Taro Alexander, Duke Ellington Graduate and Son of Living Stage Theatre Company Founder, Returns Home to Launch SAY: DC, A Free Resource for Young People Who Stutter and Their Families
The Stuttering Association for the Young(SAY) announced today that they would be launching a new chapter of their award-winning organization here in DC this Spring with free offerings for local young people who stutter and their families.
Taro Alexander founded SAY in New York City in 2001, and it continues to grow and flourish there. Now, with the launch of SAY: DC, the organization’s first satellite office has opened in the Nation’s Capital.
To officially kick off SAY: DC, the organization is hosting a free day camp on Saturday, April 27and Sunday, April 28, 2019. It will be the perfect opportunity for kids and teens (ages 8-18) to meet new friends who stutter and participate in exciting activities that help build confidence. The two-day event will take place in DC amidst the historic grandeur of the United StatesChamber of Commerce.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr., former Vice President of the United States and person who stutters, has praised SAY, stating, “Growing up, I struggled with stuttering and understand firsthand the anguish, frustration, and anxiety that this common speech disorder inflicts on young people. I hope that every child who stutters has the opportunity to benefit from SAY’s program and that others will support this vital organization.”
SAY Founder, Taro Alexander, was raised in Washington, D.C. and has stuttered since he was five. Alexander loved growing up in the DMV in the 1970’s and 80’s, spending his formative years immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of the groundbreaking theatre company, Living Stage — which was founded by his father, the late Bobby Alexander, as an outreach program of Arena Stage. A 1991 graduate from the legendary Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Alexander felt comfortable portraying characters on the stage, but inside he was hiding. “My childhood and youth were challenging times because I didn’t meet anyone else who stuttered until I was 26. I grew up feeling isolated, alone, and ashamed of my stutter.”
After graduating from Ellington, Alexander left his hometown, heading to New York with close friend and classmate, Dave Chappelle, to pursue a career as a professional actor. Alexander says, “Dave was a real pivotal person for me. At a time in my life when I lacked confidence because of my stutter, Dave always believed in me. He’s a great listener and a great friend, and he always encouraged me to go after my dreams and not let my stuttering hold me back.” Over the ensuing years as his acting career blossomed, Alexander was afforded opportunities on the stage and screen and criss-crossed the country on two national tours (Lost in Yonkers, STOMP) but he always knew that his true calling was to follow in his father’s footsteps and continue the legacy of Living Stage. In 2001, he realized that the time had come to start making his dream a reality, and so SAY was founded….. (continued)