The Midland Center for the Arts, through the efforts of Katie Miller, Manager of Community Engagement, was able to build partnerships to open doors to conversation through education, storytelling and creativity. Partnerships included: Perceptions, Family & Children’s of Mid-Michigan, Midland Public Schools, and GLAD (the employee resource group – ‘Gays & Lesbians at DOW’) and organizing the ‘Perspective Series’. The project centered around the horrific death of Matthew Shepherd – a gay American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. Events included Understanding LGBTQ Communities, presented by Equality Michigan – Victim Advocacy Services, ’Love Simon’ film showing, ‘Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine’ film showing, Here: Say Storytelling presents: Stories We Don’t Share, and Considering Matthew Shepard, Professional National Tour, the Grammy®-nominated three-part choral work composed by Craig Hella Johnson.
It is estimated that a total of 1,400+ individuals were impacted by the project.