Judy Shepard Speaks at Harris Theater

Posted: October 2, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Greg Guenthner

Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in October 1998, will speak Friday, Oct. 4, at noon in Harris Theatre to kick off Turn Off the Violence Week.

Shepard is the executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a nonprofit organization she and her husband founded that supports “educational projects, activities, and documentaries that raise awareness of the issues involving discrimination and diversity,” according to the foundation’s web page.

Rebecca Walter, associate director of the Women’s Studies Research and Resource Center, says there is a link to violence when people step out of their gender roles, making Shepard’s message of understanding and accepting diversity very relevant to the Turn Off the Violence activities planned for the week, as well as the Safe Zone program.

The Safe Zone program provides campus allies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students, faculty, and staff. Approximately 30 people in the George Mason community are trained members of this program. According to Rose Pascarell, associate dean of University Life, the Safe Zone program is a national effort to promote awareness and security among diverse communities.

Look for a complete list of Turn Off the Violence Week activities in the Daily Gazette on Monday. For more information on the Shepard event or the Safe Zone program, call the Women’s Center at (703) 993-2896.

Write to at