Shepard speaks on talk show

Joe Lord

Louisville senior Laquetta Shepard’s stand against the Ku Klux Klan at a rally last month has sparked both reverence and skepticism.

But she didn’t do it for either.

Shepard said she was more interested in the statement she made than the publicity she received. So was Kathleen Archer.

Sitting in her Hollywood office more than 2,000 miles away, one of Archer’s researchers discovered a newspaper story on the Internet about the Bowling Green Klan rally.

“We were looking for a lot of stories of people who were taking a stand,” said Archer, a producer for the recently syndicated Rob Nelson Show. “I just really liked it. I like the magnitude of what she did.”

On Sept. 1 at the Warren County Justice Center, Shepard silently protested the KKK in a way that was different from most of her peers. She went and silently stood among the Klan’s supporters. The rally broke up minutes later.

Shepard and a student who witnessed the scene, Bardstown senior Brandon Copeland, were flown to KTLA Studios in Los Angeles Oct. 17 to be featured on the show.

The episode will probably air in the next week, Archer said.

The show airs at 4 a.m. on WUXP, according to the station’s Web site. WUXP can be seen on Insight cable channel 30 in Bowling Green, but Western cable does not carry the channel.

The Rob Nelson Show, which began airing in September, is “kind of like Donahue meets MTV” show, Archer said. Nelson, the host, has previously been featured on FoxNews’ “The Full Nelson.”

Before an audience of about 100 people, Shepard and other guests were interviewed about their experiences of standing up for their beliefs, she said.

Copeland, who was at the Sept. 1 Klan Rally, said he was asked to appear on the show as a witness and to discuss how it impacted him.

“It was a brave and courageous act by a brave and courageous person,” Copeland said.

The audience also shared moments when they wished they had stood against something they disagreed with, Archer said.

When they finished taping, Shepard stood from the couch and began walking off the stage.

“A woman yelled, ‘Go Laquetta,’ when the cameras were off,” Shepard said.

It was an inspiration Shepard said she appreciated.

Deborah Highland, South Central Kentucky bureau chief for the Courier-Journal, wrote the newspaper story that landed Shepard on the show. A representative called Highland asking questions.

They weren’t the only ones – Highland said she’s gotten feedback on Shepard’s story from across the world.

“I think it demonstrates how one person truly can make a difference, not just where she lives but halfway, well, all the way across the country,” Highland said.

Shepard was contacted Oct. 9 about appearing on the show, but didn’t get confirmation until Oct. 15 – two days before the taping – that she’d be going.

Shepard said she chose to appear on the show for the same reason she stood among the Klan supporters – to make a statement.

The show’s producers also wanted someone who witnessed the rally but didn’t walk over to the Klan side, Shepard said. She suggested Copeland because he talked to her after the rally was finished.

The trip wasn’t all work for Shepard and Copeland. They hit the town during one of their nights in L.A., visiting Sunset Boulevard and the Laugh Factory, a comedy club.

The Rob Nelson Show paid for the Western students’ hotel room and travel. Shepard and Copeland also had transportation and spending money provided.

They were back in Bowling Green by Saturday. As it turns out, Shepard may get more recognition locally.

The Board of Regents will vote at tomorrow’s meeting on a resolution commending Shepard for her action at the Sept. 1 Klan Rally, said Liz Esters, secretary for the board.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]