Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr
For our second pride month episode, Erika wanted to touch on two cases from 1998 that expanded hate crime laws to further protect people of any race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, gender identity, or disability. Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old student at The University of Wyoming who was beaten and left to die by two men pretending to be gay. In the same year, 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. suffered a brutal, unfathomable death at the hands of two members of the KKK and an accomplice. After many years, the stories of these two men helped to create The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.