Ten years after he was murdered, the appalling facts of Matthew Shepard's death in Laramie, Wyoming, have not become easier to grapple with. The 21-year-old college student was pistol-whipped, beaten, and robbed before his attackers, Russell Arthur Henderson and Aaron James McKinney, tied Shepard to a split-rail fence and left him for dead in the freezing predawn. Hours later, a passerby found Shepard, who had a fractured skull and several bleeding wounds. Shepard died a few days later. The motive for killing Shepard was simple: He was gay. But Shepard's family has found strength in their grief. They created the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which works to eliminate hate by promoting tolerance throughout the country, and his death has put a new focus on expanding hate crime legislation to include GLBT victims. To mark the decade since she lost her son, Shepard's mother, Judy, will be in Minneapolis to speak at a candlelight vigil in Loring Park. Following the vigil, there will be a staging at the Woman's Club of The Laramie Project, a play examining how Shepard's murder rocked the small Wyoming town, with actor T.R. Knight from Grey's Anatomy. The vigil is open to the public. Tickets to The Laramie Project are $65-$100, with proceeds benefiting the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Go to www.matthewshepard.org/minneapolis or call 303.830.7400, ext. 11 for tickets.
Mon., Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m., 2008