Reader comment on John F. Kennedy's passage ...

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    On Aug 28, 2015 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

     wow, the timing is perfect as I fly out to Burning Man today! <3 The highest duty of an artist is to remain true to oneself means to me to have the courage and integrity to speak, paint, dance, sing one's truth no matter how unpopular it may be; in fact it is most important when it may be the most difficult to do. I strive to be true to myself, my heart through my art of Storytelling. I have had so many occasions in which courage was required including in Belize where I had created & facilitated a volunteer literacy project. It was popular among the teachers and Principals but not so among the Ministry of Education who I suppose may have felt a threat. At one point they tried to shut down my project, but I did not give up. I learned later that the government at that time in Belize was quite corrupt and had an interest in the people remaining illiterate. I also learned that the indigenous legends I was helping to reclaim for the teachers had been banned from use in the schools; there were many factors as to why including British colonization and also several religions (from the outside) being the main source of schooling; without fully understanding the legends the religious groups chose to ban them from schools rather than embrace the culture. At any rate, the teachers & Principals saw that the students connected deeply to the legends and to the lesson plans we developed together and I continued on often through the backdoor to get into a school to be able to share the program. In the end it was worth it as 33,000 students received the program for free and 800+ teachers were trained in how to use their own cultural stories in their schools. If I had given up because the path I chose was a slippery slope the students and teachers would have lost out on an important piece of their history and culture.
    nearly a decade later a few of the teachers still email me to tell me they are using their own legends and the lessons and training other teachers. I am so grateful for the art of Storytelling to share Stories which need to be told. This also brings to mind having the honor to present in Iran this past February at a time when there was no diplomatic relationship between the US and Iran; we used Story as a bridge toward peace and understanding. So very grateful! Thank you for letting me share. Hugs to you all! Here's to all the arts to bring us together to speak about topics we need to address and to shine light on the dark.

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