On Friday, December 14, 2012, Paso Nuevo, which recently won recognition by First Lady Michelle Obama, at the White House with the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, presented Por cada lágrima/For Every Tear, an evening of original work by past and current participants. This event was a one-performance celebration of Paso Nuevo’s history and the winning of this highly competitive award.
Por cada lágrima/For Every Tear, represented the creative artistry of the Paso Nuevo young adults, that was coordinated and created by director Quique Aviles and Assistant Director Matthew Vaky. The 90-minute, bilingual show, that played to a full house at the Tivoli Theatre, included ballads, rap songs, and scenes, written and performed by young Latino adults, who ‘told it like it is” – describing what it’s like living in America today. Topics included migrants adjusting to a new and foreign culture, broken families, parental abandonment, teenage suicide, and how to ask for help in a positive way, instead of turning to the streets. Some of the stories presented were based on real life experiences, and some were fictional – totally made-up.
The young performers were rewarded with a standing ovation. One of the most moving post-show comments came from a parent, who said that Paso Nuevo brings hope to her and other parents. This after-school youth program offers a positive emotional outlet. She said that almost every day we hear something negative about Latino kids. We hear about a Latino or African American kid getting killed or going to jail. But what motivated her to speak out was the thought that if that young person in Newtown, Connecticut, had had the opportunity to express his problems in a program like this one at Paso Nuevo, “Maybe what happened today wouldn’t have happened.”
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