Twenty-Six Congregations Host “Laramie Project” Screenings to Support LGBT Youth
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.
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.
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
Spokane UU Church
UU Church of Vancouver
First UU Society of Westchester
Hastings on Hudson, NY
First Unitarian Church of Honolulu
UU Church of Indianapolis
Kitsap UU Fellowship
North Shore Unitarian Church
Vancouver Lower Mainland, BC
Woodinville UU Church
Edmonds UU Church
Wy’East UU Congregation
Unitarian Church of Westport
Clifton UU Church and Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church
Unitarian Church of Calgary
Saltwater UU Congregation
Des Moines, WA
UU Congreation of Greater Canton
UU Fellowship Church
Champlain Valley UU Society
Anchorage UU Fellowship
Starr King UU Church
UU Congreation of Salem
Tahoma UU Congregation