Judy & Dennis Shepard: Your Words Give Us Hope

To our friends and supporters, new and established,

In the past month, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of letters and emails from all of you sending support and encouragement. At the beginning of December, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine—a documentary sharing Matt’s story as told by those who knew and loved him and created by friend Michele Josue—hit Netflix Instant Stream.

We’ve watched this film grow and Matt’s story find new life over the past three years. We participated in Q&A discussions on the national and international festival circuit, and its nationwide theatrical release, realizing our original hopes for Michele’s creative vision when starting this project.

In the short amount of time that’s passed since the film became widely available to viewers on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon, we’ve received countless messages of support, hope, encouragement and strength from all of you. Everything we’d hoped this film would inspire has come true. We miss Matt every day. But knowing that the story of the Matt we knew, the real Matt, is influencing so many to join our cause and share their stories, continues to fill us with hope. Hope that we’re making real progress in changing hearts and minds. Hope that the work we set out to do in Matt’s honor is not, was never, in vain.  Hope that our work and this film have made a difference in your life.  Hope that you will help us carry on the fight for equality for everyone.  

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank all of you for your kind words. Our ability to continue this vital work is entirely due to your continued support. We are grateful that so many of you see yourselves in Matt. In our travels, we always see pieces of Matt in people everywhere we go. That shows us that Matt is still with us and still with you.

Judy & Dennis Shepard