May Note From the President and CEO: Song, Ceremony and Perseverance

June 1, 2022

I’d already written this note when the horrifying news came through about the Texas shootings, which of course followed on the heels of the Buffalo shooting.  But it helps me to remember that the whole purpose of Compassion & Choices is to prevent more needless suffering for one population: those at the very end of their lives. With that in mind, we remain committed to our vision of building a society that affirms life and accepts the inevitability of death, embraces expanded options for compassionate dying, and empowers everyone to choose end-of-life care that reflects their values, priorities and beliefs. Below is the note as originally drafted.

With the tragic hate-crime shooting in Buffalo, devastation in the Ukraine, continued deaths from COVID-19 and so much more, the world situation continues to feel grim. But in early May, I had the pleasure of taking a brief respite to attend the sold -out concert premiere of the release of Goodbye New York’s original cast album at Broadway’s acclaimed club, Feinstein’s/54 Below.

It may seem counterintuitive that attending the concert premiere of a show about the end of life would feel like a break, but it really did. I was swept away by the love story between Olivia and Will, the musical frolic through New York and the masterful way the plot used humor, love and heartache to enrapture you. The story perfectly captures what so many of our supporters want at the end of life: control and choice.

In the show, Olivia forcefully demonstrates through song and actions that one can both live life to the fullest and embrace death, and the power in doing both. As she belts out the powerful lyrics of In Control and My Choice, she convincingly conveys that the patient — and only the patient — should be the decider in their end-of-life care. While it’s been several weeks since I watched the concert, I continue to sing Platonic Tea, “My Choice, “Make the Story Matter and several other songs, a sign that Goodbye New York has staying power.

Goodbye New York reminds me of musicals like Rent (HIV/Aids), Dear Evan Hansen (bullying and suicide) and The Prom (LGBTQ equality and acceptance) in its ability to shine a light on an important societal problem by making it entertaining, humanizing and thought-provoking. It’s easy to envision Goodbye New York on the Broadway stage — or as a major motion picture — and the powerful and profound impact such an occurrence would have on the issue we all feel so passionate about.

Join me in being transported into this magical love story by watching the premiere concertlistening to the album and thanking Andrew Beall (music), Evan McCormack (lyrics) and David Don Miller (book) for bringing their talent and perseverance to our important topic. If you are a producer/investor or know any Broadway producers or investors, please let me know, and I’d be happy to make an introduction to this amazing creative team.

Meanwhile, coming back to the real world, I am reminded of just how important our shared mission is. Newscasters continue discussing the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion on reproductive rights, and the topic has sobering implications for our cause. Inevitably, a high-court decision regarding the right to bodily autonomy in reproductive care will have ramifications for the right to bodily autonomy in end-of-life care. Now more than ever, our work — to change hearts and minds (see In the Media), expand our constituency base (see Volunteer Spotlight and Catholics for Compassion Launch) and improve existing laws and pass new legislation (see Vermont Passes Improvement) — is crucially important and integral to the nationwide, patient-directed healthcare movement.

Our work also has never been more robust — and is becoming ever stronger, thanks to supporters like you and a growing team of outstanding leaders who are sharing their time, talents and resolve to advance our shared vision. In late May, we recognized one of the most iconic pioneers of human rights in the United States. Dolores Huerta has spent her life fighting for freedom, equity and opportunity for all people in all conditions and at all stages of life — including at the end of life.

In establishing the Dolores Huerta Mission and Vision Award, Compassion & Choices recognizes the profound impact Dolores has had on our movement. She’s authored op-eds, appeared in videos and PSAs, spoken at rallies and traveled coast to coast to meet with lawmakers.

With this remarkable exemplar of leadership in mind, Compassion & Choices will present the Dolores Huerta Mission and Vision Award every year to one outstanding leader who, like Dolores, is helping to galvanize the movement to secure human rights at the end of life. Together we can ensure that, as Olivia sings in Goodbye, New York It’s our choice.

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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