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African American Read-In Returns to Campus

By Andrew Scarpaci, Sports Editor

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the writing center sponsored the second annual African American Read-In on campus via zoom. 

The African American Read-In has been an effort to encourage communities to read together, mainly focusing on African American books and authors. It was founded in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. The purpose was to bring awareness to the significance of literature during Black History Month and has reached over six million individuals over the past 30 years. Public Safety Administrator & BSU Advisor Nilda Nelson has been hosting these events over the last two years on campus. 

Nelson is extremely passionate about these types of events offered to herself and others. 

“It was a beacon of hope. I can write as an administrator to fix a problem, however, I couldn’t write my own personal journey or express my own thoughts because there’s no room for that,” she said. “It’s been a year, I have been able to express myself as an African American, as a mother who raised Black youth and as an educator that fills a plight how America doesn’t champion African Americans the way they should”.

While this year’s events are much more subtle due to Covid, Nelson is committed to getting the most value out of it. 

“Last year, we had write-ups with poems, writers, dancers and therapists to talk about anxiety and oppression, curtailing this year to people just giving their stories,” she said. 

Nelson was very motivated to share this experience with as many people as possible. 

“With the Post 101 class this year, we used herstory as the textbook theme, teaching empathy and compassion,” she said. 

Nelson Claims it was much easier to schedule the events this year as compared to last year. 

“Everyone knew about it, everyone was in their homes, they didn’t have to worry about traveling. Last year we used the theatre, had audio and had Uniondale high school perform,” she said. “This year, it was much calmer because people that couldn’t speak could, and we had more people willing to come in and express themselves.”

Nelson loves having these events due to their effect it has on everyone involved. 

“It’s a platform to tell stories. Alumni do work stories not told at work. If you’re not writing where and when do you find the time, being in a group, you find time to do it,” she said. “It’s great to have alumni with current students, so they don’t feel alone as they tell their story or know someone who’s gone through different experiences and learning about it. You remember lines that are important.”

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