A little over a year after Matthew Shepard was finally laid to rest in Washington National Cathedral, the church and the Matthew Shepard Foundation are dedicating a plaque honoring him. Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student brutally murdered in 1998, spent 20 years without a burial site for fear it would be vandalized before he was interred at the cathedral last October.
Soon after last year’s ceremony, cathedral representative Kevin Eckstrom said it became very apparent that Matthew was one of the most important of the 200 people buried in the cathedral, in addition to Hellen Keller and former President Woodrow Wilson. He said visitors came from across the country wanting to pay respects, leave flowers and letters, and light a candle. In conjunction with the foundation, the church raised $30,000 for a permanent marker at the burial site through GoFundMe.
“Its not just a burial site, it is a pilgrimage site in a lot of ways for a lot of people,” Eckstrom said. “We wanted to find a way to honor that experience, but also to help people to have something to see and touch and have a connection to.”
A dedication ceremony will be held on December 2, the day after Shepard’s birthday, featuring speakers and musicians to honor Shepard’s legacy and the path his death paved for LGBTQ+ legal reform. Though the components are yet to be finalized, Eckstrom said the event will mostly likely feature high-profile musicians and elected officials, and he expects several hundred attendees.
Photo by Flickr user Phil Roeder
News Article From: www.washingtonian.com