Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sean's Last Wish: His Mother Elke Kennedy Speaks Out About Her Son’s Death

Elke Kennedy is a mother, on a mission. 28 months ago her son Sean Kennedy was killed in a hate crime assault outside a bar in Greenville, South Carolina. His mother now travels the country, spreading the message about hate crimes. On Thursday, November 19th, she stopped in Aiken, SC and was interviewed on television:

Mother Speaks Out About Son’s Death In Aiken
by Joy Howe | WJBF News Channel 6 Aiken County Reporter | November 19, 2009

Find out more about Sean's Last Wish

Alec and I were glad we were with Elke and Jim to share the experience of being at the White House on the day that President Obama signed
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed yesterday!

When I called Carolyn Wagner and told her that The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed yesterday, she was in tears and said she didn't think she would see this day in her lifetime.

I'm thinking of Bill of course. And so many others.

Now it will now go to President Obama's desk to be signed into law, and he has promised to do so.

The Task Force press statement includes:
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will help protect people against violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, gender, national origin and disability by extending the federal hate crimes statute. It will provide critical federal resources to state and local agencies to equip local officers with the tools they need to prosecute hate crimes. The House passed the bill Oct. 8. It now moves to President Obama, who has vowed to sign it.
"With his signature, President Obama will usher in a new era — one in which hate-motivated violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will no longer be tolerated."
— National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Care
Read the The Task Force press release:
Task Force: Passage of federal hate crimes bill marks 'milestone for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans'

See more information on Wikipedia: Matthew Shepard Act

This isn't the ending. It will be such an important piece of this work that we do when hate crimes happen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Matthew Shepard’s legacy - looking back and ahead on this anniversary.

Matthew Shepard was murdered eleven years ago today.
"... despite the passage of time and increased cultural visibility, the realities faced by LGBTQs today are 'no different than when Matthew Shepard was murdered."
~ Charles Robbins (Executive Director and CEO of
The Trevor Project.
Please read this excellent article:
Matthew Shepard’s legacy :: The fight continues
by Scott Stiffler, EDGE NYC, Monday Oct 12, 2009.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stephen Moller get's released 1 week early

July 1st, 2009

Contact: Elke Kennedy
Sean's Last Wish

Stephen Moller get's released 1 week early

Greenville, SC - Elke Kennedy was informed via Phone today, July 1st 2009, that Stephen Andrew Moller has been released from prison. Mr. Moller was responsible for the murder of her son Sean Kennedy on May 16th 2007. He was indicted for only involuntary manslaughter and sentenced on June 11 2008 to a 5 year sentence suspended to three years, received credit for the 199 he served in county lock-up. He was supposed to stay in prison till September 7th 2009, however he received 2 month credit for good behaviour by getting his GED while in prison.
He was eligable for early parole on December 28th 2008 already. In a early parole hearing on February 11 2009 he was denied parole and his release date was set to July 7th 2009.

Again the judicial system failed they say one thing and do something else. He should have served every single day of the already short sentence, instead he was released from prison today, one week early.

Where is the justice?


For more information, see:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sharing "Open Letter to Oprah" on Safe Schools Coalition's blog

I want to share
Open Letter to Oprah
by Beth Reis, posted yesterday on Safe Schools Coalition's blog.

She had some of the same responses I did and wrote about it beautifully - with much more detailed suggestions for schools than I could have.

If you find the post there interesting please comment on it there to add your own thoughts.

Friday, February 13, 2009



In the aftermath of so many deaths of our lgbt children and teenagers why is it, when after reading the latest in Larry King’s hate crime and others that did not get such attention, that the national lgbt organizations are not calling for action? Every website I went to is promoting events or the scare tactics of the so called Christian right wing propaganda and not one call to action.

They had news updates on the crimes that got the major media attention and although such is crucial, what is being done to once and for all take action to stop this emotional and physical massacre of lgbt children? These children, especially those who live in poverty and or of minority races/religions, are the most vulnerable of everyone in this civil rights pursuit.

The time is past due for everyone who is lgbt and or the parents, families or friends of lgbt human beings of all ages, to organize a march, to “act up,” to call their congressional and or state representatives. We should all make such an outcry that it will be heard and seen worldwide!

Stop the fussing among each other over this and that and take to the streets! Flood the switchboards of congress! You can talk a topic to death while our children are on the front lines with no relief on the horizon. They need all of us and now, not when another life has been lost and groups call for vigils. Why haven’t any of the national organizations sought to develop and promote a traveling memorial to all who have lost their lives to this ongoing war of terror being waged by fundamentalist, right wing terrorists in our own nation? Call them what they are, don’t dance around it.

This nation and the world must see the cost in human lives this ongoing war consumes. No one is safe, and I mean no one, including those who wage this war. When will they hug a friend of the same gender and the assumption is made they are gay? Go to a costume party and be mistaken for a transgender person or child? If certain people see such, they can and do react with violence.

I beg of each person and organization, look beyond thy self and take action for those who cannot. Now, I ask of every individual and organization, where is your outrage?

Carolyn Wagner
Families United Against Hate

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Christian Bigot movement attacking our children, AGAIN!

Well, we once again have it in print that purported Christian organizations state they are opposed to our lgbt children having hostile-free, safe public schools. They imply that lgbt children and their heterosexual parents are promoting “sexual perversion” in the public schools.

Here are some solid facts, my husband and I have been “married” for 36 years, we are Christians, we have raised two children, one is gay and one is not. Our son told us when he was 13 and endured years of harassment, maltreatment and an eventual violent anti-gay assault at his school. Through it all, there was not one of these so-called Christian groups, members or leaders speaking about how un-Christian it is to not only tolerate but to participate in the bullying, harassment that leads to the violence our lgbt children endure.

Peter LaBarbera of the “Americans for Truth about homosexuality” and the “Illinois Family Alliance” are leading an attack to ensure that lgbt children of Chicago and nationwide continue to endure the daily maltreatment and violence their hate filled, scare tactic, messages create.

I grew up in the south during the previous civil rights struggle and remember very well how certain Christian churches and organizations utilized their bully pulpit to create more bias, discrimination and violence toward people of color. They used bible verses back then to justify segregation and marriage of the same race. Sound familiar? I have no doubt if they could somehow identify lgbt children they would once again push for segregated schools. This time based upon real or perceived sexual orientation and or gender identity.

Every human being is at risk for this form of discrimination and violence. All it takes is for an individual or a group to assume another adult or child is lgbt and the bias begins. Sometimes it even leads to violence toward heterosexuals assumed to be lgbt and death.

Certain religious groups never took ownership for the role they played in the discrimination and violence toward people of color and women. Now they lead the same type of scare tactic campaigns against children and adults based on real or perceived sexual orientation and or gender identity.

Some of these bigots still deny the holocaust happened and don’t want the public at large to know why the lgbt community utilizes the pink triangle. This is how the Nazi’s identified lgbt people, just as they required Jewish people to wear the yellow Star of David.

I am talking to the Christians and now is the time to finally, once and for all to actually behave as a Christian and to follow the teachings of Christ who never taught bias or hate toward any individual or group. Think for yourselves and read history. Christians are not the victims in this civil rights struggle, no more than the Nazi’s were the victims of the Jews and the lgbt people.

Get back in your closet and pray as Jesus taught! If you cannot control your impulses that cause you to fixate on the sex lives, gender identity and or sexual attraction of other human beings, get into therapy; keep your impulses within your church and home and out of other people’s homes and public schools where lives are being destroyed. To be blunt, it is none of you darn business and unconstitutional to boot!

Carolyn Wagner