Psalm 90:10 in the King James Version reads, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they are fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
It occurred to me that Matthew Sheperd would have been 35 today – half of three score and ten – had he not been crucified on October 7, 1998. The peculiar thing about his death is that it always seems to take a tragedy for attitudes and behaviors to change. There are several activities the Matthew Shepard Foundation is involved with, including support for The Laramie Project, a play that has “become a powerful tool for communities to discuss and explore how hate impacts every part of their society.”
Just like civil rights activists were firehosed, beaten, and even killed, it almost always takes struggle before a modicum of justice can be achieved. Not incidentally, it was 56 years ago today that Rosa Parks sat on a bus in Birmingham, Alabama, and ended up getting arrested. This led to the yearlong boycott, which, along with court remedies, helped change the course of segregation – not all at once, but just a little bit at a time.