Access Roaring Fork for 1A |

Access Roaring Fork for 1A

Dear Editor:On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Pitkin County residents will have the opportunity to vote “Yes” on Question 1A to support the Healthy Community Fund. This fund is a crucial source of support for valley nonprofits who serve the residents and workers of Pitkin County.I am the executive director of one of those nonprofits, Access Roaring Fork. Access offers after-school and school support programs designed to engage students in direct, interactive learning and storytelling which encourages community engagement and builds cross cultural understanding.I’d like to share some comments made by Aspen middle schoolers to an Access presentation made to them by a group of Basalt High School Latino students. The high schoolers presented a short film they had made about an incident of discrimination they had experienced. Here are some of their comments: “This presentation made me aware of what was really going on. Before, racism against Latinos was just something that I had heard about. Now it is something that I am aware about, and I will try my hardest to change the way things are. I am not going to judge someone before I get to know them ever again.” “I had seen racism and known racism before, and I knew it was horrible, but I had never heard someone say how this had affected them. How they felt moving to an almost new world, and being harmed mentally. I will search for discrimination and try to correct it.” “This presentation really made me think about the racism going on in the valley and everywhere in the world. It was really good and thought provoking. I am going to do whatever I can do to not be racist and to not judge people. Don’t tell racist jokes, talk to everybody, don’t discriminate and be very open.” “Seeing this movie made me realize how ignorant people can be of different cultures. I think to really know someone you have to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. I think by just giving a stranger a smile, you can make a difference.”We have almost 200 such letters from last year’s presentations.The support of the Pitkin County Healthy Community Fund has been and will remain central to our ability to continue this service and others like it. We are one of 42 nonprofit agencies who, this year, relied on fund dollars to provide our services.It is the beauty of the valley that draws most of us here. It is the generosity of its people that allows many of us to stay.On Nov. 7, you can participate in the sharing by voting “Yes” on 1A. Thank you.Steve KaufmanExecutive directorAccess Roaring ForkCarbondale

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