Obama: Impressed!

Everyone was celebrating Cinco de Mayo. All commercial establishments were announcing discounts. In their programing, TV stations included set designs, contests and various Mexican themes to celebrate the defeat of the French. The president himself talked about the Battle of Puebla and congratulated the attendees in a party organized in his official residence, where over a thousand people mingled, commemorating this date and listening to the Youth Symphony Orchestra Esperanza Azteca (Aztec Hope).

But this did not happen in Mexico City or Puebla. It took place in the USA.

President Obama led a magnificent celebration. He invited a large number of people to the White House and presented a very valuable social and cultural project. He asked children from Los Angeles and children from Puebla, who are part of Esperanza Azteca Orchestras in their cities, to play classical music.

Thus, a binational youth orchestra was formed with members from the Esperanza Azteca Orchestras from Los Angeles and the city of Puebla. Children and youth between 7 and 17 years old impressed the attendees.

They were young people who, not so long ago, not only could not play classical music, but did not know how to play any instruments, and who today can do so well and with emotion. They have played with Plácido Domingo, Joshua Bell and, soon, will be playing with Yo-Yo Ma.

President Barack Obama asked for a big round of applause for his small musical guests led by Ricardo Salinas, saying: “We are very, very proud of them.”

Before the orchestra started playing in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said about Esperanza Azteca: “This demonstrates the power of collaboration between government, business and nonprofit organizations in improving the lives and education of Los Angeles children and strengthening our community.”

What is powerful about this event is that it was the U.S. that invited Esperanza Azteca to artistically educate its children and youth. This is not common, even less so in the cultural classical scene.

Esperanza Azteca is a success, Clinton also said, before affirming a few months ago at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York: “Now, for the rest of my life, I have an example that talent is evenly distributed in the universe. Only opportunity is not.”

Clinton inviting Mexican children and youth to close his CGI annual meeting, and Obama inviting these same artists to the White House is an extremely good sign that this project is honoring Mexico’s name.

I am convinced that, as a country, we must turn around to see our children and young people and give them more and better opportunities.

No one can deny that it is very important, but instead of using all our energy to see if a teacher works more or fewer hours, makes more or less money, let us give children the opportunity they deserve of having programs where adults come together for their benefit.

The focus should not be exclusively on the structure of education, but on every child, every individual. Change is possible this way.

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