I didn't think folks would get it. I thought a summer program dedicated to reading and writing was too lofty an idea. Too hard to hold. Much too hard to fund. What a sugar sweet surprise that first $150 donation was back in Spring '15. And the surprise of a fully funded project was even sweeter. Y'all made a sista real sorry she underestimated you.
Each year, A Revolutionary Summer gets a bit more audacious with our requests. I mean Year One we were sitting in Sonia Sanchez's Philadelphia living room eating cashews and sipping room temperature water (Mama Sanchez insisted we drink it how the body best receives it) while she read from her latest collection of poetry—where to go from there, baby, but up? And each year our requests have been honored, always with an extra healthy dose of Oh ok God, so You showing out?
While we're far from our financial goals for Summer 2018 (squeezing fundraising in between curriculum development, a full time job and raising babies is WORK, honey) I wanted to take a break from the hustle, the frenzy of planning ARS to get still and focus on our blessings so far. I hope you'll join me in sending the following people some love. This is a representative group of folks who have made the contributions (monetary and otherwise) that continue to convince us we can pull this thing off. We thank you.
Tayari Jones gifted copies of her own best-selling book An American Marriage.
Donna Alexander sponsored a daughter's personal library and stipend in name of her late (and beautiful) mother Ms. Willie Lee McCullough.
Stanford Brown funded nearly a quarter of our curriculum development efforts.
Amy VanDerWater provided a complete library for one of our daughters and connected us with the marvelous Penny Kittle (see below for that good news).
Rena Camp, Karen Camp, Cenise Waites, Denitresse Burnes, Shellie Williams, Chevelle Lampkin and Aliya Robinson each contributed $100 or more, allowing us to begin purchasing texts well in advance of the summer.
Shelley Ettinger donated (for the second year in a row!) a bunch of needed supplies like binders, post-its and highlighters.
Shana Scott blessed us with yoga mats for each of our daughters, which she did last year, too!
Michael Arnst is hosting a friendraiser (how cute!) for ARS on May 23.
Radio producer, documentarian and media artist Jonna McKone will craft a radio piece on ARS. She plans to pitch it to NPR!
Daren Muhammad will welcome us on his talk radio show State of the City next Saturday at 12 to talk about the importance of ARS.
Jess Solomon helped guarantee that sculptor, printmaker, designer and teacher Valerie Maynard, who we'll study in Session Three this summer, will bless us with the gift of her presence. Daughters will be able to get up close and personal with the legendary artist, in her own studio!
Over one hundred ARS supporters purchased "Books for Revolution/Ink for Liberation" tees, ensuring that each of our daughters will not only receive personal libraries but Netflix subscriptions and iTunes gift cards.
Penny Kittle of The Book Love Foundation gifted each of our daughters personal libraries featuring the work of bell hooks, Octavia Butler, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chanequa Walker-Barnes, to name a few. These libraries are in addition to those provided for program participation.