Together We Rise: Building Bridges to Justice will hold an African American Poetry Read-In to celebrate Black History Month on Sunday, February 5th, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., in the community room at Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House, 374 Town Street (at the intersection of Routes 82 and 151) in East Haddam, Connecticut.

This event is part of the National African American Read-In sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English.  According to The National Council of Teachers of English, beginning in 1990, African American Read-Ins, on the first Sunday of February for communities and the first Monday for educational institutions, have become “a traditional part of Black History Month celebrations.” As noted in the November 2014 NCTE Council Chronicle, “The African American Read-In . . . is built on an ambitious yet confident premise: that a school and community reading event can be an effective way to promote diversity in children’s literature, encourage young people to read, and shine a spotlight on African American Authors.” The hosts of the February 5th African American Poetry Read-In in East Haddam, which is open to participants of all ages, will submit a report giving details of the event to the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English, including total number of participants, both readers and listeners, as well as a list of the works read by participants. 

The read-in will be co-hosted by Marilynn S. Turner and Edwina Trentham. Turner is a third generation native of Colchester, Connecticut. She is a Professor of English at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut.  She is currently working on a memoir based on the southern roots of her family and is also the founder of the Asnuntuck Community College One-Book program.  Trentham, a poet who started the Fourth Friday Poetry Open Mic at Two Wrasslin’ Cats, is a Professor Emerita of English at Asnuntuck Community College, where she founded the poetry journal, Freshwater, and was involved with organizing the college’s annual African American Read-Ins celebrating Black History Month.

The East Haddam Read-In will focus on African American poetry, so participants are encouraged to bring their favorite poems by African American poets to read, or read from the selection of works by African American poets that will be available, or just come and support this important event by listening to some fine poetry.  The reading is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

For more information: Go to TOGETHERWERISECT.COM, or contact Mark at Two Wrasslin’ Cats 860-891-8446, Marilyn Turner at 860-537-9031, or Edwina Trentham at 860-873-1472.