At one point during the filming of Dear Jesse, Kirkman goes to a small college in North Carolina where Jesse Helms was to have given a speech. They ended up missing the speech, so he did interviews instead with people outside the building. Ironically, two of the people he interviewed were Matthew Sheppard and his boyfriend. It is the only known film clip of Matthew.
Dear Jesse made me shed tears of sadness and rage when I heard how the tenure of Jesse Helms had adversely affected the lives of so many people. Hopefully now that he is no longer is in the Senate things might begin to change, but I wonder how long it will take for his awful legacy to be obliterated. One thing is for sure, there is no need to build him a memorial, – there are plenty of tombstones across the country of people who died of AIDS that will serve quite well.
Who knows how many of the bodies buried under them might still be alive if it hadn't been for his obstructionist policy against funding research into treating AIDS. I really wonder how he sleeps at night.