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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"…The Dignity of All People"

Coretta Scott King's passing today strikes anyone who acknowledges the heroic work she did on behalf of justice and equality in this country. In his State of the Union speech today, the (p)resident acknowledged her spirit and steadfastness, saying:

"Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream."

Many people don't know King was also a staunch supporter of rights and equality for gay people, as well. Today for the first time, Judy Shephard, whose son Matthew was killed in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime, released this note she received from King the day after Matthew died.

October 13, 1998

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Shepard,

I was stunned and deeply saddened to learn of the killing of your beloved son, Matthew Shepard. On behalf of Dexter Scott King, The King Center and the King Center Family, I send our heartfelt condolences, our love and prayers for your family in your hour of bereavement.

Clearly, your Matthew was a fine young man, a kind and open-hearted person who believed in human rights and the dignity of all people. The outpouring of sympathy from his many friends, as well as his family, is a testament that he was a caring and much-loved human being, and
his loss diminishes us all.

The epidemic brutality that took your son’s life and has caused so much pain to your family must be confronted and stopped. Americans of conscience must work a lot harder to eliminate this sick culture of violence that threatens even our best and brightest.

Matthew Shepard will be sorely missed. But we will be praying your family soon be unburdened by the knowledge that his beautiful spirit will live on in the hearts of all of those he touched.

Sincerely,

Coretta Scott King

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