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Students compete in “Stop the Hate” songwriting competition (video)

Recent national headlines continue to spark protests across the country, including here in Cleveland, but CMSD students are using a different approach to send a message: music.

Several District schools participated in “Stop the Hate, Sing it Loud,” a songwriting competition through the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Teaching artists from the nonprofit organization Roots of American Music visited the schools to help students create an original song with an anti-discrimination or anti-bullying theme.

Afi-Odelia Scruggs worked with the Collinwood High School students and made sure they took the task seriously.

“I challenge the students to do what I call a ‘call to action,’ which is the song has to tell somebody what you can do to combat hate,” Scruggs said. “I really try to make the kids aware that the words they say to their peers can be hateful and they can be very damaging, and you really want to be aware of what you say,” Scruggs said.

The songwriting process includes a visit to Maltz for inspiration, collaborating on lyrics, creating a beat, and recording the song with the help of the teaching artist. Students performed their original songs in front of judges Wednesday at the Bohemian National Hall.

“I hope it inspires young people our age to make a difference,” Collinwood High School junior Dayuanna White said.