In an effort to put an end to bullying and help give voice to those recovering from hate crimes, we partnered with our friends at the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a nonprofit committed to erasing hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student, was brutally attacked and left to die in one of the most infamous anti-gay hate crimes in recent American history. Judy and Dennis Shepard founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation in memory of their beloved son in December 1998. The organization has since led the country’s first hate crime legislation with the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and continues to advocate for LGBT acceptance within communities.

Judy and Dennis Shepard, Mother and Father of Matt Shepard
Matthew Shepard Foundation

Even with the efforts of organizations like this one helping our nation make strides towards ending all hate crimes and bully incidents, there is still far to go. Currently, hate crimes are on the rise and individuals are still being tormented, even killed, for being different.

One way that the Matthew Shepard Foundation hopes to combat this growing problem is through its hate crimes reporting and prevention initiative. These formalized drills are conducted with law enforcement agencies, community leaders and civilians across the nation. The anti-bullying seminars cover topics about data collection, underreported hate crimes, and federal funding for the continued improvement of hate crimes prevention nationwide.

The footage below captures hate crime training facilitated by the Foundation in Lexington, Kentucky this past August. This specific anti-bullying summit brought to light the significance of respecting human dignity and diversity in Lexington’s school system. users who shopped in October for the Cause of the Month campaign, Bully Free Zone, raised $1,698. Throughout the month of November, these funds will help continue prevention trainings in Kansas City, Missouri and Miami, Florida.

University of Kentucky anti-bullying seminar
Combating Hate and Bullying in Lexington, Kentucky

Access to these educational resources is critical to reforming the passiveness towards bullying in our communities. Brent Cox, MSF Policy & Programs Director, stated, “People look to the Shepards and look to the Foundation to be a voice and to help establish better policies throughout the country. We’re good at not just identifying and describing a problem, but developing the solutions. Not just making communities more equal, but safer” (MattShepardFDN, YouTube clip).

It’s now more important than ever that each of us take a stand and be a solution to the current bullying epidemic in our homes, schools and workplaces. Together we can put an end to bullying once and for all. Learn more about this amazing organization, and see a portion of whatever you spend online donated to the Matthew Shepard Foundation by shopping at any of our almost 3,000 online merchants here.