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A positive message

A positive message

Dear Editor:

Last week, students from Aspen’s elementary, middle and high schools, as well as Carbondale Middle School, attended performances and workshops by performing artists Molina Soleil and Aju, known as Soulaju. Their visit in Aspen was funded by an Excellence in Education Grant from The Aspen Education Foundation, The Two Old Hippies Foundation and the AES PTO. In Carbondale, the support came from The Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers, The CMS Diversity Team and Student Council.

As entertaining as the hip-hop and lyrical spoken word performances were, Molina’s and Aju’s positive messages were embedded in their powerful use of voice and rhythmic poetry. Their blend of cultures, languages and artistic styles were enthusiastically received by the students and teachers.

While many students were dancing to the beat, they were also hearing from the performing artists that speaking or “rapping” one’s words carries a responsibility to speak one’s truth in a socially responsible way. The message was clearly articulated that hip-hop, historically a musical and poetic genre, has its roots in social activism and is relevant to the times it is mirroring. Students were encouraged to use their words to make a difference in their community and the world. Soulaju exemplified this underlying purpose. Through skillful mentoring by the eclectic duo, students were inspired and motivated to share their own experiences, feelings and ideas in follow-up writing workshops. Aspen and Carbondale students were fortunate to have this valuable cultural and literary opportunity.

But, as we all know, it takes a whole valley to educate our young people. So we want to thank the community businesses that also supported this educational event for our students: Tyrolean Lodge, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Aspen Skiing Co., and also the La Cantina, Phat Thai, and Zheng restaurants.

Ed Searing, Aspen Elementary Writing Specialist

Adam Carballeira, Carbondale Middle School Language Arts Teacher

Katie Marshall, Special Events Coordinator, Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers


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