Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Project Activity — Fall of 2008

In the fall of 2008, the Unfinished Lives Project agreed to participate in community events in Texas and North Carolina remembering victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes. In September, our project director traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he served as a panelist at the Park View Project’s documentary film premier dedicated to the life of Talana Quay Kreeger. While there, Dr. Sprinkle also gave an Unfinished Lives presentation to St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church. October marked the 10th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Laramie, Wyoming. Our project joined a Matthew Shepard remembrance held at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and then participated in the “Hope, Not Hate” remembrance at the University of Texas in Austin. These and other project activities are included below.

September 2008Wilmington, North Carolina – From September 26-29, Dr. Sprinkle was the guest of Family Tree Productions, independent filmmakers creating a documentary about the life and death of Talana Quay Kreeger, 32, savagely disemboweled by long haul trucker Ronald Thomas in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1990.

Talana Quay Kreeger

(photo courtesy of Tab Ballis)

Ronald Thomas

Dr. Sprinkle keynoted the premier of the trailer of “Park View,” the film documenting Talana’s death in this North Carolina port city. Tab Ballis is the Producer/Director of “Park View,” and Linda Warden is Associate Producer/Editor.

The waterfront at Wilmington, North Carolina

Linda Warden, Steve Sprinkle, and Tab Ballis

St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church, pastored by Rev. Amanda McCullough, hosted the event. St. Jude’s was founded soon after Talana’s murder because LGBT people had been turned away by all but one church in Wilmington as a site for her memorial service. Gay people vowed never to be in that situation again.

St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church

Steve Sprinkle and Amanda McCullough

Talana was a carpenter, and a regular at the Lesbian bar, the Park View Grill, on Carolina Beach Road. She was remodeling the bar, drinking beer, and playing pool on the night of February 22, 1990 when Alabamian Ronald Thomas offered her a ride after closing hour to Hardee’s just a mile up the road to get some late night breakfast. Thomas was to drop off a load of oranges at Hoggard High next morning. Instead, he pulled his rig off the road to a remote dead end, and assaulted and raped Talana, smashing her dentures, and manually disemboweling her.

The Park View Grill

Talana Kreeger’s murder site

Details from Talana Kreeger’s autopsy report

(photo courtesy of Tab Ballis)

October 2008Austin, Texas – On Sunday, October 12, a coalition of Austin’s LGBTs and African Americans sponsored “Hope, Not Hate,” a public remembrance and vigil marking the 10th Anniversary of the hate killings of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard. Our director, Dr. Sprinkle, keynoted the event at University Baptist Church exactly ten years after Byrd’s and Shepard’s hate crime murders in Jasper, Texas, and Laramie, Wyoming, respectively.

Candlelighters at “Hope, Not Hate” in Austin, Texas

Steve Sprinkle delivers the “Hope, Not Hate” keynote address

Among the committee organizers for the “Hope, Not Hate” event were Rev. Karen Thompson, of Metropolitan Community Church in Austin; Colonel Paul Dodd, U.S. Army (ret.), of the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network; and Paul Scott, Executive Director of Equality Texas.

Steve Sprinkle, Rev. Karen Thompson, and Col. Paul Dodd

Paul Scott and Steve Sprinkle

Todd Harvey, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, has been deeply involved in the Unfinished Lives Project, and was also present for the event.

Unfinished Lives Project supporter, Todd Harvey

Better than 150 people participated in the vigil and candlelight ceremony. Together with Dr. Sprinkle, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo also made remarks at the event.

Candles in remembrance of Matthew Wayne Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.

October 2008Fort Worth, Texas – Rev. Harry Knox, Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, spoke at Brite Divinity School and TCU for the “Erase the Hate Campaign,” remembering the 10th Anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death.

Harry Knox and Brite Divinity School’s Dr. Namsoon Kang

Harry made a wonderful, powerful contribution to the equality movement on TCU’s campuses. Dr. Sprinkle served as Harry’s host and participated throughout the events of the week.

TCU’s Dr. Harriet Cohen and Harry Knox

Harry Knox and Shelly Newkirk, Vice President of the TCU Gay/Straight Alliance

November 2008Austin, Texas – Dr. Sprinkle was a presenter at the Open Circle GLBT Retreat held at University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, on November 15, 2008. His presentation was “Journey of Reconciliation: Soul-Weariness.”

November 2008Fort Worth, Texas – Unfinished Lives project director Stephen Sprinkle spoke at the Transgender Day of Remembrance held at Agapé Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 20, and gave a presentation entitled “Innocent Blood: Guarding the Memories of Our Slain Transgender Sisters and Brothers.” The title and subject of the presentation was inspired by an Icon written by Fr. William Hart McNichols, entitled Jesus Christ: the Seraphic Guardian of the Blood, and dedicated to Petty Officer Allen Schindler and the Thousands of Victims of anti-LGBT Hate Crimes.

Jesus Christ: the Seraphic Guardian of the Blood

by Fr. William Hart McNichols

December 8, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Art and Architecture, Asian Americans, Evisceration, gay men, Lesbian women, North Carolina, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Popular Culture, Project Activity Summaries, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, Wyoming

1 Comment

  1. thankyou all for your hard work, we always knew it wasnt going to be easy

    Comment by Donald Mrkacek | May 29, 2012

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