The ashes of Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming college student who was brutally murdered and left to die on a fencepost in Laramie, Wyoming 20 years ago this month, will be interred at Washington’s National Cathedral this morning.
Judy and Dennis Shepard spoke to the Washington Post about his legacy (above).
Hundreds are expected for the service at 10 am this morning, which “will be in structure like a formal Episcopal funeral,” the WaPo reports: “Judy and Dennis Shepard hope to find some closure in the interment of their son’s ashes, deep in the Cathedral’s crypt, off the Chapel of Saint Joseph of Arimathea, named for the man who the Bible says gave Jesus his tomb. Those close to Shepard and advocates for gay equality hope the site can be a prominent symbol and even a pilgrimage destination for the movement.”
The NYT reported that for two decades Shepard’s parents have been concerned about placing his ashes elsewhere for fear of desecration: “Now they have found a safe place.”
Read the original NYT report on Shepard’s death here.
Shepard’s death became a national cause to action for those protesting anti-gay hatred. His parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, became LGBTQ advocates, forming the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which “empowers individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy and resource programs” and strives to “replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance” according to its mission statement.