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Twenty-Six Congregations Host “Laramie Project” Screenings to Support LGBT Youth

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Feb 07, 2011


From British Columbia to Georgia, there is a phenomenal social justice project taking place this February, spearheaded primarily by UU youth.

Twenty-six congregations across the U.S. and Canada – led by their youth groups – will be showing The Laramie Project and raising money on behalf of organizations that support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth. The first showing, just held in Edmonds, WA raised $1450 for Lambert House, an organization in Seattle that welcomes LGBTQ youth.

The showings run for the next few weeks, and coincide with National Standing on the Side of Love Day.

“The Laramie Project” is a film about the 1998 murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard. The murder – described as an anti-gay hate crime – sparked national controversy and focused a media spotlight on Laramie, Wyoming, where the killing occurred.

Members of New York’s Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie and interviewed more than 200 Laramie residents to document the case. The film paints a chilling portrait of hate, indifference and intolerance. Actors speak the words of family, friends, the murderers, police and others, and re-enact events that led to Shepard’s death – from his visit ill-fated to a local bar, through his kidnapping and beating, the discovery of him tied to a fence, the vigil at the hospital, his death and funeral, and the trial and conviction of his killers.

Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard

Anne-Marie Davidson, Youth Empowerment Services Team Advisor for the Pacific NorthWest District of the UUA, reports that this effort began in the Pacific Northwest District and BC Youth-Adult Committee (YAC):

Our youth leadership team had their meeting this past weekend. The youth were so excited to know 26 congregations had opted in.  It’s our first run at something like this, and it seems a pretty good start.

The original suggestion came from Samaya Oakley of the BC region; she suggested we do a cross-border project.  The YES team decided to run with this, and we made the announcement at our fall conference and recruited people from the various congregations in the PNWD and BC region.  From the YES team, youth Elissa McDavid and adult Rev. Liz Stevens were coordinating the effort.  Tandi Rogers helped us promote it on Facebook through the youth ministry page and the Youth/Young Adult office newsletter.  That helped us get some of the rest of the country involved.
Today, Edmonds held the first showing (that we know about); between their youth service last week and the showing today, they have raised $1450 for Lambert House, an organization in Seattle that welcomes LGBTQ youth.  Kelly Pryde (youth) and Tracy Ylingling (adult) coordinated the effort there. 

Samaya Oakley is Youth Program Coordinator at the North Shore Unitarian Church in West Vancouver, BC

Samaya Oakley is Youth Program Coordinator at the North Shore Unitarian Church in West Vancouver, BC

A list of congregations participating is below:

2/6:  Edmonds/Shoreline, WA
2/9: Palouse, Moscow, ID
2/11: Marietta, GA
2/11 Woodinville, WA
2/12: Eastshore, Bellevue, WA – doing a radio play version! (live!) 
2/18: Corvallis, OR
2/19: Vancouver, WA
2/21: Salem, OR
2/25:  Tacoma, WA
2/25: Kitsap/Cedars, Bremerton, WA
2/26: Spokane, WA
2/27: Saltwater, Des Moines, WA
2/27: Wy’East, Portland, OR
3/5: Northshore Unitarian, Vancouver, BC
Laramie Project Permission
Unitarian Universalist Groups

All Souls UU Church   
Kansas City, MO   
UU Congreation of Wyoming Valley
Wilkes Barre, PA
Emerson UU Congregation   
Marietta, GA   
Spokane UU Church
Spokane,  WA
UU Church of Vancouver   
Vancouver, WA   
First UU Society of Westchester
Hastings on Hudson, NY
First Unitarian Church of Honolulu   
Honolulu, HI   
UU Church of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, IN
Kitsap UU Fellowship   
Bremerton,  WA   
North Shore Unitarian Church
Vancouver Lower Mainland, BC
UU Church  
Farmington, MI   
Woodinville UU Church
Woodinville, WA
UU Church   
Worcester, MA   
Edmonds UU Church
Edmonds, WA
Wy’East UU Congregation   
Portland, OR   
Unitarian Church of Westport
Westport, CT
Clifton UU Church and Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church
Louisville, KY   
Unitarian Church of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta
Saltwater UU Congregation
Des Moines, WA
UU Congreation of Greater Canton
Canton, OH   
UU Fellowship Church
Corvallis, OR
Champlain Valley UU Society   
Middlebury, VT   
Anchorage UU Fellowship
Anchorage, Alaska
Starr King UU Church
Hayward, CA
UU Congreation of Salem
Salem, Oregon
Tahoma UU Congregation
Tahoma, WA

4 Responses to “Twenty-Six Congregations Host “Laramie Project” Screenings to Support LGBT Youth”

  1. Barbara Bissell-Erway says:

    Love the NY Love from First UU Society of Westchester onboard the UU SS LOVE. Thank you from Upstate ROChester!

  2. Peggy Bon says:

    We are such an awesome group of people! Thank you everyone who is sponsoring this film. We will keep “chipping away” at this problem; minds will be and are being changed. People are beginning to understand that the problem is their fear and there is no reason for that fear.

  3. Rev. Marti Keller says:

    We screened Laramie Project yesterday, Sunday Feb.13 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.

  4. Elissa McDavid says:

    I would like to thank everyone for taking a part of this! I’m a part of the YES team for the Youth empowerment services for the Pacific Northwest district, and it’s totally awesome how many churches are involved! Keep up the love!

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