Five years ago, on October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This landmark civil rights legislation was named after Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was gay, and James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old African-American man living in Jasper, Texas. Both were brutally murdered in acts of unspeakable intolerance and hate. The Shepard-Byrd Act, named in their honor, expanded federal hate crimes protections to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. The act also removed unnecessary hurdles to prosecuting hate crimes committed because of race, color, or national origin.