A Community Poem

          Because he was gay, in the late hours of an early October night in 1998, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson kidnapped Matthew Shepard, took him to a remote Laramie, Wyoming, area near the Sherman Hills neighborhood, tied him to a fence, pistol-whipped and robbed him, and left him shattered and comatose in near-freezing temperatures.  18 hours later, a passing bicyclist who saw him thought the rutted form on the fence was a scarecrow.  Five days later, at the Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins, CO, Matthew Shepard died from his injuries.

In addition, on the Saturday that occurred during those five days Matthew Shepard lay in a coma, a university homecoming parade made its way down a Ft. Collins street a few blocks from his hospital bed.  Poised on one fraternity's float was a scarecrow topped with straw hair and carrying on it a label in black spray paint that read, "I'm Gay."

For more information and resources, the Internet has many sites dedicated to the event, including Matthew's Place, Matthew Shepard Online Resources, and Matthew Wayne Shepard.

The Matthew Shepard Renga Project | The Matthew Shepard Story | Renga Project Introduction | Renga Project Idea | Submission Guidelines | Guest Editor and Publication Plan