Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter August 5, 2000

Dear Friends,

It's been two months since we last wrote, and, to compensate for that, we've got a lot of news to pass on.

On July 29, David and Monie met with Judy Shepard, and presented her with the memorial quilt we had been working on. Here's David's report:

I am pleased to report that at long last, the Matthew Shepard Memorial Quilt has been presented to Judy Shepard. She seemed very pleased with the quilt and complimented those who participated in the project. It is now hoped that the Matthew Shepard Foundation will make the quilt an ongoing project. Whatever happens, it is now finally in Judy's hands.

She asked me to write her when I returned home after my visit out here to Wyoming. At that time, I will ask if she wants one of the pictures the Monie took placed on her Web site. I will also look into putting one of them on our site as well.

Now, with this major mission accomplished, we move on to other endeavors, but keep up the initial goal of helping to spread the word about hate crimes.

Alas, there have been two hate crimes which we have to report. One occurred
quite some time ago (in October, 1999) in Barron, Wisconsin. Two men lured Michael Hatch out of a bar on the promise of a party in the bush, robbed him of $48, and beat him to death with a tire iron. Michael was gay (and had a hearing disability as well), and the state regards it as a crime motivated by hate for a specific group. The trial of the two charged with the crime is now underway, and, so far, has not been reported anywhere outside northern Wisconsin and in one of the St. Paul newspapers. Apart from observing that we do need to remember any of these cases when they happen, we see some additional interest in that there is a so-called "hate crime" law in Wisconsin, and seeing how it may play a role in the trial will be worth watching.

Local reports have been picked up by Associated Press, but haven't been picked up by many newspapers. We have received a request from one of the residents of Barron, Steve Reed, who asks that news media outside the area be asked to carry this story.

Another story, from Cedar City, West Virginia, has been better reported. Arthur ("J.R.") Warren, Jr. was killed by a two men whom he mistakenly thought were his friends. It's not yet clear just what led to this: he was black as well as gay, and the townspeople think it may be either reason or both. His father felt very strongly about the murder, and he wanted his community to face up to it. he insisted that his son's coffin remain open at the funeral, so all could see what had been done to him. It was quite awful.

So there is still work to be done.

Another father who has some pretty strong feelings on these issues is Dennis Shepard. We have learned that he may be speaking at the Democratic National Convention next week. We haven't yet been able to confirm this, however. We have learned that the Convention expects to have two panel discussions of citizens, one on the economy on Tuesday, August 15 and another on social issues on Wednesday, August, so our best guess is that he would be on that second one. If we learn any more, we'll post it on our message board. However, if you want to contact the party for details, you could try:

http://www.democrats.org

Since we wrote, there has been some news about the passage of another "hate law", this time in New York. It had been held up for quite a long time because there was disagreement about including sexual orientation in the law. this gives us a chance to remind you of a good website set up by the aunt of Steen Fenrich, whose death we reported some months ago. She has more details about this story at:

http://homestead.juno.com/christy0413/steen.html

Or reach it through the memorial link Doreen Jones has made with our site, both through our memorial links, and on our message board.

We would also like to remind you of two other things we've mentioned before.

There's the case of Mike Batey who, in the opinion of at least one of the group who keep this site going was the victim of a false conviction based on his sexual orientation. have a look at:

http://connect.to/batey.org

And we have mentioned the play, "The Laramie Project" which is now playing in New York. We have located a website which may be helpful to anybody who wishes more details:

http://www.thelaramieproject.com

Last, and very far from least, we were contacted by a lady from Connecticut who has been beset by a neighbor who left a racist note on her door, and who then offered to settle it by a fist fight. If there's anybody who has any idea how she might be able to find help, please let us know.

And, as for most of us, the holiday season isn't over, we hope you continue to enjoy it, and trust you don't have to contend with the grass and forest fires.

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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