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Interview with Elizabeth Wang: The Story of Peter Wang

By CAPA-JRC reporter Emily Jia


On October 13th, 2023, the Gold Lantern Awards were held at the Kennedy Center, honoring notable Chinese Americans. Among those honored included fifteen year old Peter Wang, who died in a Florida school shooting during his attempts to save his classmates. At the event, the director and scriptwriter, respectively Margaret ShaBi Hong and Elizabeth Wang, of the movie based on his story, titled “See Me Once More, My Dear Kid”, accepted the award on behalf of the brave student. Before the ceremony began, members of Capa JRC sat down with and interviewed Elizabeth Wang. 


JRC reporters interviewing Elizabeth Wang and Margaret Shabi Hong (Photo credits: Qiang Wang)


“Almost as soon as I heard the news about the shooting, when I was a sophomore in college, it was shocking to me”, Elizabeth commented. She was born and raised in China, where they were not aware of the concept that schools would be so unsafe. It was a heartbreaking reality for her to face, and they knew immediately upon hearing the news that they wanted to write about this heroic story.

The film takes a unique perspective, focusing on Peter Wang’s mother and her grief with losing her son. Elizabeth explained, “There are a lot of news reports and awards given to Peter, but focusing on the broken family and how they gain the strength to continue with their lives is a really empowering perspective to take”. Her goal was for his family and other people around the world to see this empowerment, and find strength to continue on with their own lives, despite tragedies that occur.

The film covers a highly emotional topic, making it an easy assumption that writing about it would be difficult, but Elizabeth actually had a different experience. While writing the script, they had to do research on how many kids would die from school shootings each year, and she argued that this made her want to continue even more, because it made them realize how important it was to spread awareness. However, the most challenging part was during the filming, where many actors and crew would sometimes struggle emotionally with this heavy topic. Elizabeth quickly turns it around and says, “Finding a way to guide the team through their emotional hardships, especially since this was filmed during the pandemic, taught me a lot”. 


Elizabeth Wang and Margaret Shabi Hong Accepting Gold Lantern Award on Peter Wang’s Behalf (Photo credits: Qiang Wang)


Elizabeth recalls a meaningful moment during a screening of the film, where they saw the audience very emotionally touched and felt that the movie brought awareness to teenager safety in school. She adds that while this one movie cannot affect policy, it will help people think about how to make their communities safer and more peaceful. 

Elizabeth Wang and Margaret ShaBi Hong were able to take a tragic event and use it as a tool to provide comfort and spread awareness. “See Me Once More, My Dear Kid” is a truly empowering and inspiring film, and JRC members are grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the behind-the-scenes process. JRC wishes all the best to Elizabeth and ShaBi Hong and we look forward to what they will do in the future!


This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 25 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.

Instagram: @capa_jrc

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