Friday, March 1, 2013

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

 
“P.O.V.: Two Towns of Jasper” on PBS, Whitney Dow & Marco Williams | 2004 duPont-Columbia Award Winner from Alfred I. duPont Awards on Vimeo.

 James Byrd, Jr. (May 2, 1949 – June 7, 1998) was an African-American who was murdered by three men, of whom at least two were white supremacists, in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John King dragged Byrd behind a pick-up truck along an asphalt road. Byrd, who remained conscious throughout most of the ordeal, was killed when his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his right arm and head. The murderers drove on for another mile before dumping his torso in front of an African-American cemetery in Jasper. Byrd's lynching-by-dragging gave impetus to passage of a Texas hate crimes law. 

Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 6–7, and died a few days later at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries. During the trial it was widely reported that Shepard was targeted because he was gay. Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.

In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law. via: Wikapedia