Judy Shepard is basically the hardest working gay rights activist in the universe. The Wyoming-based mama has been campaigning nearly non-stop for a decade, since her son Matthew was beaten and left for dead.
Sure, fighting for inclusive hate crimes law’s ain’t easy, but Shepard says it’s worth it.
“I’m just somebody’s mom who got really angry at the system and felt I had the opportunity to make a change,” Shepard said.
Her stump speech brings Matthew to life – his strong opinions, passion for politics, generous nature, short temper. It’s also peppered with references to hope and barbs at the Bush administration.
The work is exhausting, but it has kept her family from becoming victims, she said in an interview afterward.
“In my own mind, speaking like I did today, that is my grief process,” Shepard said. “I get to keep Matthew with me.”
Another thing she’ll keep with her – a distaste for his killers. There’s no forgiving and forgetting here: “It’s not a part of my process… I don’t blame them 100 percent. I sort of blame society for creating the environment to make them think they could get away with it.” Wag that finger, mama!