8 years ago today, hate in its most vicious form stole the life of my son Matthew. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday, but then I reflect on all of the progress that has been made since 1998 to erase hate in our society - progress made in part because of what happened to Matthew. That is why on this day each year, the Matthew Shepard Foundation seeks to do something proactive to keep the tide of positive change moving forward.
Today we are launching our National Get Out The Vote Campaign to encourage everyone in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and allied community to let their voice be heard and vote on November 7th. If Matthew were alive today, I know he would tell you:
REGISTER! LEARN! PASS IT ON! VOTE!!! STAY INVOLVED!
It's your right, your duty and your future. But, I have one more request to make of you - a very special request. Since Matthew can no longer exercise his right to vote, a right he cherished, I ask that you PLEDGE TO VOTE FOR MATTHEW on November 7th. Commit to sharing your voice with Matthew, commit to using your primary right as an American, commit to playing a role in determining the future of your community.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation is also officially launching our new website today. We are still putting some finishing touches on the site, but it is a website we are proud of and hope you will visit often. It was designed with you in mind. It provides the most detailed information about Matthew, the Foundation and how YOU can make a difference in the world.
Thank you for your continued support. If not for you, the Matthew Shepard Foundation would not be able to continue our work to "Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion & Acceptance".
Judy Shepard - Excutive Director