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. https://ncte.org/get-involved/african-american-read-in/
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