Hundreds gather to celebrate culture and reading

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At Saturday’s African American Read-In, it seemed that everywhere you looked you saw the event’s theme — Reading is the Wave of Life. Held at Cornerstone Baptist Church, the Read-In drew hundreds of parents and students to the Black History Month celebration that focused on culture, books and reading. After students filed in and picked up their souvenir shirts and badges, the event opened with a rousing performance by the Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble.

Multiple elected officials urged students to read and study to learn about their heritage and prepare for the future. Charles Rice student and MLK Oratory winner Lyriq Turner recited her winning speech. Elementary, middle and high school students read excerpts from their favorite books. And author Cheryl Wills shared the story of her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills who escaped slavery to serve in the Union army to help win his family’s freedom.

Performances by the Lincoln High School choir, Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy jazz band and theater students from Booker T. Washington High School rounded out the celebration.

The festivities ended with pizza, book giveaways and visits to booths staffed by social service agencies, firefighters and police, Dallas ISD departments, the public library and literacy groups.

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