MARQUETTE, MI– The mother of Matthew Shepard, the college student beaten and murdered in Laramie, Wyo., in October 1998 because he was homosexual, will be at Northern Michigan University Wednesday, Oct. 23. Judy Shepard will speak out against hate crimes and promote tolerance of others regardless of race, sex, religion or sexual orientation at 7 p.m. in the Great Lakes Rooms.

Matthew Shepard has been described as having a big heart. His fight for social justice was central to his life. In the aftermath of Matthew’s death, Judy and her husband Dennis started the Matthew Shepard Foundation ( to help carry on their son’s legacy by embracing the causes he had championed. These included working for gay and lesbian equality and helping to prevent hate crimes.

Judy Shepard testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in May 1999. She appeared in two Human Rights Campaign public service television spots during the autumn of 1999. These were aimed at curbing anti-homosexual violence and promoting a greater understanding of homosexual issues. She also appeared in another television public service announcement sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network in September 1999.

Judy Shepard says she is determined to use her grief to make a difference by doing what she can to ensure that no other parent will have to endure what she has.

Her visit to NMU is sponsored by Platform Personalities. The event is free to NMU students and $2 for non-students.

Prepared By
Jessica Holman