Lauren was an 18 year old graduate of Wayland High School who was murdered by her former boyfriend during the summer of 2011. She was planning to attend Elon University in North Carolina. She was an accomplished tennis player, studied French horn, played in the Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra, and was an active member of the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Wayland where she volunteered on several trips to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Following her death, her parents and others in the community created the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, focused on promoting healthy teen relationships and preventing teen dating violence. Each year they award grants to community organizations in new England working in the area of teen health, the arts, and community service - all of which were central to Lauren's life.
It seems fitting that at the same time our church decided to donate to this worthy cause Lady Gaga performed "Til It Happens to You" alongside survivors of sexual abuse at the Oscars. She was nominated for her work in The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assaults on college campuses. Vice President Joe Biden introduced the stunning performance by saying "Take the pledge: I will intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. We must, and we can, change the culture."
Watch the truly amazing performance below and learn more about the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, or maybe consider making a donation of your own by clicking here.