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Hyde Park’s Brown Books And Paintbrushes Celebrates Kwanzaa By Uplifting Youth Literacy And Art

HYDE PARK — The Kwanzaa principle of kuumbaor creativity, is the focus of Brown Books and Paintbrushes’ holiday celebration this year.

The literacy and art nonprofit will give away Black-focused books and art supplies throughout a week of programs for children and families.

The celebration kicked off Saturday, the first day of Kwanzaa, with a day of virtual education on the holiday celebrating Black unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Brown Books and Paintbrushes‘ social media followers devoted Sunday to supporting Black businesses and community groups, founder Candice Washington said. On Monday, the organization focused on donating children’s books and art kits to partner organizations and families.

The week of programs continues Tuesday with Brown Books and Paintbrushes’ annual fundraiser, held on the day of ujamaa, or cooperative economics. You can donate money through PayPal and browse the organization’s list of Black-authored and illustrated books to donate here.

Obari Cartman, Real Men Charities program director and community psychologist, will host a virtual workshop for families new to celebrating Kwanzaa 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Cartman and Washington’s children will also participate in a panel discussion on integrating the holiday’s principles into everyday life. To attend the workshop, click here.

A pop-up Free Black Children’s Library event will be held Thursday at the Quarry, 2423 E. 75th St. in South Shore, with book giveaways and African drumming.

Temperature checks, personal protective equipment and a sign-in sheet for contact tracing purposes all will be on hand, and masks and social distancing are required.

Attendees are asked not to congregate — there won’t be chairs or tables — and instead “come in, stay for a brief moment and leave,” Cartman said.

“We try to provide this space for safe gatherings for other people to feel some semblance of normalcy in their life and give materials,” Cartman said. “Books, art supplies — these are things families need to have to have education and wellness in the house.”

The Kwanzaa celebration winds down Friday, as volunteers will travel the city filling up a few dozen Little Free Libraries with children’s books that tell Black stories. Masks, hand sanitizer and art kits will also be placed in the library boxes.

Brown Books and Paintbrushes was one of a few community groups behind little libraries that popped up in South Shore late last year, as residents awaited the completion of renovations at the neighborhood library.

The week of celebration relies heavily on community partnerships, Washington said.

Real Men Charities and the Quarry are hosting Thursday’s pop-up event, the Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project is providing a map of Little Free Library locations to restock, Upcycling Colors is providing the art kits and local supporters have donated most of the books to be given away.

Courtesy: Block Club Chicago by Maxwell Evans

Joseph Lewis
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