Notes from Susan: Finding Hope – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Notes from Susan: Finding Hope – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting


Finding Hope – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

By Susan MacLaury
February 20, 2018

It was hard to feel hopeful this weekend, in the aftermath of yet another school shooting that killed 17 kids and caring adults. Hard not to scream while listening to legislators nod solemnly on Sunday news shows that more needs to be done to protect American children while finding ways to give themselves passes.

Harder even still reading David Leonhardt’s op ed piece in the Sunday New York Times, “Letting American Kids Die,” and learning that we have the highest child mortality rate among the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world: 6.5 thousand deaths per million vs. the average number, 3.8. This translates to 21,000 “excess deaths” of American kids each year in sharp contrast to fifty years ago when our child mortality rate was below that of these same nations. The majority of these deaths are attributable to guns, car accidents and infant mortality, all of them clearly serious problems that must be addressed.

The cause that could be addressed immediately is banning assault weapons. It seems clear that our politicians are governed by self-interest, so possibly the decision by top Republican funder, Al Hoffman, Jr., who stated: “I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons. Enough is enough,” will have an impact on funders supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle. Let’s hope so.

I will be forever haunted by the image of 5 and 6 year old children literally cut in half in the Sandy Hook shooting and dismayed by the fact that their community’s efforts on their behalf, successful in changing Connecticut laws, didn’t make a dent nationally. As always, though, I find the greatest source of hope to be our children themselves.

This week’s shooting has galvanized the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to seek public support for their mission to end gun violence. It’s resonated for students who experienced similar traumatic events at their schools who’ve come out in support of them. These are our children. Let’s join them all. Let’s give them the chance to find meaning to their experiences, to thrive, to help us become the best America we can be.

A march in Washington, DC is planned for March 24th:


Shine Board Member Profile: Adrienne Lopez

Shine Board Member Profile: Adrienne Lopez



Shine Board Member Profile: Adrienne Lopez

As part of an ongoing series, we want to introduce you to the Shine Global family and especially our outstanding and hard working board members who help move Shine forward.

Adrienne LopezName: Adrienne Lopez
Joined Shine Board of Directors: 2011 (previously on Advisory Board)
Title: Senior VP, Smith Entertainment
Current Role at Shine: Member of the Board of Directors, Member of the Content Committee

Adrienne is a veteran television producer and talent executive with credits on talk shows that include Phil Donahue, and Joan Lunden and she previously served as a television executive at Nickelodeon, BET, and HLN. She is currently Senior VP of Kenny Smiths Production Company in partnership with ITV America as well as a documentary film producer on two Nickelodeon docs, Little Ballers 1 and 2. Adrienne also produced one of the segments on Shine’s upcoming digital project. As a mother and now a grandmother, kids and their well being are important to her.

Why did you join Shine’s board and why have you stayed on for several years?

I joined Shine because I believe in what Albie and Sue believe in. I’ve been blown away by the work and like contributing to a very necessary cause – films about children in peril.

What’s a favorite Shine moment for you?

Waiting for the Oscar to be called for Inocente. I felt I was there and we all went up and accepted it, virtually.

How do you use your specific skill set in your work as a Shine board member?

I am very proud to say I’ve produced a short segment for Shine about a topic I feel strongly about. I think that knowledge of film and the love of film drive me to continue to support and give my time to continuing to build this organization.

What is a Shine challenge that you feel supporters should know about?

I want to win the lotto so I can get on the board of Governors and allow Shine to make whatever films we want and like!  I also want to identify some large donors who can help us realize our dream of having a library of films dedicated to the cause of helping children.

Anything else you want to say?

It would be great if I could work with Shine full-time. I love this organization and the people who are on the board and the supporters. It’s meaningful to me to be able to use my resources which include, directors, producers, and talent to contribute to this cause.

See the full list of Shine’s Board of Directors Members and Board of Governors Members here and read the profiles of board members Dario Spina here, Keith Brown here, Kay Sarlin Wright here, Marilyn DeLuca here, Al Cattabiani here, Bill MacArthur here, Don Melnick here, Robert Baker here, and Anne Prost here.

Meet our 2018 Spring Interns

Meet our 2018 Spring Interns


Meet our 2018 Spring Interns!

Meet our 2018 Spring Interns: Yasmeen Alkooheji, Medina Bakayeva, and Demi Moore. Shine is lucky to have them bringing their passion and working with us this semester.

Yasmeen Alkooheji, a senior at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, is elated to be interning at Shine Global for a second consecutive semester. She is majoring in Screenwriting and minoring in Spanish and in her free time, enjoys photography and soccer. She was drawn to Shine’s mission of creating social change through film and helping empower at-risk youth on a global scale. After graduating, she hopes to write rom-coms, mystery dramas and the untold stories of the underserved and misrepresented communities around the world.


Medina Bakayeva is a Junior studying Global Liberal Studies, Philosophy, and French at NYU. She was born in Kazakhstan, immigrated to London at a young age and spent many childhood summers in Israel. Growing up with a variety of cultural influences such as Russian, Central Asian and Israeli she is fascinated by what defines a culture, how people interact and how different customs and shared values shape our perception of the world. She is interested in journalism, documentary film, non-profit and philosophy of ethics. Medina was first introduced to Shine Global through The Eagle Huntress and, as the film documents a central aspect of Kazakh custom, was enamored by the way the protagonist, a young girl, partook in ancient traditions and crossed boundaries. She was captured by Shine Global’s mission and believes in the capacity of stories to shape our hearts and minds and is passionate about presenting empowering narratives. 

Demi Alexis Moore is a Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College Junior exploring the nexus of Political Science, Creative Writing, and Human Rights on the Pre-Law track. With high hopes to use a J.D. with a specialization in Critical Race Theory, Demi plans to redesign a national engagement model that empowers Black (natives and immigrant) youth to lead socially salient movements in politics through effective representation. Demi is a founding member of the Macaulay Crew: Hip Hop Dance Team as its Creative Director, a Student Senator in the Hunter College Senate, and is responsible for leading and organizing the largest TEDxUniversity event in the country (TEDxCUNY), representing over 530,000 of CUNY’s students. To Demi, being an active citizen requires building community across disciplines, across platforms, and across bias. She is happy to be interning with Shine to understand how a child’s perception of space and place can help craft a social message that encourages change at all levels of civil society.