Matthew Shepard anniversary marked with hate crime campaign

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The mother of a murdered gay man will mark the ten years since his death by unveiling a new, aggressive anti-hate campaign.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation announced today that it plans to engage the general public in the mission to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion and Acceptance.”

Judy Shepard will unveil the new campaign during the 7th Annual Bear to Make a Difference Gala, which will take place on Saturday, March 29th in Denver, Colorado.

“In the past ten years since my son’s death, I have spoken to over one million people who are searching for a way to help us in our mission to Erase Hate,” said Mrs Shepard, the executive director of the foundation.

“We developed this campaign with that goal in mind and are eager to provide individuals with the tools and resources needed to amplify their voice and begin to turn the tide on hate in America.”

The Matthew Shepard Foundation was founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son, Matthew, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998.

It works for an end to hate crimes through varied educational programmes and by continuing to tell Matthew’s story.

Each year, the Foundation honours outstanding individuals or organizations with the coveted “Making a Difference Award.”

This year’s honoree is John Amaechi, former NBA player and youth advocate.

Bear to Make a Difference will include a large silent auction and a live auction of teddy bears signed by celebrities such as Dolly Parton, Better Midler, Ellen DeGeneres, Liza Minnelli, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.