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Kwanzaa Furaha! Happy Kwanzaa!

On behalf of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee of WSP we are welcoming the community of children and staff to a celebration of culture, creativity, and Ashe, meaning positive energy with our in-school Kwanzaa Celebration on December 14th.

We will come together as artists, culture bearers, and educators to lift up and share the legacy of African wisdom through arts integrative praxis and sewing seeds for the new year, with children at the center.

We welcome teaching artists:

Sister IAsia Thomas

Sister IAsia is a collaborator within her role in service to The Heinz Endowments’ Transformative Arts Process (TAP) Advisory Board. As an educational equity leader, and trained artisan with 20+ years of experience in the field, she has had the opportunity to work with countless passionate, committed, and talented individuals, but given the climate the world is in, and that education is in, her ability to keep caring and nurturing through her being, combined with her commitment to cultural preservation and education, service, social justice, high integrity, respect for human diversity, and the ability to cultivate and maintain healthy, trustworthy relationships are just a few of the many reasons that she is a part of the council for cultural equity and emancipated education movement. She identifies as a driving force and voice in the Heinz Endowments’ TAP work. She bring years of experience as an educator and trainer, but more importantly, as a doula and cultural thespian, preservation worker, and advocate for equity. She lives artistically, personally, and professionally to embrace and embody the critical qualities and characteristics needed to be a successful and effective education and arts leader. She has been referred to as the “glue that holds cultural equity together” –and possesses both the institutional knowledge and skills required to keep projects moving forward, but also, to work towards keeping all of the larger community involved and moving along in the work, and on their own personal cultural and racial journeys. She is deeply moved by the capacity to be a mentor and mentee, and to encourage people of all racial, gender, and ethnic groups to think more deeply about the cultural self and journey in a manner that is candid, caring, and motivating. She created Centering the Identity of Black Children in African Culture, which was designed to be a one-day session open to the community to learn more about how to utilize African-centered education and theory to help educators, and support our black and brown students.


Born Shamir

Born Shamir is notably known as a DJ/Producer/Emcee/Teacher Artist with a 30-year history in the Hip-Hop/ Electronic music space under a long list of monikers. In his current inception, he has been sought after as a cultural anthropologist and educator of the young and old in the art of the DJ and crate digging (Selecting and playing music). He also shares his curriculum in Pittsburgh Public Schools sharing his experience through interactive lectures and courses in rhythmic poetic performance art called, RHYME TIME. This work sheds a beam of light on the subculture that was said to be a fad by critics, even a decade after its inception and continues to show its global influence as it is intertwined everywhere in some form or fashion. Speaking of fashion, Born also is a fashion designer and stylist that continues in the tradition of influential icons like Dapper Dan (now finally acknowledged and part of the Gucci fashion house and GAP under DAP) and many other contributors by “Looking Fresh”. He says his biggest influence is pioneer Fred Braithwaite aka Fab 5 Freddy. He states that his main drive is the advocacy of free speech, attainment of self-awareness, and to educate those who are influenced by the driving sound of the street. He points out how Hip Hop remains a major staple in the Western media and fuels commerce and as a result sparked various industries, especially those targeting the youth to sell products and services that are even outside the scope of music. He firmly states that, “It is a must that the tenets, codes and 5 Elements of Hip Hop and its history gets told from best knowers and life long participants who love and understand it. This way the key contributors like KOOL HERC and BUSY BEE become household names right along with current popular artists who are relevant to this generation of listeners.” One time for your mind!


Miguel (Cha) Sague III

Miguel (Cha) Sague III serves as the leader of Guaracha Latin Dance Band and Miguel’s Mariachi Fiesta. He is a professional musician specializing in vocals, and conga and he executes production, composition & performance of many genres, including Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Bolero, and Rumba. He also sings and plays for many other bands with styles as varied as the music scene of Pittsburgh. Gene Stovall, Phat ManDee, Geña Nieves, Kyle Lawson, Sankofa Villiage, Lazaro Ross, Roger Humphries, and Squonk Opera are among the artist with whom Miguel has shared a stage. His work has taken stage mostly in the Pittsburgh area including Market Square, First Night, Heinz Field, Steeler games, River boat cruises and the Pittsburgh Marathon as well as countless private/public venues and events. He has performed in Latin America on two Cruises with Seminar at Sea, and he has even performed in Santiago Cuba, the town of his heritage. He earned a wealth of teaching experience as an instructor in the Pittsburgh Propel Charter Schools, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Calliope: A Folk Music Society and the Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble, as well as many private lessons, school assemblies and group lessons. Miguel has served as director or stage manager for multiple events put on by local comedian and art and media creator, Christina McNeese and he has participated in the creation of 2 of her installation art pieces called "Walk in My Shoes" and "Walk in My Shoes: Walk the diaspora". Miguel also won an Advancing the Black Arts grant to fund the creation of a multidiciplinary educational performance called The Afro-Latin Time-Cruiser. This performance went on to be enjoyed by children at Allegheny Elementary and at Kennywood. Now, Miguel Sague III continues to perform locally and teach Afro-Latin Percussion and Afro-Latin Dance in the Children's Windows To Africa program for children in public housing as well as in the Propel Charter Schools with the Kuumba Drumming Program.


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