Let Me Stand Alone: Illustrating Rachel Corrie’s Words

Rachel Corrie

Writer & Activist Rachel Corrie

“If the words I use buzz away from my lips meaninglessly…” —Rachel Corrie

Thanks to the efforts of the Corrie family to publish Let Me Stand Alone: The Rachel Corrie Story (W.W. Norton), Rachel’s worlds did NOT buzz away meaninglessly. After Rachel’s tragic death in Gaza in 2003, the Corries collected her journals and poems into a moving collection of one young woman’s hopes and musings.

Audiobook narrator Tavia Gilbert transformed those journal entries and poems into an unforgettable performance in time for the 10th anniversary of Rachel’s passing. Listen to Tavia talk about Rachel Corrie as a writer…

Over dinner one night, Tavia Gilbert pulled me into Rachel’s story. I knew vaguely what many do, that Rachel was killed by an Israeli tank while she attempted to protect the water source and well-being of a Palestinian family and community. Tavia told me that the journals held Rachel Corrie’s life, while much of the memory dwelled on her death.

How could one not Google Rachel Corrie after a dinner like this? The perponderence of online video about her death was balanced online by the amazing work of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice, but if one remained in YouTube, Rachel’s death reigned.

When Mary Anne Lloyd, Professor at Maine College of Art (MECA) offered to let Curious City “assign” her Illustration students a project, I saw it as an opportunity to honor Rachel’s visionary writing and to populate online video with the words of her life rather than just the news of her death.

Just as the assignment opened, so did a performance of “My Name is Rachel Corrie” a play by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner adapted from Let Me Stand Alone and emails home from Rachel Corrie. MECA students through the “FuturePatrons” program were invited to free performances by The Dramatic Repertory Company.

Actress Casey Turner in a performance of “My Name is Rachel Corrie”

Actress Casey Turner was stunning as Rachel in the one-woman play. Casey and artistic director Keith Powell Beyland joined the MECA students afterwards for a powerful discussion of the play and Rachel’s life.  Casey said that Rachel Corrie “wore her heart on her sleeve, arm, leg, and head” and that fact burned brightly in her writing. Keith said he was drawn to direct the play because he “did not want her death to be her life.”

The audio of the following eight videos are excerpts from the Let Me Stand Alone: The Rachel Corrie Story audiobook selected by each MECA Illustration student. Each illustrated their excerpt and set their piece in motion to Tavia Gilbert’s performance. (For many of the students this was their first use of iMovie and other video tools to share their work.)

May these videos serve as a celebration of Rachel Corrie’s writing as well as the narration of Tavia Gilbert and the illustration of these brilliant artists. May these productions populate YouTube with words and images of said celebration.

Paul Gray’s illustration of “1995-1997 If the words I use buzz away…” from page 3 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.


Katie Ackley’s illustration of “1997-2002 I am building the world myself…” from page 127 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.


Chelsea Anthony’s illustration of “1999-2000 Had a dream about falling…” from page 117 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.

Molly Blyth-Olson’s illustration
 of “1998-1999 Once upon a time when you and I were dolphins…” from page 105 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.


Anabelle Souza’s illustration of “2000 What I have…” from page 130 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.

Sarah Oppelt’s illustration
 of “1990-1991 I will die with the night…” from page 17 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.

Chris Jones’ illustration
 of “1989-1990  Little toy boat with a broken sail…” from page 10 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.

CeCe Cassidy’s illustration
 of “1989-1990  I must walk with care…” from page 4 of the print edition of Let Me Stand Alone.


  1. Excellent work, blessed parents can have such angles!

    • Thank you, Humairah! The students did wonderful work in honor of Rachel Corrie.