On Friday, November 18th, 2022, the young BAFP Showcase Performers took the stage with Executive Director, Jennifer Young, in front of an audience of 1,000 at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, where they were invited to share the mission of the BAFP through songs and words, to members of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce at their 20th Anniversary Dinner.
NGLCC Co-Founders, Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell, saw the talented troupe of BAFP 'Upstanders' speak and perform songs from the middle school show, "IT'S EASY! The Friend Strong Musical," that launched the non-profit organization, at the BAFP October Gala in New York. Because of the disproportionate rate of bullying targeting LGBTQ+ youths, Justin and Chance extended the invitation to bring the bullying awareness showcase to their members, and matched member donations to a total of $25,000 for the BAFP mission. Transportation from NY to Washington DC for all 18 of the performer's and their parent chaperones was gifted by Mark Bertolini and Mari Arnaud.
The highlight and a great honor for the Be A Friend Project was to be introduced on-stage by Judy and Dennis Shepard of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The Shepards founded their mission to amplify the story of their son, Matthew, to inspire individuals, organizations and communities to embrace the dignity and equality of all people. Matthew, a gay college student attending the University of Wyoming, was killed in 1998 in one of the most notorious hate crimes in U.S. history, fueled by homophobia.
Performers: Liam Bummele (10), Aidan Duver (17), Davis Hamboussi (12), Aurora Lotz (9), Monika Piehler (12), Brielle Diaz Withers (17) and Mika Wurf (18). Aidan Duver stepped in at the last minute to read the remarks of Victor Vyssotski who was sidelined by Covid days before the event.
Thank you to the NGLCC for your support and such a warm welcome!