Literary Discussion at Molloy Set to Tackle Book Banning and Inequities in Education

By: Miya Jones
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Molloy University is partnering with Verdel Jones and Darlene Williams, co-founders of the Black Authors Festival at Sag Harbor, for a raw and real discussion on the power of literacy, book censorship, achievement gaps and inequities that exist within the school system.

In 2022, it was reported that 56% of Black fourth grade students were performing below basic reading comprehension. Approximately 50% of Hispanic fourth grade students performed below basic reading comprehension. Only 27% of white fourth grade students performed below basic reading comprehension.

The event will feature a group of expert educators who will discuss solutions on how to close this achievement gap.

Black female child sitting in classroom alone at school

Panelists for the discussion include: Anne Marie Malcolm, principal of Madiba Prep Middle School of Social Justice and Innovation in Brooklyn, Kerin Slattery, director of English Language Arts, Secondary Reading and Library Media Services in Levittown Public Schools, Alamah Adjoua-Mullen, librarian and 2018 NYS Outstanding Librarian Award winner, Jessica Keegan, director of Elementary Teaching and Learning for Oceanside School District, Tim Castanza, principal of Bridge Preparatory Charter School in Staten Island and Michelle Peterson-Davis, director of English Language Arts for Uniondale School District. The discussion will be moderated by Jones, who also serves as the director of Guidance and Support Services at Plainedge School District.

Audience members will have the chance to pose written questions to the panelists. Networking will also be encouraged before and after the discussion. Registration is free. Donations are encouraged and part of the proceeds will be given to Jones’ nonprofit Share Inform Enlighten. The not-for-profit is dedicated to empowering families with resources and educational programs that will improve their quality of life.

The panel will take place on April 10 on Molloy University’s campus in the Hagan 339 building from 6-8 p.m. To register click here. This is a pre-event for the second annual Black Authors Festival at Sag Harbor, taking place on Saturday, Aug. 3. You can get your early bird tickets here.

Flyer for Empowering policies, research and practices to support young readers: a literacy panel discussion event at Molloy University
Miya Jones

Miya Jones

Miya Jones is a Long Island native and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Shades of Long Island. She's been a journalist since the age of 17 and is a diversity advocate. Follow Miya on Instagram and Twitter: @miyajones1996 and on Facebook as Miya Jones.

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SHADES OF LONG ISLAND is a media outlet dedicated to elevating the consciousness of Long Island through informative reporting and sharing the news, stories and events revolving people of color in our region.


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