On May 4th I had the honor of leading a reading completed by my school’s National Honors Society. Seven members representing Gloucester County Institute of Technology gathered in the school theatre to read parts of the play. During this event, we took time to remember Anthony Luis Laureano Disla.
Anthony had a passion for dancing. His family said the talented dancer did not care whatever music was playing–he was up and moving. He was dancing with his friends that fateful night of the shooting.
We wished to honor his love for dancing by reading the play in the theatre, in the midst of show week for our school’s dance concert, hours before the closing show was about to be performed.
It was three of the member’s first time experiencing the play. Sharing Laramie’s story and our team’s mission was one of the dearest moments for me through this process.
Before and after the play, we discussed LGBTQ+ presence and acceptance in society, and where there is still work to be done.
One of my favorite exchanges during the discussion was as follows:
ME: Have you ever seen a theatre production where they made a statement like this?
ME: Gotcha. Do you think theatre is the place for this
All of the participants agreed that there was much work to be done in spaces like schools, but we have improved exponentially even within the last five years. When it comes to forwarding acceptance and compassion, participant Desarae puts it this way: “You can’t force anyone to be accepting, so you have to just do it yourself.” I hope this project we’re cultivating is giving partakers the tools to do it themselves–say the words, tell the stories, and honor the memories in the name of something long-lasting.
I want to thank the participants of this reading, to team member Dylan for helping me out with it. I also want to offer my sincerest hope that Anthony was smiling down on us. I know I will keep dancing through life in honor of those who taught their families to do the same.
LPP Team Leader Alyssa
From left to right – Erica, Dylan, Me, Marissa, Rebecca, Desarae, Marian
Anthony, we miss you!