The Laramie Project

by Moisés Kaufman

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Find an organization that supports gay rights in your community. Gather information about this group and prepare a paper that covers such issues as current legislation, the challenges that face homosexuals in your community, the history of homosexuals as a group, and common political goals of homosexuals.

Matthew Shepard was majoring in political science at the University of Wyoming at the time of his death. He was interested in the issue of human rights. Choose a specific country and research that country’s human rights’ issues. What legislation has been passed? What is the history of the fight for human rights in that country? What are some of that country’s major organizations that focus on human rights?

Research hate crimes in the world. First, what is the definition of a hate crime? How do hate crimes differ from other types of crimes? What are the statistics on the prevalence of hate crimes in each country? Which countries have laws that specifically address hate crimes? Since the passing of legislation in each country, have the incidents of hate crimes decreased?

Read Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Try to figure out which scene in that play might have been used by Jedadiah Schultz for his scholarship audition for the University of Wyoming. Memorize the scene and perform it in front of your class.

Pretend to be the defense attorney for Aaron McKinney. Prepare the closing remarks that you would present to the jury in an attempt to save his life. Find some reason that McKinney should live, and build an emotional plea that might sway some of the jurors.

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