Finally! 11 years after Matthew Shepard’s death, the legislation bearing his name has finally made it through Congress and on to the President’s desk. The Republicans, of course, fought it all along the way but despite their best efforts America has arrived in the 21st century. It saddens me that Senator Kennedy isn’t here to see this come to fruition, after all of his years fighting for it.
I do wish that the bill could have been sent through Congress on its own accord, but attaching it to a defense bill was the safest bet for getting it through and the Democrats did the right thing in doing so.
Matthew’s parents Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to see this happen and I have enormous respect for both of them. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Judy at a Soulforce event protesting Focus on the Family and their hurtful, dangerous rhetoric. She was incredibly sweet and genuine and my heart broke all over again for this women who was thrust into a role that no parent would ever wish for. Hate took her son from her she chose to go on and fight that hate, She is my personal hero because of it.
Today as I watched the above videos I stumbled upon this great video which contains the statement that Dennis Shepard gave during the trial of one of Matthew’s murderers. The audio is from the movie “The Laramie Project”. It is incredibly moving.
The plan was to get a good night’s rest the night before the Inauguration, but Huey, Dewey, and Louie thought it’s be fun to go out to meet up with other Arapahoe Obama folks. I was against the idea; I really wanted to go to the National Mall and see the Lincoln Memorial seeing as it was MLK day. They insisted on going out, so I begrudgingly tagged along with almost total certainty that the night wouldn’t go well.
We were dirty from our work with Barack Obama’s National Day of Service so we had to head back to Maryland where we were staying to get showered and changed. By the time we got home and got dressed to go out it was almost 11:00. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue except for the fact that we were under the impression that the Metro stopped running at midnight.
Steve (Huey), Matthew (Dewey), and Matt (Louie) naively thinking they are in for a great night of partying.
Well, we finally got off the Metro near where we thought our friends were and Matt gave them a call. “What’s that Matt?? They left the bar we’re supposed to be meeting them at!?” Yes, they had left and were headed to a different bar. We paid for a cab to the new bar and waited in line outside for half an hour in 8 degree weather with really strong wind. FINALLY, we got in! We searched everywhere in the bar for them, and they were absolutely not there. NOT THERE! Matt called up his contact and she informed him that the line had been too long and it had been too cold outside so everyone left. Yeah, you read that right. They just didn’t bother to tell us until AFTER we waited in the awful, frigid line. Matthew and Steve quickly drank a couple of beers as we stood near the doorway looking and feeling like idiots.
The good news? We found out the Metro was actually going to run until 2:00am so we at least wouldn’t be stranded. We did however get home so late that we only got about an hour and a half of sleep before it was time to wake up. Why don’t people just listen to me?
Immediately after arriving at our hosts’ home on Monday morning we all took showers (YES!) and got ready to head to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium for the National Day of Service that President-Elect Barack Obama called for. We met up with our hosts Lori & Dallas, who have been amazing and have shared their home so generously with us. The objective of the day was to create care packages for our military. With thousands of volunteers there to put the packages together, our job was to keep the items stocked and the lines flowing.
Here some photos from the day, including our first ride on the Metro. They don’t do the event justice, but there were thousands and thousands of people there putting toothpaste, sunscreen, energy drinks, pens & paper, etc. into bags for our military personnel around the world. It was a phenomenal and inspirational event.
It is 2AM on October 30th and staying true to quantifying my life in terms of how close Election day is, it is 5 days away. I have sacrificed my bank accounts and standard of living by not working when I could have been and I have let my my grades suffer by working on this campaign since August. The thought that in 5 days it could all be a waste is a little frightening. I just cashed out my 401k to make it through and I’m stressed to say the least.
I decided to get back into school after 6 years and my performance this semester has been less than stellar. I hope I have time to pull it out of the gutter once the campaign is over. I hope.
I do this because it is a cause greater than myself and my hope for the future overpowers my concerns for my present. That is why I do this.