Saint Mary's School News

Saint Mary’s celebrates 15th annual African American Read-In

Saint Mary’s School celebrated its 15th annual African American Read-In (AARI), in assembly in Saint Mary's Chapel, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, produced and presented by the Black Student Union, the Bookmark Club, the Creative Writing Club, the English Department, and Kenan Library. The African American Read-In is a student-led annual event presented during Black History Month to highlight African American poets, activists, authors, musicians, artists, and others. This year’s theme is Black Girl Joy, A Celebration of African American Literature.

“The theme Black Girl Joy was selected because events centered around Black people and Black history are almost always focused on pain and grief,” says Sadie Egharevba ’25, one of the student leaders of this year’s event. “Although it is important to acknowledge the pain of the past, focusing on joy is a form of rebellion itself by showing how hope prevails. This year, it is our goal to celebrate African American achievements such as music, poetry, art, and overall activism. We want to show the resilience built as a result of past and present atrocities.”

"As Saint Mary’s School students take to the stage to read or perform a piece authored by an African American writer, we join in a now 33-year-old tradition that has brought millions of Americans together to celebrate the significant gifts African American authors and songwriters have made to our literary heritage," says Diana Williams, one of the event organizers who has helped lead the AARI at Saint Mary's for the past 15 years.

The National African American Read-In (AARI) is a groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering African American books and authors. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.

Thanks, to Dr. Laurel Young, Dr. Tai Hinkins, Ms. Megan Traquair, Ms. Diana Williams, Ms. Aisha Burton, Ms. Virginia Boyd; to the AARI student planning committee and participating club officers: Mahari Bennett '24, Avery Coptsias ’23,Sadie Egharevba '25, Destiny Ellington '23, Angel Asare '24, Eliza Dunn Tillman '23, Hannah Butare '25, Kernissa Robinson '23, and Kathryne Woods ’24; and to others who read including Ava Custer ’25, Ella Freeman ’23, Interim Head of School Dr. Adam Holden, Assistant Head of School Patricia Sasser, and Rowan Thomas ’24.

2023 Saint Mary’s School African American Read-In (AARI)



Hannah Butare '25 and Kernissa Robinson ’23 - Introduction

Ms. Patricia Sasser, Assistant Head of School - Black Woman Joy by Stacey Ravvero

Destiny Ellington ’23 - Today I Sing a Song of Hope by Destiny Ellington

Sadie Egharevba ’25 - Sonnet by James Weldon Johnson

Rowan Thomas ’24 - Truth by Gwendolyn Brooks

Hannah Butare ’25 - Won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

Ella Freeman ’23 - Your World by Georgia Douglas Johnson

Angelnafi Asare '25 - The Girl's Living Room View by Angelnafi Asare

Ava Custer ’25 - Life doesn’t frighten me by Maya Angelou

Mahari Bennett ’23 - Portrait by Janay Delisma

Dr. Adam Holden, Interim Head of School - BLK History Month by Nikki Giovanni

Hannah Butare '25 and Kernissa Robinson ’23 – Conclusion