Inspiration by award-winning author and gay activist Lesléa Newman

Award-winning author of 60 books, including the groundbreaking children’s classic Heather Has Two Mommies, Lesléa Newman spent an evening in October giving two different presentations to the URI community. In the first, entitled “He Continues to Make a Difference: The Story of Matthew Shepard,” Newman gave an anti-bullying presentation about Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student from the University of Wyoming who was brutally murdered in 1998. In the second, Newman gave a fiction reading of her award-winning short story collection A Letter to Harvey Milk, which was recently read on National Public Radio by Carl Reiner as part of the series “Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New.” Newman has been a gay activist for more than 20 years, and she has received the James Baldwin Award for Culture Achievement, the Continuing the Legacy of Stonewall Award, and the Hachamat Lev Award for “enduring commitment to justice and full inclusion for GLBT people in the Jewish community and beyond.”