriM— huffpostqueer (@huffpostqueer)1540135808.0
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.
A collection of Matthew Shepard's papers and personal objects will be donated to the Smithsonian. The 21-year-old d… https://t.co/nOUzn0NKr4— KNBN-TV Rapid City (@KNBN-TV Rapid City)1539986628.0
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.
As part of the presentation, students from George Mason University’s School of Theater will perform excerpts from "… https://t.co/XkUplK80I8— Laramie Live (@Laramie Live)1539806408.0
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.
@judyschear @MattShepardFDN He was beautiful. His death changed my life. I have never forgotten. My heart still ach… https://t.co/PQyjQ6j3Vd— RETIRED O R (@RETIRED O R)1539353399.0
@MattShepardFDN I'm crying. Never have I forgotten the horror of what he went through. And his family.— Colleen (@Colleen)1539283535.0
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.
Family of #MatthewShepard donates collection of his personal items to #Smithsonian https://t.co/FIZY0YKRho— Nicholas Lex Patrick (@Nicholas Lex Patrick)1539887623.0
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."
@WNCathedral For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt’s story with the world. It’s reassuring to know he now will… https://t.co/jEkm0mKYLp— Sharon (@Sharon)1539307448.0
We are relieved and pleased to know that Matt's final resting place will be among other American heroes and dignita… https://t.co/sfIZ03u7HN— Matthew Shepard (@Matthew Shepard)1539279887.0
@nytimes What a lovely final testing place for this child of God. In death, his life has brought so much light to m… https://t.co/YPfkIxDuMh— Chris Haber Ritacca (@Chris Haber Ritacca)1539272976.0
@nytimes @RoArquette We should all remember and never forget. What saddens me most is what could have been for thi… https://t.co/CUpUReahhF— Neeko (@Neeko)1539278670.0
@huffpostqueer We will never forget you Matthew. 🏳️🌈— jr🔺️T (@jr🔺️T)1540140057.0
We will never forget you, Matthew. Rest in peace.