Nearly 15 years after his passing, Matthew Shepard's legacy was recalled Sept. 28 at the fourth annual Erase Hate benefit at Ocean Boulevard Furniture.
Shepard's mother, Judy, was scheduled to speak at the benefit in memory of her son, Matthew, whose 1998 murder in Wyoming was a hate crime related to his sexual orientation.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation honors his memory by spreading a legacy of tolerance and goodwill in his name.
The foundation has been playing a prominent role in events nationwide to eliminate bullying with its Erase Hate campaign. Locally, organizer Dan Melesurgo said, "The good work of the foundation is simple - replacing hate with compassion, tolerance and understanding.
"We believe it is a message that resonates with all and transcends all communities ..." he said.
The event featured musical entertainment and live and silent auctions with art, travel, furniture and home accessories, will be donated to the anti-bullying campaign at Mariner Middle School, he said.
With support of local retail establishments, 10 percent of the proceeds from this benefit will be donated to Mariner, Melesurgo said, with the remaining 90 percent going to benefit the foundation's mission to raise awareness and eliminate bullying and hate crimes nationwide.
For more information about the Matthew Shepard Foundation, go to www.matthewshepard.org.