On June 12, 2016, 49 innocent lives were taken in a massacre that is known as the worst hate crime in American history.
On that same day, scores of people made the promise to fight with all their might to build a safer world.
The LPP team looks back on our progress over the past four months of our project. We’re heartened by the groups who have joined the movement and signed on with the Project. So far, fifteen groups from two states have dedicated/plan to dedicate a performance of The Laramie Project to a victim of the Pulse shooting. These groups consist of college students, high school drama clubs, GSAs, theatre classes, and even professional companies like The Cherry Blossom Players LLC in northern NJ. Broadway Cares Equity/Fights AIDS, a fundraising and grant-making organization in NYC, has signed on too.
We are on the look out for out 33 more groups to be part of the LPP, an initiative that makes sure the names of the victims are never forgotten. We are utilizing all the tools we have to spread the project to schools and theatre groups across the country.
We are also relying on our audience to forward the project to more groups. Our goal is that by next June, we will have created beautiful theatre that challenges us to take a stand.
Follow us on twitter atr @theLPP2017 and view our Facebook page named The Laramie Project Project. Stay tuned for more updates–we are revving up.
On November 14th, 1998 the members of the Tectonic Theater Project travelled to Laramie, Wyoming to conduct interviews with the members of the town. On January 14th, 2017, the first production of the Laramie Project Project was put on at the New Jersey Thespian Festival in Robbinsville High School by Hoboken High School (Troupe 7268). The house lights dimmed. Company member Brandon Lyons stepped forward and stated “Today’s performance is dedicated to Darryl Roman Burt II.” What followed was a magnetic performance showcased in a black box style with striking portrayals of the citizens of Laramie. An especially exceptional performance was at the discretion of the despicable Aaron McKinney (Brandon Lyons) whose scowl sent shivers down my spine, and Judy Shepherd (Rebecca Weintraub) whose monologue moved me and drove me to tears. Directed under Danielle Miller, the various tableaus–including the residents of Laramie watching both the medical update and Judy Shepherd’s statement–as well as the constant, synchronized shifts in between monologues, illustrated beautifully the connection of members in a small town in the wake of a tragedy. Astonishing.
It was evident that this company was firmly grounded in the story of Laramie, as our follow-up interview with their cast echoed the words of Laramie citizens circa 1998. When prompted with a question regarding the safety schools assure to queer students, and whether or not it is a safe space, company member Hannah Mack (Rebecca Hilliker) reaffirmed that she believes their school is “very openly gay…We have a really good community with that. I don’t think we have much prejudice about that in our school.”
I know a lot of teachers in other schools that say that their schools aren’t that way,” said Director Danielle Miller, “but I feel like our school is pretty like ‘live and let live.’”
To the cast and crew of Hoboken High School’s production of Laramie: Way to go. Darryl Roman Burt II, this one’s for you.
1 down, 48 to go. I’m immensely proud.
LPP Team Member Dylan Glick
Leelah Alcorn was a transgender teen who committed suicide on December 28, 2014. She lived in a conservative household that condemned gender non-conformity and was sent to several “conversion therapists” by her parents, which led to Leelah’s depression.
Tomorrow, we paint our ring fingers pink to remember her and to remind us about the fight for transgender equality.
In April 2015, President Obama responded to the petition seeking to ban conversion therapy, in memory of Leelah. Obama promised to advocate for the ban of this inhumane practice. Cincinnati became the second U.S. city (after Washington D.C.) to ban the practice of conversion therapy in December 2015.
This is the third year of the #PinkForLeelah tradition. We must use the calendar to ask ourselves questions: how far have we come? What do we need to do? What should we speak more loudly about?
Otherwise, time will slip away, and our siblings will continue to live in silence.
As we wear a color that celebrates femininity and joy, we make sure that Leelah’s story isn’t forgotten.
To a love-filled 2017,
LPP Team Member Alyssa Sileo
Happy Holidays from The Laramie Project Project Team! We hope this new year is full of progress and change, and we are so happy you are on board with us to make that happen. As a part of The Laramie Project Project, we would like to remember the victims whose lives ended all too quickly on June 12, 2016. Each of the forty-nine schools who will take part in LPP will be assigned a name of a victim of the Pulse shooting. We are in the process of sending out names to each of our schools. Visit this site to learn more about the reason we are doing this project. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/victims/os-pulse-nightclub-orlando-shooting-victims-htmlstory.html Be sure to register under the page “Getting Started” if you have not already done so!
Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter @theLPP2017. With love, The LPP Team