"The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation." - Stella Adler
Hello to all! My name is Autumn Cazier and I am the newly appointed Performing Arts Program Director for The Uvalde Foundation for Kids. As a playwright, theatre director and secondhand survivor of gun violence, I could not have asked for a better opportunity than this very platform.
After losing two of my friends to gun violence on Election Day 2020, I have continuously utilized live theatre as my primary outlet of dealing and coping with my grief. Having a healthy and expressive outlet is of the utmost importance when dealing with such critical trauma.
After publishing and directing my first full-length work, "4/20/99: A Story of Columbine" (of which received an honorary brick placement at Columbine High School, and is now sponsored by The Uvalde Foundation for Kids), it occurred to me just how much of a voice young people can have in making such drastic changes in our societies.
Since the tragedy at Columbine in 1999, "The Sandy Hook Promise" reported that over 338,000 students have been directly affected by the terrors of gun violence in the United States. If evenly distributed, that adds up to 14,083 students a year!
In the wake of tragedy, many students whether affected by gun violence or not, have expressed fear and anxiety that an act of violence may occur at their school. And although we unfortunately cannot pinpoint when or where school violence may occur, we do have the power to enact change and potential prevention through performative art.
Some examples of this coming to fruition within the past 16 years include, "ENOUGH! Plays To End Gun Violence" which included over 60 student written works that have performed all across the country this year, the 2006 Off-Broadway success "Columbinus" which recieved over 7 award nominations, and our Foundations very own "4/20/99: A Story of Columbine" which is currently certified via the United States Library of Congress, just to name a few.
Art is scientifically proven to improve quality of life and is often used as a form of therapy. Perhaps if we continue on this route of making impactful and lasting stories within us and the world around us. We may begin to see change and an increase in awareness when presented in a new light. For we have the power to make a difference, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
No more silence, End Gun violence.
The Uvalde Foundation For Kids
888 685 8464