The following letter was sent to the students of the Lansing, KS public school district in response to the Lansing Board of Education’s decision to ban materials, including The Laramie Project, from the approved curriculum on 1/30/23.
Dear Students of Lansing,
The Matthew Shepard Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project are concerned and troubled by the news that the Lansing Board of Education has made the decision to remove The Laramie Project and other educational content from your English Language Arts course curriculum. As we know, most Americans are not in favor of book bans and educational censorship, and we feel it critical to stand by the courageous individuals who publicly oppose the ban.
Young people around the country must be given the opportunity to experience a variety of viewpoints. For that reason, the Matthew Shepard Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project wish to offer all Lansing students impacted by the decision a free copy of The Laramie Project for their own personal reading.
To request a copy, please email your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org
“In 1998, the members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie, Wyoming after the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Over several months, our artists conducted over 200 interviews that form the basis of the play’s text. Its characters are real people from widely varied backgrounds with diverse perspectives. ” -Matt Joslyn, Executive Director of Tectonic Theater Project
“At Tectonic Theater Project we create work that advocates for radical empathy and thoughtful dialogue. We stand with the students of Lansing” -Moisés Kaufman, Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project
“It’s the goal of the Matthew Shepard Foundation to create an environment where people are afforded an opportunity to discuss the play and its messages, the hate they encounter in their own lives, and how they can work collectively to build a more understanding and compassionate community.”
-Dana Juniel, EVP of Strategy & Communications, Matthew Shepard Foundation
The Laramie Project, written by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project, was named one of the most influential plays of the past quarter-century by the New York Times, was made into a feature film by HBO, has been translated to over 30 languages, and remains today one of the most performed plays in the United States. It is published by Random House.
For additional information on The Laramie Project, visit tectonictheaterproject.org. To learn more about Matthew Shepard, visit matthewshepard.org.