A GoFundMe which was set up to raise fund to install a memorial plaque where Matthew Shepard is laid to rest has exceeded its target.
The organisers say the plaque will be a “one-of-a-kind artistic memorial bronze adjacent to the Cathedral crypt, and to warmly welcome visitors in perpetuity”.
They said any funds received above costs will be donated to the Cathedral’s mission of social justice for all people”.
In 1998, student Matthew Shepard was murdered in a brutal homophobic attack in Laramie, Wyoming by roof workers who he met in a bar.
The 21 year-old was offered a lift home by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. He was then robbed, punched in the head over 20 times and bashed with a .357 magnum pistol that Aaron McKinney was carrying.
18 hours later, Matthew was found by two cyclists tied to a fence post bleeding, half frozen and shoeless.
Five days later, Matthew died from his horrific injuries in hospital.
His funeral was attended by mourners as well as homophobic picketers, and Matthew’s family never decided on a final resting place for him out of fear that it would be tarnished by homophobic vandals.
Most notably the anti-gay founder of the Westboro Baptist Church Fred Phelps wanted to build a monument against Shepard saying: “Matthew Shepard Entered Hell”.
In October 2018, Matthew was finally laid to rest at the Episcopal Church’s Washington National Cathedral in a private ceremony following a public remembrance service.
Although Matthew’s internment was a private event, the public remembrance service drew a huge crowd, and may become something of a pilgrimage stop within the LGBTQ community, said the cathedral’s chief communications officer, Kevin Eckstrom.
Matthew’s murder was so shocking that a law was introduced in his name, which allows prosecution of hate crimes against people because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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