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The Richmond Triangle Players theater was packed to overflowing recently as we paid homage to the teenage boy who was brutally beaten and nailed to a fence because he was gay. While that happened 20 years ago, his story needs to be told now more than ever.

Present at RTP that morning was an array of political and community leaders, but the two people who could share the Matthew Sheperd story better than anyone were his parents, Judy and Dennis. The horrors of Matthew’s death, as shared by his mother, could easily happen to any number of people. Hate and prejudice knows no boundaries, be it race, religion, gender or any other means of difference. Since their son’s murder, the Sheperds have turned horror into healing by making hate crimes their lifelong campaign.

Richmond Triangle Players is soon producing “The Laramie Project,” the powerful production that tells Matthew’s story. It should be required for every LGBTQ person to attend. Our history is easy to forget, and our present state of affairs is also easy for some to ignore and that is a deadly thing.

Thank you Richmond Triangle Players. Your vision and leadership is an excellent example of the beauty and strength of our community. Bravo.