Lesléa Newman brings Matthew Shepard’s story to Unitarian Society to combat bullying

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January 28, 2011
By: Tynan Power/TRT Reporter
NORTHAMPTON-In 1998, acclaimed author Lesléa Newman was scheduled to address students at the University of Wyoming during Gay Pride Week. Mere days before her talk, Matthew Shepard-a young gay student at the school-was brutally attacked and left to die. The horrific details of that murder left a lasting impression on Newman, one that has been stirred by recent attention to anti-LGBT bullying and a spate of LGBT youth suicides.

“He Continues to Make a Difference: The Matthew Shepard Story” is a powerful and moving program that grew out of Newman’s conviction that more must be done to combat anti-LGBT bullying and violence. Starting with a personal account by Newman of those days in 1998, this inspiring program uses thought-provoking poetry from Newman’s new collection, October Mourning and projected photo images to transport the audience to Wyoming.

Later, Newman makes it personal for the audience. We all know someone who may be affected by anti-LGBT bullying or violence, or the invisible violence of living in a homophobic world.  Audience members are challenged to consider what they can do-in small or large ways-to make the world safer for all.

Unitarian Society members who had the opportunity to experience “He Continues to Make a Difference” decided to bring the event to the Unitarian Society to share with the community. This unique opportunity to hear from Northampton’s eloquent former poet-laureate will take place January 30th, 2011, at 1pm at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence (220 Main St., Northampton). It will be followed by a reception in the Parlor. The event is free and open to the public.
Voluntary donations will be accepted for The Matthew Shepard Foundation and Holyoke for All – Holyoke Para Todos (formerly the Holyoke GLBTQ Task Force).

This event is sponsored by USNF’s Big Ol’ Gay (BOG) Committee, Adult Education Committee, Social Justice Committee and Coordinating Council.For more information, visit the BOG Blog at www.uunorthampton.org/bogblog.