“Our film and the people in it all bear witness to the simple fact that Matt Shepard was a good person—an amazing person with a bright future who tragically fell victim to the ignorance and hatred that persists in our society today.” -Michele Josue, Director
Yesterday I had the privilege to be at the LA big screen opening of the documentary-film, which is directed by Michele Josue. The screening was preceded by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) and later a panel hosted by Facing History of Los Angeles.
If you haven’t seen or heard about the film Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, please take the time to check out the trailer. Michele, very cleverly, gives voice to the people who love and also hate(d) Matt. Yes, hated! The dichotomy of love and hate is so well-managed. Some say there is a thin line between love and hate, but I will leave that for you to think about. As she documents Matt’s journey from childhood to adulthood and his eventual misfortune at the age of 22, the message to the audience becomes one of opening hearts to foster empathy and compassion. Michele and those involved with the film do not want the story of Matt to be forgotten. Nor do they want to victimize him. They want to make sure that all those who came before him and courageously fought for equal rights and those who will follow, will continue to act in honor of his legacy.
What was most powerful to me was Matt’s father who answered questions after the film, going deep into his emotional core. This made me reflect on the meaning of love. What is love? Today on Valentine’s Day we take a day out of the 365, to celebrate this very metaphysical concept. On Ted-Ed, Brad Troeger does a great job defining love. He explains how “Love is easy to compare but difficult to define, maybe because we’re fundamentally biased; we try to define love while falling in or out of it. And love feels differently to every person who feels it, but this subjective emotion has evolutionary explanations, too.” I invite you to watch this outstanding video:
Love, can be all encompassing and obsessive. It can easily transform into hate and vice versa. As we take the day to celebrate the love we have for significant others, also remember that love comes in different forms. Think of the different types of loves you have and had in your life. The act of reflection on love is the first step in opening up the heart to be more receptive to it.
Love Deeply and Love Truly!