This week in LPP: Happy 6.26, International Thespian Festival, Spirit of Matthew Award 2017 Winner is LPP Team Leader

Today in history…the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide! While this feat two years ago meant a huge step for the LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go. The LPP team remembers this day so fondly, and fights daily to spread compassion and awareness among communities. We hope you will too!

In current LPP events…June 19th-June 25th, LPP members took on the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska! Participating LPP troupes, Hoboken HS and Robbinsville HS, were also in attendance! Thespians represent courage, love, and passion, so what better place than the largest Thespian event of the year for these teams to meet up and chat about our mission to #erasehate? LPP Team Leader Alyssa will post a blog soon about her experience.

We are also THRILLED to announce that LPP team leader Alyssa Sileo was chosen as a winner of the 2017 Spirit of Matthew Award. Lyssi’s outstanding dedication to this project and the message behind makes her a more than deserving winner, we could not be more proud to have her take our story to Colorado! She will represent all participating LPP groups as well as her beloved school/troupe, all of Jersey Arts, and International Thespian Society/Educational Theatre Association (her biggest inspiration) at the ceremony on October 14th. Congratulations to Jaimie Wilson as well, fellow winner of the Spirit of Matthew Award- another advocate using his art for great things. She wishes to thank all of the LPP international team for their unwavering support.

With Love,
LPP Team Member Kelly

A note from Alyssa – here is my favorite Jaimie Wilson song, “Soldier” 🙂 ❀

This week in LPP: Groups in Harrisburg PA and Barnegat NJ

Another group in the works for LPP is the Susquehanna Township HS’s School of Performing Arts (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). They are currently in the process of blocking their performance. This particular group will honor Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz. Here is a picture of them at one of their rehearsals! We are excited to have them onboard!  Shoutout to Jacob Runkel, a STHS senior, who first contacted us about getting their school on board. Their show will be July 29-30.

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Note from Alyssa: This picture brings to mind the Greek Theatre set-ups…this theatre geek loves this 😛

A group of students from the Bengal Theatre Company and Barnegat High School Gay Straight Alliance (Barnegat, New Jersey) just held a stage reading of The Laramie Project on June 13th, 2017. This is a particularly special day because it is one day after the one year anniversary of the Pulse Shooting.  Thank you for helping us with our advocacy project! Also, thanks to Kerry Bollenbach, head of the Bengal’s Thespian Troupe. Below are pictures from their production, honoring Kimberly Morris. 

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The participants of the Bengal LPP…go NJ schools!

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Important info regarding the future of the LPP:
The LPP is proud to have officially committed 46 groups to honor the victims through theatre efforts. There are three other groups that we are in conversation with now. We are confident that all of the Pulse victims WILL be honored by theatre groups within the year. We’ve hit our threshold of 49 groups-interested twice within the last month. Our next mission is to sign on a group to honor the Pulse survivors.
Registration is ALWAYS open at this link:

A note from LPP Team Leader Alyssa: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the support regarding the Spirit Of Matthew Shepard Award!

With love,
LPP Team Member Taylor

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Peter will be honored in PA this summer. Rest in peace ❀

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Kimberly, Barnegat loves you ❀



One Year since the Pulse Shooting

Today is one year since the Pulse shooting that took 49 innocent lives from us forever, and wounded countless others.

Today marks a year since the worst hate crime by shooting in American history.

Today marks a year since many of us said this will not be normal any longer.

The LPP is proud to have officially committed 46 groups to honor the victims through theatre efforts. There are three other groups that we are in conversation with now. We’ve hit our threshold of 49 groups-interested twice within the last month. Our next mission is to sign on a group to honor the Pulse survivors.

Thank you for joining us in this necessary fight. We love and believe in you.
With love,
LPP Team Leader Alyssa

LPP at Bodine High School for International Affairs – Philly Represent!

On June 7th, another reading of the Laramie Project took place! A group of students from Bodine High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania read a few selections of the play at two GSA assemblies. A special thanks to Jeffrey Kolman, GSA supervisor, who helped coordinate the event. This reading was a part of an LGBTQ+ assembly at their school. This particular performance was in honor of Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen. The LPP team would like to thank them for being a part of our project! It’s so cool to have a Philly team on board; this city is so important to the team.

Note: we’ll add more pictures to this blog as they arrive!

With love,
LPP Team Member Taylor

The team at Bodine!

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Drew…we will fight for you ❀

Happy Birthday, Gilbert Baker

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Gilbert Baker was the creator of the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBTQ+ community for over 4 decades. He was active in the San Francisco Gay Rights Movement in the 70s, one of the most important times in queer history. He just recently died of heart disease, only in his 60s.

We have to cling to the symbols of pride and culture for our community. It is so remarkable to think about what this flag has seen over the last 40 years–upheaval, progress, compassion, tragedies. We will always have our heritage as the years go on. The vitality of the queer community continues to shine bright and colorfully.

This is the flag I purchased at my first Pride parade. It also happened to be the first day of the Pulse shooting. I wear it with such responsibility and gratitude for my ancestors who made sure I could!

I hope Gilbert knows the world erupts into rainbows every June, and that we tweet little images of his flag all the time. I hope all who have passed onto another life but who spent their time here fighting know that LGBTQ+ youth now find home in these rainbows.

With love,
LPP Team Leader Alyssa

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With my Matthew bracelet peeking through on the right…

LPP at Vineland High School Musical Theatre Class

We’re very pleased to say that on March 24th, Vineland High School, another reading of The Laramie Project was performed by students in the Musical Theatre Class. This reading of the play was dedicated to Mercedez Marisol Flores.

The LPP team would love to thank the students and their teacher Melanie Anderson for being involved with our project. It truly means so much to us that they were willing to help us share Matt’s story, all the while honoring Mercedez, and continuing to raise awareness. NJ schools are so full of heart!

Included in the blog post below you can view a photo of the students’s reading and a beautiful photo of Mercedez Marisol Flores. We hope this post may have inspired you to stay involved with the arts and continue to create, spread acceptance, and erase hate.

To conclude, I would like to share some famous words of Lin-Manuel Miranda “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.”
Happy first day of Pride Month!

With love,
LPP Team Member Kayla
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A note from Alyssa – this is perhaps one of my favorite photos I’ve collected from this project yet. ❀

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Mercedez loved music, her friends, and living life to the fullest. The world misses your light. ❀



Happy #PrideMonth2017 from the LPP Team

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2017 Pride is one for the books–for the LGBTQ+ community, the theatre-makers, our own drama program, and our favorite network of artist-advocates–you.

We are so eager to celebrate queer culture within the next 30 days. Please have a safe and special Pride month.

Being Team Mama of this initiative is something I will be proudest of for the rest of my life. To my LPP Team, those of the Cheetah variety and those of the international variety–thank you for DOING SOMETHING to make this Pride worthy of its joy!

With love,
LPP Team Leader Alyssa