Two New Jersey groups are joining forces to honor victims of last summer’s mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
The Collingswood chapter of PFLAG is partnering with the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill to become a part of “The Laramie Project Project.” The effort is a series of readings from the play “The Laramie Project” by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project in reaction to the brutal murder of openly gay teenager Matthew Shepard in the small town of Laramie, Wyo.
Tom Tamburello, a board member for PFLAG Collingswood, said the idea for the readings originated with a local teen.
“There was a student from Gloucester County Institute of Technology [Alyssa Sileo] that came up with this idea of having 49 performances around the country and world to recognize the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre,” he said. “Since Gloucester County is so close, she was reaching out to organizations that she thought might be interested.”
This particular performance will be in memory of Pulse victim Luis Daniel Conde, from Kissimmee, Fla. Tamburello said that linking “The Laramie Project” with the tragedy of the Pulse shooting will hopefully raise awareness of the struggles the LGBT community continues to face almost 20 years after Shepard’s murder, as well as organizations like PFLAG who continue to advocate for LGBT acceptance and equality.
“We’re doing it to raise awareness about the fact that there are still issues for LGBT people,” he said. “We’re also hoping to get the word out about PFLAG Collingswood. We meet once a month and our meetings continue to grow, especially with the trans community. We’re having more and more parents of trans kids attending our meetings.”
PFLAG Collingswood presents “The Laramie Project Project” 6-9 p.m. Oct. 15 at Unitarian Universalist Church. For more information, visit https://actingout4peaceblog.wordpress.com/ or www.pflag.org/chapter/pflag-collingswood.