Hopkins to uplift Black voices at African American Read-In virtual event

Hopkins is lifting up Black voices in literature at the virtual African American Read In event on March 4 at 6 p.m. Tanglen elementary teacher and event organizer Keenan Jones hosted the event at the Hopkins Public Library last year in honor of Black History Month.

“This event last year exceeded expectations and was powerful because the readers chose incredible pieces to recite, but you could feel the power and creativity that African Americans possess in the field of literature,” Jones said.

This year’s event will be held virtually, but it will still be a time to hear powerful voices from the community speak great words from African American literature. Several Hopkins teachers and staff will participate. The following is a complete list of expected speakers:

  • Jessica Winnie, 6th grade teacher at Alice Smith
  • Mae Gruss, 4th grade teacher at Eisenhower
  • Nicole Fernandez, Restorative Practices Coordinator at West Junior High
  • Charmaine Bell, Family Liaison at Eisenhower
  • Imani Kerre-Mongi, Hopkins High School
  • Ugbad Dek, Hopkins High School
  • Tristan Ray-Taylor, 6th grade teacher at Tanglen
  • Devin Robinson, 6th grade teacher at Tanglen
  • Shella Sozouhoin, 6th grade teacher at Tanglen
  • Kelis Williams, 6th grade teacher at Tanglen
  • Valerie McWilliams Jones, Special Education Teacher/Park Center in Osseo

“It has been an amazing time collaborating with such talented individuals in our district and how many were willing to jump in and help uplift voices that often go unheard,” Jones said.

The African American Read In event was created by the National Council of Teachers of English to honor African American literature and Black History Month authors. In 2019, after learning that Minnesota was not well represented in the Read In, Jones created a committee to launch a local African American Read In. This will be his second year hosting the event.

For more information about the event and to access the YouTube premiere link for March 4 at 6 p.m., visit the Hopkins African American Read-In website.

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