Black teens always amaze me with their keen insight and analysis of the world.
Today, we kicked off our tenth season of The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle™ with a dynamic group of teens. Every year, I am overjoyed with happiness to center Black books with Black teens in a space that celebrates Black culture. It feels so necessary after all that 2021 sought to destroy for African Americans.
One of the most powerful tools for resilience and understanding self is maintaining one’s culture. Perhaps that is part of what is missing in Western/Euroamerica when the quest to shed ethnic European origins left generations without an identity apart from that on stolen land cultivated with stolen lives. What would happen if all of the people who live here were celebrated?
It is not my expertise to engage with AAPI (not my favorite way, but there are 55 different Asian ethnic groups, not a monolith just like Africa is an entire continent and not one country), Latina/o/x literature (AfroLatin, we have engaged with), or Native American (again, not a monolith) literature, but one day, perhaps, we can collaborate with other ethnic heritage literary spaces to celebrate diverse literature for teens. For now, though, we stay in our lane of African American, African (mostly West African), Caribbean (so far, Haitian, Jamaican, and Barbadian), and AfroEuropean (mostly British) writers. We explore the diaspora and the unique spiritual connections with origin, story, and identity.
This week is our final week of open registration, it closes on Juneteenth so that participants have time to fully prepare for our first book Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink.