By Ann-Marie Adams I The Hartford Guardian
WASHINGTON — On Monday, the White House will honor Hartford Police Officer Hiram Otero with a “Champions of Change” award for his civic engagement with city youth.
Otero is one of two officers who run Charter Oak Cultural Center’s “Good Vibrations” music program that pairs Hartford youth with officers from the Hartford Police department in a 12-week music program in either Rap/Poetry or Guitar. Together, under the supervision of master musicians from the Hartford community, officers and students learn the fundamentals of their musical craft and create original compositions together that explore their shared and divergent experiences.
The program is entering its second year this fall, with multiple classes in both guitar and rap/poetry.
The Champion of Change award, officials said, recognizes the program’s achievement in building bridges between law enforcement and youth.
Otero will be joined by another Hartford local: Hartford middle-school student Kayke Lopes, who will be honored in a special ceremony at the White House. They will join 6 other pairs of officers and youth from across the nation.
The recognition highlights the innovative “Good Vibrations” program, its impact on Hartford and its potential to impact communities nationwide. This is a huge honor for the program, for Charter Oak, and for Hartford and the surrounding communities, officials said in a press release.