Philadelphia’s Theater of Living Arts welcomed the HEAVY AND LIGHT tour to its stage on February 12. The tour, which was sponsored by the organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), visited 16 cities across the nation during January and February, ending in Orlando, Florida on the 18th.
TWLOHA is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 by Jamie Tworkowski. Its mission is to find help for those struggling with self-harm, addiction, depression and suicide. Since its foundation, the organization has raised and donated more than $1 million for the treatment and recovery of people dealing with these issues.
For TWLOHA, the HEAVY AND LIGHT tour has been a dream, only having taken place in Orlando over the past few years. However, thanks to last year’s American Giving Awards hosted on NBC by Chase Bank, TWLOHA was awarded a grant of $1 million. Because of this grant, the organization has been able to fund the nation-wide tour with the purpose of starting conversations about the importance of voicing pain and finding help. The organization chose music as the springboard for these conversations due to its ability to speak to and move so many different kinds of people.
Upon entry to the venue, every person was provided a brochure, which touched on the tour’s mission and listed some of the treatment sources, crisis hot lines and support groups in the Philadelphia area. The crowded concert opened with the band The Lone Below, followed by a few words by Tworkowski. Tworkowski spoke about the stigma that comes with addiction and that the way to battle that stigma is to talk about it. He stated that addiction is seldom spoken about, but needs to be, and that one of the best ways to help someone with this sort of problem is to be a genuine friend to them. He encouraged those in the building that it was a safe place and hoped that in the next few hours, everyone present would be able to relax and smile. Following Tworkowski was the band Now, Now, Will Anderson of Parachute, spoken word poet Anis Mojgani, and Anthony Raneri of Bayside. Jon Foreman of Switchfoot closed the show with his side project Fiction Family, playing a mixture of original music and Switchfoot hits. Each artist played an acoustic set featuring uplifting songs, giving the concert a casual and, at times, spiritual atmosphere.
HEAVY AND LIGHT stands as a beacon of hope and an empowering evening to those battling such dark problems. For more information on the organization, or for ways to help someone that may need it, visit TWLOHA.com.