It was ten years ago this week that gay college student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and left hanging on a rural fence in Laramie, Wyoming. His murder stirred a profound response that would galvanize communities and states across the U.S. to fight for hate crime laws that include protection for gays and lesbians. In an interview with CBS News, Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother talks about the young men who were convicted of killing her son and her ongoing work against anti-gay bias: “I’m pretty sure that they actually wonder still why they’re in such trouble for what they did, just, you know, killing a young gay man. The environment was set up for them that it was OK to do that to Matt.”
October 8, 2008 - 9:00pm
September 4, 2008 - 9:00pm
As the people in Shenandoah, PA grapple with the recent killing of Luis Ramirez and the charges against local high school students for this crime, a story from Prince William County, VA provides a glimpse at the deep divisions over immigration in other communities, and also the countervailing power of local citizens who stand up against violence based on anti-immigrant bias. As Serafin “Pedro” Alvarez Negrete, a Mexican day laborer, walked home toward his trailer park on a fall night in 2006, he was shot multiple times. Police apprehended 2 teenagers, who admitted that they had decided to “get a Mexican,” and later plead guilty to first degree murder.
August 28, 2008 - 9:00pm
UPDATE: Community members in Shenandoah, where Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez was murdered, are planning a Unity Celebration. The event is taking place at the same time as another group holds an “anti-illegal immigration rally.” “The only proven way to counter their effect is to hold a positive, safe, meaningful and uplifting event at the same time,” Unity Celebration organizers said. “They are using us and our misfortunes for their own agenda.” The Unity Celebration will be held Saturday, August 30th, 6 -7 :30PM, at Kahillat Isreal Non-Denominational Christian Church, 213 W. Oak St., Shenandoah.
August 26, 2008 - 9:00pm
On July 14, 2008, 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant and resident of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, was brutally beaten to death by a group of teenagers from the small Appalachian town. As Ramirez was kicked and punched, witnesses say the teens yelled racist slurs at Ramirez, and told the woman he was walking home with to “get your Mexican boyfriend out of here.” Ramirez was beaten so severely he never regained consciousness, and two days later, died from his injuries.
August 16, 2008 - 9:00pm
“Evil walked into the church, but love was stronger.” -Parishioner John Bohstedt, who restrained the shooter at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church As a group of children sang for a crowded Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, in Knoxville, Tennessee, an armed man opened fire on the congregation on July 27, 2008. Before the gunman, Jim Adkisson, 58, was tackled to the ground by churchgoers, he fatally shot two people, Linda Lee Kraeger, 61, and Greg McKendry, 60, who witnesses said tried to block Adkisson in order to shield others from harm’s way. Six others were injured in the attack that authorities say was motivated in part by Adkisson’s disdain for the church’s positions.