By now, we’ve all seen the photos and videos: migrant children of all ages, violently and needlessly separated from their parents, herded into cages in hastily constructed internment camps south of the border.
Such images have rightly shocked and horrified the civilized world, and compelled many good humans into action, including some right here in the 604.
On July 4, more than two dozen Vancouver stage and screen performers will take to the stage at the BMO Theatre Centre for an evening of song and spoken word to raise funds for two organizations that support kids in desperate need on both sides of the border.
“This is a way of collecting people in a room to foster love and hope for children who need help, and families who need help,” says Jenny Mitchell of Laughing Matters Theatre Company, whose monthly play readings have raised tens of thousands of dollars for local and international charities since 2005.
The July 4 event is called Songs and Stories of Love and Hope: A Benefit for Healing Families, and it’s a truly star-studded affair; participating performers include Eric McCormack (Will & Grace, Travelers), Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary), Briana Buckmaster (Supernatural), Jenn Griffin, Odessa Shuquaya, Elaine Avila, Colin Thomas, MacKenzie Porter, Yoshie Bancroft, Dave Deveau, Kat Reynolds, Chelsea Rose Tucker, Dawn Pemberton, Paul Kinman, Janet Gigliotti, Meghan Gardiner, Jennifer Copping, Jonathan Winsby, Miranda MacDougall, Matt Montgomery, Mark Dozlaw, Max Kim, Katherine Matlashewski, Mitchell, and Kevin Michael Cripps.
YVR Screen Scene columnist Omari Newton will perform an original spoken word piece; the cast of Laughing Matters’ recent Dear Evan Hansen concert will reunite to sing a song.
“We wanted to bring in different voices, and all around the theme of parenting, children, family, separation, and hope, and we’ve left it open for people to do a monologue or sing or whatever it is that they’re moved to do,” says Mitchell. “This group of people will never be together again. It’s going to be an incredible mix of performances.”
All proceeds from Songs and Stories of Love and Hope will go to two organizations: the Washington, DC-based KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), which provides legal services to migrant children who enter the US immigration system alone, and Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services, which works to ensure the rights, safety, well-being, and spirit of Aboriginal children, and strives to eliminate oppression, discrimination, and marginalization within their community.
“We recognize that it’s not just kids in Texas,” says Mitchell. “It’s our despicable history here in Canada, too, and we can’t ignore that.”
“It’s going to be a great night,” she adds. “We’d love for people to come and be in the room and lend their energy and their support, because it will reach.”
Songs and Stories of Love and Hope takes place July 4 on the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. Tickets are $50 (plus a service fee) and are available at https://loveandhope.brownpapertickets.com/
Sabrina Furminger writes regularly for the Courier about Vancouver's film and television industry. This story originally appeared in her digital magazine, YVR Screen Scene.