15 years ago, Judy Shepard became more than just the mother of Matthew Shepard, she became the quintessential mother figure for the LGBT equality movement. Her tireless advocacy and nurturing soul have been an inspiration to millions.
Since the death of her son catapulted her into the national spotlight, Judy has spoken to countless schools, companies and community groups. From the United Nations to Walmart, the University of Notre Dame to Dade Community College in Florida, Judy’s message of love and compassion has changed the hearts and minds of every audience she addresses.
Today, we are asking you to celebrate the work of advocates like Judy, and your gift of $15 or more can help us capture the attention of stakeholders across the country.
Following in Judy’s footsteps, we are also excited to introduce you to Tania, mother of 17-year-old Jake, our newest Matthew’s Place blogger – whose story of bullying and death threats became the most viewed post in Matthew’s Place history.
Tania’s love for her son was clear and compelling from the very first email she ever sent us.
When Tania first approached the Foundation, her concern for her son’s safety was palpable. After writing about the torment Jake had felt, she wrote “To hear my son talk about all Matthew went through in his short life, brings tears to my eyes.”
In a reflection she wrote for Matthew’s Place, Tania (pictured left with her children) talks about attending every school board meeting until they implemented an anti-bullying program that would make school a safe place for Jake.
“I have seen my son cry and sob while curled up in a fetal position because he doesn’t understand why someone would want to kill him for being gay,” Tania wrote. “But you know, my kids will always have my heart, and my kiddos are remarkable young adults.“
The love that Tania shows Jake every day is inspiring. To see a dedicated mother like Tania putting her love in action making her community safer for LGBT students lets us know that there is hope, and that the memory of Matthew Shepard lives on.