The mother of slain gay student Matthew Shepard has spoken out against Donald’s Trump’s candidacy for president of the United States.
“I’ve seen what can happen as a result of hate,” says Judy Shepard in a 60 second advert in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign that highlights Trump’s racist, violent and bigoted statements.
“When I see the hate that Donald Trump brings to his campaign for president, it terrifies me,” explains Judy. “Words have an influence. Violence causes pain. Hate can rip us apart. I know what can happen as the result of hate, and Donald Trump should never be our president.”
Matthew was just 21-years-old when he was brutally assaulted and tortured in 1998 by two men who left him tied to a fence to die in Laramie, Wyoming.
He was still alive when he was discovered by a cyclist and was taken to hospital with severe head and brain injuries. He never recovered and passed away six days later. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were found guilty of the murder and were each sentenced to two-consecutive life sentences.
Matthew’s mother and father, Dennis, went on to become vocal LGBT activists and played a major role in lobbying for hate crime legislation in the US.
A hate crime law signed by President Obama in 2009 was named “The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” honouring the memory of the young gay man as well another victim of hate violence, an African-American man who was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas.
Matthew’s parents continue to travel the world to raise awareness about LGBT equality, and their son’s life and death has been documented in a number of documentaries and in a play.
The ad, titled Hate, will run in the “swing states” of Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire.