Forum: Ms. Erika Colon “The Challenge of Social Inclusion”


On November 6, we welcomed Ms. Erika Colon, Artistic Director of the White Hand Chorus (ホワイトハンドコーラス) and a soprano singer, for a deeply moving and thought-provoking talk, “The Challenge of Social Inclusion” (社会的包摂への挑戦). 

Ms. Colon was born in Venezuela and raised in Japan from the age of 10. She has been interested in the topic of music perception of hearing impaired children since she was young. In her presentation, she addressed the challenges of creating an inclusive society and introduced the activities of the White Gloves Chorus Nippon, an inclusive choir for children from 6 to 18 years old. The White Gloves Chorus has been active in Japan since 2017 and was initiated in Venezuela as part of the activities of El Sistema, a program that promotes music education for impoverished children. The choir members include children with hearing and visual impairments, developmental disabilities as well as wheelchair users, and the music is performed by the vocal choir and the singers who use sign language and facial expressions. 

Ms. Colon shared her experience, stories and challenges of bringing children with disabilities into the world of music. 

Through the various artistic activities created with people with disabilities, such as collaborating with a photographer to create a photo exhibition, making a storybook film, or staging an opera at the New National Theater, Ms. Colon and her organization aims to create an inclusive society that makes people with disabilities more visible.

The forum provided a space for discussion among Shizenkan students, alumni, and other guests, as well as a Q&A session with Ms. Colon.


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