DLDF honors Marjory Stoneman Douglas students Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña

FOURTH ANNUAL “DLDF DEFENDER AWARD” GOES TO MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SAWYER GARRITY AND ANDREA PEÑA

Sawyer 2018-7-28 Photo by Lia Chang-589.jpg

STATEMENT BY DLDF BOARD PRESIDENT JOHN WEIDMAN:

On Feb. 14th of [2018], a young man with an AR-15 assault rifle marched through the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school methodically murdering 17 students and staff members.

When the carnage was over and the shooter had been apprehended … several things happened.

Predictably … politicians tweeted that their thoughts and prayers were with the families of the victims.

Predictably … special interest groups re-enacted their familiar dance around who was responsible, and what should be done about it.

Less predictably … two members of the Stoneman Douglas drama club—two theater students who had huddled with sixty of their classmates for an hour and a half in a closet in the drama department classroom—did that thing which theater artists do best.

They wrote something.

Reaching deep down inside themselves to find the most authentic part of what they had experienced … they turned that experience into art.

Specifically, they wrote a song. A song which spoke powerfully and stirringly to their classmates … to their community … and ultimately—at the end of a fractious, nationally televised CNN Town Hall—to their country.

These two young woman have made it clear that they are not interested in personal recognition.

They have made it clear that they would prefer that we all go to the website for the organization which they founded to promote healing through the arts—MSD Shine—and offer our support.

And we should do that.

But first … as a roomful of playwrights, composers, and lyricists striving to create honest, authentic work … we should take a moment to thank these two women for affirming—with such power and grace—the most fundamental reason why we all do what we do.

Amy VonVett