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Published August 31, 2018
A performance by a Grammy-winning choir, panel discussions, film screenings and receptions are among events scheduled for the University of Wyoming’s 20th anniversary remembrance of Matthew Shepard’s murder.
Events begin Wednesday, Sept. 5, and continue through Thursday, Oct. 25.
The events, organized by the Matthew Shepard Memorial Group, are to commemorate the death of Shepard, an openly gay UW student from Casper who was murdered in 1998.
“The Matthew Shepard memorial events are significant because they reaffirm that violence and murder committed against anyone in this community is not tolerated,” says UW Chief Diversity Officer Emily Monago, the memorial group co-chair. “The events are significant because it is a time to celebrate marginalized identities, like Matt’s identity as a gay man, the LGBTQ+ community, disability, racial/ethnic, religious, immigration status, veteran status and other marginalized identities living in Wyoming and throughout the world.”
She adds that the programs and events reaffirm UW’s values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and are designed to engage students, faculty, staff and community members.
For a complete list of events, visit www.uwyo.edu/shepardsymposium/matthew-shepard-memorial-group/.
Most events are open to the public and free, including a performance by Grammy-winning Conspirare, a choir inspired by the power of music to change lives.
The Austin, Texas-based group will perform “Considering Matthew Shepard” Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Laramie High School (LHS) theater at 7:30 p.m. The performance is free but ticketed. A limit of two tickets per person is available at the UW Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts box office, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts. Overflow seating with monitors will be available in the LHS commons area.
The monthlong schedule of events includes:
-- “President’s LGBTQ Reception,” Wednesday, Sept. 5, 5:30 p.m., Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center Mendicino reception area on the third floor. UW President Laurie Nichols will host a LGBTQ+ reception for UW faculty, staff and students.
-- “Laramie Inside Out” film screening and panel with Beverly Seckinger, Friday, Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m., Wyoming Union. UW alumna Seckinger will screen her 2004 documentary that focuses on the pivotal chapter in LGBTQ history, profiling the community response over the year following Shepard's murder in her hometown. Following the screening will be a panel discussion with several key participants profiled in the film.
-- Scholarship and Research Symposium on Culture and Gender, and a Social Justice and Diversity Awards Dinner. The symposium is Sept. 20-21. The School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice, in conjunction with the Department of English, the Social Justice Research Center and the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, invites participation in the inaugural “Community Conversations: Scholarship and Research Symposium on Culture, Gender and Social Justice.” The awards dinner time/date will be announced later.
-- “Downtown Mural Tour” with special mural discussion, Friday, Sept. 28, 4 p.m. The walking tour is tentatively scheduled to begin at the Wyoming House for Historic Women, located at 321 S. Second St.
-- “Angels,” Thursday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m., Performing Arts concert hall. Live accounts from “Angel Action” activists, featuring the UW Collegiate Chorale, and LHS and Laramie Middle School singers.
-- “The Matthew Shepard Story: In Conversation with Rulon Stacey,” Friday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m., Performing Arts Thrust Theatre. Staged reading from the early hours of Oct. 12, 1998, when hospital CEO Rulon Stacey announced the death of Shepard, and events that followed.
-- Saturday University’s “Matthew Shepard in Laramie and Beyond,” Saturday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Room 129 of the UW Classroom Building. This special Saturday University features three talks focusing on key aspects of that time and the aftermath.
-- Grammy-winning Conspirare presents “Considering Matthew Shepard,” Saturday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. in the LHS theater. Composer and conductor Craig Hella Johnson’s account of Shepard’s murder takes the listener on a journey of hope, compassion and change. A question-and-answer session follows the performance, with a panel featuring Matthew Shepard’s father, Dennis, Hella Johnson and Jason Marsden, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
-- “Laramie Project” film screening and panel discussion, date to be determined. A film screening of the stage play created by Moisés Kaufman and members of New York's Tectonic Theater Project will be shown, followed by a panel discussion. Twenty years later, the play is still performed by numerous schools and universities nationwide.
-- “Matthew Shepard Is a Friend of Mine” film screening and panel discussion, Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Albany County Public Library. The film focuses on Shepard’s life beyond the headlines.