Hatred, bigotry, and discrimination “can’t just be left to slowly erode. By itself, it does not just “get better. And time is not our friend,” said Jason Marsden, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
Marsden said that during the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s 15th Annual Honors Gala in October of 2016. In that speech, he also highlighted the deadly frequency of hate crimes, which often lead to the murder of those targeted.
In October of 1998, 21-year old Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked and tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming. Days later, he died in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. Shepard’s murder became national news, led to the formation of the foundation, and inspired national hate crimes legislation.
“Every 90 minutes a reported hate crime occurs in America — and so do an estimated 2,700 unreported ones. This work can’t wait,” Marsden said.
Part of that work by the Matthew Shepard Foundation includes local outreach, and the latest example of that outreach will be the “Stay Proud, Be Loud: Panel on Hate Crimes” on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Pride Center, 2040 N. Dixie Hwy.
The event will include Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepherd, who will tell their and their son’s story. The panel will include LGBT advocates, law enforcement personnel, and government officials. The event will also feature South Florida hate crime statistics, the reporting of incidents, how to stay safe, and how to combat hatred here.
Visit www.matthewshepard.org/events/event/hate-crimes-panel to RSVP.