Robin shares her enthusiasm for storytelling with each audience. Folk-tales, tall tales, or historical narratives, Robin loves to share them all. Currently employed by New York State, Robin also performs reenactments with Akwaaba:the Heritage Associates.
When I was President of BLR we had two May luncheons, a Liars Contest, two Fall Festivals, one all day retreat, four open house storytelling events, two workshops, three holiday parties and three xaamadus (cookouts). We have also sponsored and escorted high school students on a New York City trip to view the burial grounds of 18th century slaves, participated as judges in the city school district’s storytelling contest and participated as storytellers at the Children’s Book Festival, several church programs, Kwanzaa activities and various other events.
I was pleased to assist our sister Dr. Carolyn Edwards with obtaining her PhD (in storytelling no less) by providing her with research, interviews and of course – storytelling. One of our open house events provided documentation via film for her dissertation. Congratulations Carolyn! We knew you could do it.
As storytellers we should be out in the community telling our stories and sharpening our skills, reaching out to people and most importantly – passing it on. Thanks to Djed Snead and his committee, we have gone a step further in reaching out to the community. Our Annual festival in 2009 included winners of the school district’s storytelling contest but also a group of children who meet at the Boys and Girls Club after school. We are training and preparing them for the purpose of performing and passing on the skills and techniques of Blackstorytellers. And yes that is one word. Blackstorytellers weave together a story from the threads of life that comfort us, support us, encourage us, and remind us of who we are. We cannot lose this tradition or let it die, so I say bring on the children, teach them the tradition, and let them tell.
Djed’s committee has been working well over a year planning this year’s event, which will include our sisters from Buffalo. “The Daughter’s of Creative Sound” will provide a wonderful combination of music and story that is certainly a crowd pleaser. We are fortunate to have them this year. The committee has managed to plan an entertaining event on a very small budget.
Carolyn’s PhD and the Fall Festival will no doubt be the highlight of my last year. I will however, save all the speeches for later. In the meantime, be sure to fit this year’s festival into your schedule. Come out and listen to our stories and . . . Pass them on.
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