Matthew Shepard’s mother visits Santa Cruz in support of a new book that details her journey to becoming an activist
It’s been 11 years since a brutal hate crime left a 21-year-old gay college student dead and focused the nation’s attention on little town in Wyoming. On Oct. 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard died, five days after searchers found him beaten, robbed and bound to a fence—left to freeze in the frigid, Laramie, Wyo., air. Back then it was hard to view the murder as anything less than a tragic tale of oppression—an example of a dark and viciously intolerant side to America. But today, more than a decade later, glimmers of hope sparkle among the ruins of an otherwise morbid scene. Shepard’s life became more recognized that day, and in his death the gay rights community found a common catalyst for action.