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As America approaches the 10 year anniversary of the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” Oxygen, the destination for high-quality crime programming, explores how far the country has come with the emotional and poignant two-hour special “Uncovered: Killed by Hate” on Sunday, October 20 at 7pm PT/ET. With hate crimes on the rise, this newest installment of “Uncovered” explores some of the nation’s most brutal cases, by taking an in depth look at the cases of Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr., the Charlottesville riots, Blaze Bernstein and the Portland train attack.
On June 7th, 1998, James Byrd Jr, an African American was murdered by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas. He had been beaten, tied to the back of a car and dragged for three miles. Four months later, on October 6th, 1998, Matthew Shepard, an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming was beaten, tortured, set on fire and hung from a fence and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming. Both James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard succumbed to brutal injuries, but it was a far greater force that took their lives: Hate. Nearly a decade after their murders, President Barack Obama signed into Law the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. With one swift signature America sent a message to the world; that we would not tolerate crimes committed against people based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or disability. Now, ten years later, the real question is, has it worked?
Each story is told in unflinching detail by the survivors, victims’ families, eyewitnesses and the investigators who stopped at nothing to find justice. With gripping news footage and archival video shot by people on the scene, it’s a sobering look at the evolution of hate in America and how it began behind the shield of masks, then escalated online with the rise of social media, and now has taken on a life of its own with hatemongers expressing themselves openly in the streets. But it’s the activism surrounding these incidents that has sparked nationwide attention encouraging many groups to mobilize and send the message loud and clear that love is greater than hate.
“Uncovered: Killed by Hate” is produced by Renegade 83, an Entertainment One (eOne) company with David Garfinkle, Jay Renfroe, Bob Kusbit and Vincent DiPersio serving as Executive Producers.