In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, with Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, at his side. The legislation was an expansion on the existing hate crimes law, granting added protection from crimes against a person on the basis of his or her gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The law was signed almost exactly 11 years after Matthew Shepard died. 3 Presidential terms, 6 Congresses, and 11 long years.
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine is a documentary film 16 years in the making. A labor of love, Michele Josue began reaching out to Matt Shepard’s friends and family, conducting interviews with those who knew and loved him, and collecting hours of archive footage. Though painful at times, the director/filmmaker continually placed herself in positions where she had revisit and relive those terrible moments from October of 1998 in an effort to reveal the whole story.