Each week, vendors have the opportunity to participate in a writing workshop to improve their written communication skills and find their voice in words. Below is an essay from the workshop by Arnold Donaldson about learning to read as a child.
When I was coming up I was a slow reader. I was too embarrassed to get up and read in front of the class. Sometimes the children laughed and picked on me because I could not read very well. I felt so badly when I could not read, and when children who were smaller than I was could read much better than I could.
I wanted to be a good reader so I got into an after school reading program. I learned how to read by phonics. I was taught to read by breaking words down and learning the different sounds of each letter. I had to work very hard to learn how to read.
I came across a negative flyer once that read “If you want to hide something from a black man put it in a book.”
Now I read everything I can get my hands on. I have found reading is a good way to exercise the mind. Reading well builds my self-esteem and helps me empower other people. I am proud to be a black man who reads well.