The University at Buffalo's "Distinguished Speaker Series" welcomed Judy Shepard to Alumni Arena Wednesday night. Her son Matthew was brutally murdered in 1998 in Wyoming because he was gay. Thirteen years later, Judy is an author and advocate, spreading her message across the country.
"To just come and support such a powerful, loving, caring woman is very important to me and I think very important to Western New York based on how many people who came out for this tonight," Michael Baronich said.
"No one should be bullied no one should be treated like that. its just not right," Malachi Johnson said.
"I think that people just need to realize how hurtful words are and what these kids go through before they come out," Scott Heller said.
Following the death of 14 year old Williamsville student Jamey Rodemeyer, who took his own life after years of bullying, Sheppard's message is as pertinent as ever here in Western New York.
"The wounds are fresh. We're still feeling the loss of a beautiful boy and it's a shame. So I think this is good for Western New York and the healing process," Michael Baronich said.
Various local support groups also had tables set up before and after the event, providing information and helping to aid the ills of students and community members who suffer at the hands of bullies.