The Clarkston Cultural Literacy & Language Festival on Saturday, May 17, 2014 was an educational and informative success for the community. The festival is a project of the Clarkston Early Learning Network (CELN). Its purpose is to showcase Clarkston and partner storytellers who share stories in English, and other languages. Literacy and language activities promote the importance of families singing, talking, and reading to their children in their native language.
The theme for the 2nd annual festival was “Tell Me a Story”. Stories were told in English, Spanish, Somali, Nepali, Arabic, Dinka and Sign Language. The Festival started at 2:00 and ended well after 5:00 pm. It is safe to say about 200 people attended of which 75 were children. The families were treated to a wonderful afternoon of educational and entertaining activities.
The festival featured Storytellers from the Brimstone applied Oral Storytelling Initiative with Emmanual Gai Solomon as the MC. It also featured Gwen Napier (English), LaVerne Amponsah (English), Mohamud Barakut (English & Arabic), Ibrahim Barakut (English & Arabic), Abraham Deng Ater (English & Arabic) Fatima (English & Arabic), Abuk Wach (English), Nyanwal Ayon (English & Dinka), and Emmanuel Gai Solomon (English). All of the above performed and told wonderful stories.
LaVerne Amponsah and Gwendolyn Napier served as emcees for the first half of the program. The festival successfully met the needs of everyone present. Emmanuel Solomon of USASSCA also served as the emcee introducing the Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia. The Kuumba Storytellers embraced the Clarkston Community with several African Stories including props, drumming and singing. Also provided was a Kuumba display table of different African Artifacts to share with the audience.
The Sudanese families performed and the stories were GREAT! The stories were well received by the audience of adults and children. Emanuel performed his story “Who will put the bell around the cat’s neck? By involving the children in his story he really brought the tale to life left smiles on everyone’s faces. It was refreshing to see the strategies from the Kuumba storytelling workshops utilized and remembered.
There was excitement in the teller’s voices and so many other signs of sure confidence. This was another wonderful event for the Brimstone Project for connecting communities together with literacy and language.
Gwendolyn Napier – Kuumba Vice President 2014 – 2016