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GREENWOOD Dist.–In the lead-up to Banned Books Week 2023, several organizations are coming together to host the first Freedom To Read Community Summit – Tulsa from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 9th at historic Vernon AME church on Black Wall Street.

PEN AmericaBlack History Saturdays, Historic Vernon AME and 2892 Miles To Go will host a convening for community members to engage with each other and leaders from PEN America and Black History Saturdays.

They will conduct a series of workshops and discussions on the nationwide book-banning crisis and the intolerance, exclusion, and censorship undergirding it, according to a press release.

This will be an opportunity to speak with community-based and national leaders working to end book bans and remove barriers from teaching Black History across the US and inspire community members to join the cause.

To learn more, visit the event website.

Kristi Williams founded Tulsa’s Black History Saturdays in February. In an interview, she said Oklahoma’s House Bill 1775 limits students’ ability to learn their own history. She was determined to take matters into her own hands.

“1775, it just really made me push to make this happen because we can’t learn about Black history in schools, nor can we teach it in public schools. So, it’s really important that we provide a space for our children to learn who we are,” Williams told The Black Wall Street Times.

“Because it’s important to know who we are, and not the narrative that society has given to us, because our history did not start with slavery.”

Freedom To Read Community Summit coming to Tulsa

One of the main features of the Freedom to Read event is a Map of Voices, which is an Esri-hosted map of excerpts from banned books.

The hope for the map is to create a visual representation of voices sharing words that matter from works that are being increasingly restricted “to create the future we hope to see by ensuring everyone’s freedom of expression and right to learn,” organizers for the event stated.

Organizers invite members of the community to be part of an important dialogue on Critical Race Theory bans and the banning of books in Oklahoma.

The discussion at the Freedom to Read Summit will be led by Black History Saturdays immediately following PEN America’s conclusion of the program.

Oklahoma State Representative Regina Goodwin, District 3 School Board Member Jennettie Marshall, C.U.B.E.S Founder Darryl Bright and Oklahoma Black Caucus Chair Monroe Nichols will educate the community on the current state of Black History in our public school systems and what we can do about it.

To learn more, visit the event website.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...

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