Matthew Boger spent most of his life in Los Angeles California, where in 2004 he left a successful career as one of L.A.’s elite hair colorists to the stars to pursue a different path as a volunteer at the Museum of Tolerance. Moving very quickly from volunteer to Program coordinator for the Law Enforcement programs, and in late 2006 Matthew was named the Museum’s General Manager.
It was at the Museum of Tolerance where Matthew met Timothy Zaal, who worked as a facilitator and consultant for the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s National Task Force Against Hate. The two men formed mutual respect for one other while working together to combat prejudice, racism, bulling, and homophobia.
In 2005 they realized that their lives had intersected once before. In what would become a life-changing conversation over a simple cup of coffee, they realized they had met 26 years earlier in an alley in West Hollywood California, where a group of teen-aged Nazi-punks attacked and beat a gay homeless 14 year old boy, who had recently been kicked out by his mother after revealing his sexual identity.
Matthew Boger was that young boy and Tim Zaal at age 17, was a member of the group who left Matthew for dead in the alley never knowing whether he had survived.
Through their program entitled: HATE 2 HOPE, they share a story of forgiveness, and redemption: a hate crime survivor forgives an assailant who participated in a brutal attack that occurred over two decades earlier.
Today, these two extraordinary men share their story of change and hope in order to educate and inspire students, educators, professionals, and law enforcement personnel about the consequences of bullying, racism, and prejudice through a safe and open dialogue.
Their story was also the inspiration for Best Documentary Short Subject 2014 ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE, "FACING FEAR," by Jason Cohen and the 2009 novel “Freaks and Revelations” by Davida Wills Hurwin.