The Laramie Project - December 02 - December 10, 2016

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

 End Notes 

The Laramie Project is one of the most important pieces of theatre written written in the 21st Century. The LGBTQ community is today’s most marginalized minority. Their oppression is universal. It transcends time and geography, race, religion and culture. This play champions the concept of acceptance and community – striving to create a better world through education and openness. A message that too many people refuse to hear. 


Are they accepted in our community here? Yes. But are they welcomed? That is another question altogether, one that is not easily answered. THIS is the problem. People are who they are, people feel what they feel. People love who they love. 


We are living in a world full of hate. Hate that is driven by religious belief, ignorance, self-righteousness and fear. The thing that is going to prevent this world from progressing and evolving into what we all truly want is going to be the growth of that hatred. I have seen the most tolerant and accepting and loving people I know turn to hate in recent weeks. I know that this hate is being driven by fear, but in no way will that improve the world in any way. Screaming and chest pounding never changed anyone’s view of the world. Education and exposure. It is up to each of us to find our way to affect the world for the better. I educate and I entertain and that is what we are trying to do with this show. Like any production, we want you to be entertained. More importantly tonight, however, we are hoping to teach and expose. You may think that what happened to Matt was an isolated incident, or something that only happens in rural areas or doesn’t happen anymore. I am here to tell you it is still happening in our own community. Speak to members of the LGBTQ community and they may share with you their stories.


In meeting with students of our Panther family who are members of the LGBTQ community, I am sickened by some of the discrimination they have faced in public, here at school and in their own homes. They have lost friends. They have lost family members.  But there is hope. Others have shared of the growth they have witnessed in their families and friend groups. One student even shared a terrifying moment of discrimination that he experienced from a complete stranger in restaurant, and how, nearly a year later, he was approached by the same stranger who apologized for his shameful behavior. While this grown man’s behavior – shaming a teenager who was guilty of nothing other than deciding to eat dinner at a restaurant – is not to be excused, the growth provides a glimmer of hope. It is surprising to many, that this discrimination still exists in this world. We know that at our core, biologically, all people are essentially the same – and their differences are to be celebrated. 


So, I cannot ask that you enjoy today's show as I normally would. Instead, I ask you to open your eyes, ears, hearts and minds. In watching this performance, I want you to be looking a yourself and the people around you and decide for yourself; Are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution? Do you accept? Do you tolerate? Or do you support and defend your friends, your family members and the members of your community who are often victimized? 


Enjoy the show.




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