Mother and Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation
The story told in Beyond Hatred is in many ways similar to what my family experienced in our grieving process. The viewer sees the family’s confusion surrounding the attack on their son and the ultimate understanding of the family that the process will change them forever. Their worldview will no longer be one of isolation and innocence.
The story reminds us all that this kind of hatred and violence is universal in its expression and scope. No part of the world is immune from the kind of bigotry and hate described in the film.
When our son Matthew died, Dennis and I started the Matthew Shepard Foundation, hoping that we could provide some kind of help to those experiencing the kind of hate discussed in the film. It has become a clearinghouse of information and education for people trying to make changes in their communities. Please remember that one person can make a difference.
In October 1998, Judy and Dennis Shepard lost their 21-year-old son, Matthew, to a murder motivated by anti-gay hate. Matthew’s death moved many thousands of people around the world to attend vigils and rallies in his memory. Determined to prevent others from suffering their son’s fate, Judy and Dennis established the Matthew Shepard Foundation to carry on Matthew’s legacy. The Foundation is dedicated to working toward the causes championed by Matthew during his life: social justice, diversity awareness & education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Under Judy’s leadership, the Foundation has become a well-established, highly effective and much respected institution in the civil rights community. She has spoken to over one million young people about the impact of hate speech and violence, the importance of understanding and appreciating diversity in all of its forms and has inspired countless individuals and communities to play a role in making the world a safer place for all of us.