Photos by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman.
Around 25 girls listened Tuesday afternoon as Nina Richardson, wife of Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, read aloud excerpts from Coretta Scott King’s latest biography, My Life, My Love, My Legacy, for World Read Aloud Day at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in North Long Beach.
World Read Aloud Day, created and sponsored by LitWorld, is a celebration of “the power of words” and helps advance the cause of increasing literacy around the world, according to its website.
Tuesday’s event at the library, hosted by Global Girls Leading Our World (Global G.L.O.W.), a nonprofit the helps empower girls in fifth through 12th grade, allowed participants to hear about the accomplishments of Scott King, as a wife, mother and social activist.
Girls in the fourth and fifth grades participate in HerStory, and upon graduating, enter the Global G.L.O.W. curriculum, said Michelle Turner, the Global G.L.O.W. Long Beach program manager.
“HerStory ties into seven strengths each week and the girls will[…] do an art project and a group discussion to talk about that strength,” she said. “So today the strength is confidence in celebration of Valentine’s Day and[…] loving ourselves.”
The girls in HerStory wrote poems and love letters to themselves using candy hearts. Some of the girls stood up and read aloud their work to the group.
“G.L.O.W. has four years of curriculum developed,” Turner continued. “We do art, group discussion, literature, poetry and social-emotional development. We’ll introduce them to poets like Nina Simone. So each year, it’s a different type of curriculum… to prepare [each girl] to be an amazing woman for the world.”
Turner said that Global G.L.O.W. received copies of My Love, My Life, My Legacy, and decided to tie it into World Read Aloud Day by having Richardson read parts of it to the girls and talk about her own life.
Richardson said that she was honored to be invited by Global G.L.O.W. to participate in World Read Aloud Day.
“So I have the privilege and honor of talking about Ms. Coretta Scott King,” Richardson said, “and I’m talking a little bit about her life and some of the contributions she’s made to society.”
Scott King was one of the first black women to attend Antioch College in Ohio, receiving a full scholarship. Passionate about music, she later attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where she met Martin Luther King Jr.
In addition to the Civil Rights movement, Scott King strongly advocated for women’s rights and LGBT rights.
“It’s definitely important for young girls to hear her story,” Richardson said.
Richardson obtained her bachelor’s degree at Cal State Dominguez Hills and her master’s degree from the University of Southern California. She currently works in higher education administration at USC and is pursuing her doctorate there as well.
“Education is very important to me,” she said “I’m definitely very busy as a wife and mother, but still find time to pursue my passions… similar to Coretta.I’m definitely honing in on the fact that she was successful in pursuing her passions while still being a wife and a mother.”
For the Global G.L.O.W. program, education is an important aspect, which is why girls in the program are mentored by college students.
“These [students] will come and they’ll mentor girls and most of the time they’re from [the same] community[…] then our younger girls have someone to look up to,” Turner said. “[...]Andit excites the girls because then they know that ‘my neighborhood, my four corners, there’s so much more world beyond that and she’s proof of it because she grew up in the same space.’”