The University of Wyoming and the city of Laramie plan a series of events this fall to remember the 20-year anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was an openly gay student who was kidnapped, tied to a fence and pistol-whipped to death. He has become a national symbol for the LGBTQ community.
UW President Laurie Nichols said a series of events are planned including conversations and an October music performance by Conspirare called "Considering Matthew Shepard."
Nichols said it’s important that the University community reflect on where the campus has come 20 years after Shepard’s death.
“That we’re a campus that invites and values diversity and inclusion, that we want students, faculty, staff and community members here from all backgrounds. That it’s important to us and that we value it. That’s not always the stereotype given what happened 20 years ago and you know I hope we take away that we are a different place today.”
Matthew Shepard Foundation Director Jason Marsden added that the remembrance is a strong move by UW.
“I think the University is showing real leadership in embracing probably one of its most difficult, controversial, moments in its entire history and asking itself what does this mean? What can we learn from it?”
Laramie Mayor Andi Summerville said the city also wants to show that it has become an inclusive community.