Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - It was a murder that shocked the entire nation. Now, the victim's mother is speaking out.
Judy Shepard spoke at the University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena, Wednesday. Her son was brutally murdered in 1998 in Wyoming because he was gay. Judy is now an author and anti-bullying advocate.
Shepard's visit comes just a few moths after the death of Williamsville High School student Jamey Rodemeyer. Jamey took his own life after years of torment because of his sexuality.
Shepard talked about the bright future her son and others lost because of senseless bullying. Many people in the audience reflected on Rodemeyer's death and what this message means to Western New York.
"The wounds are fresh. Were 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," audience member Michael Baronich said.
Various local support groups were on hand to give information and help for students and community members who have faced adversity.
Shepard said she hopes her message continues to spread, stopping intolerance, bullying and ultimately ending hate crimes altogether.
To connect with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, go to the news links section of wkbw.com