Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, the Laramie, Wyoming, college student whose 1998 murder inspired the federal hate-crime prevention act of 2009, will speak in Louisville for the first time at 3:30pm, Wednesday, October 23, at the Brown Theatre on Broadway Avenue. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets can be reserved in advance by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, and will also be available at the door on the day of the event.
Shepard’s visit is part of a series of Brown-Forman employee events in October focused on raising awareness of bullying and violence toward lesbian, gay, bi-sexual , transgender people. The events are hosted by B.Y.O.D., Brown-Forman’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and ally Employee Resource Group.
Shepard will discuss her son’s legacy and 2009 memoir, “The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie and a World Transformed,” a moving, intimate look at how her entire life and fight for equal rights changed when her son was killed. Speaking from a mother’s perspective, Shepard has made the prevention of hate crimes the focus of her efforts, and urges her audiences to make their schools and communities safe for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or gender identity and/or expression. Carmichael’s Bookstore will have signed copies of Ms. Shepard’s book available for purchase before and following the free, public talk.
Shepard and her husband founded the nonprofit Matthew Shepard Foundation to advocate for gay and lesbian rights and hate-crime prevention. As a well-known national diversity speaker, she has spoken to a variety of audiences about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues. Shepard has appeared in two Human Rights Campaign advertisements and is actively involved with Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).