WASHINGTON - November 1 - A collection of words, songs and raps from kids and teens across America, expressing their thoughts about peace and good wishes for the people of Iraq, will reach their counterparts in that embattled nation through the efforts of award-winning composer and musician Ruth Mendelson and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
The CD recording, which interweaves kids’ spoken words together with their onsite musical contributions, from traditional Sanskrit chants, African-American gospel, rap music and original songs created by five year-olds, has been recognized for consideration by the Recording Academy for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in the “Best Spoken Word Album for Children” category. Peaceful Tomorrows, a five year-old 9/11 families group, has been nominated for the 2003 and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
“Well Wishes and Blessings” is meant to connect children across the world through expressions of good will and common hopes for peace. Mendelson spent much of 2006 traveling across the United States to interview and record kids from ages 3 to 19, and it is from these recordings that the CD was made. Their statements are offered both in English and in translation.
In 2004, Peaceful Tomorrows steering committee member Bruce Wallace, an educator living in Brooklyn, New York, created the 121Contact Project to connect US and Iraqi students and teachers by email. The objective, teaching young people that the people on the ‘other side’ of the war in Iraq are truly people very much like each other, has been admirably met, as evidenced by the excerpts of these emails on the project blog: www.121contact.typepad.com
"121 Contact" and "Well Wishes and Blessings" fit perfectly together. Mr. Wallace has recently distributed the CDs to students in Iraq by way of Naba Hamid, founder of new Horizons for Women in Iraq, and Nesreen Ahmed Khammas, Mr. Wallace's project liaison in Baghdad.
“Well Wishes and Blessings” is the first project of Eagle Vision Initiatives, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to support the arts as a means to uplift, educate, empower, connect and nourish people of all ages and walks of life.” (www.eaglevisioninc.org).
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, founded on February 14, 2002, is a nonprofit organization of 9/11 family members who have united to turn their grief into action for peace (www.peacefultomorrows.org).
New Horizons for Women is an Iraqi-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Iraqi women as leaders of the new Iraq. The core values of the organization are integrity, civility and responsibility (http://ihcenter.org/groups/nhfw.html).