AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Black History Month comes to a close, the George Washington Carver Museum hosted its last event in February’s lineup, catering specifically to the kids.
Kids Day this year featured CDF Freedom Schools Austin, Ballet Afrique, Tree Folk and more with crafts and activities focused on the 2023 Black History Month theme “Black Resistance.”
“I get to celebrate me,” Taylen Christian, a student from CDF Freedom Schools said. “And all the people who helped Black people get equal rights.”
“It’s cliche to say, but kids are the future,” Faith Weaver, Education Coordinator at the Carver Museum said. “We wanted to have a program that spotlights, black excellence and the talents and gifts of our young people.”
Weaver, who also planned Kids Day said it started about eight years ago when one of her staff members came up with the event.
“We want kids to know about their culture,” she said. “For those that are not in our culture, we want them to learn more about the contributions of African Americans and Africans in the diaspora.”
A major highlight for both the kids and adults was the live reading of Stacey Abrams’ book, ‘Stacey’s Extraordinary Words.’ Read by Pflugerville councilwoman Kimberly Holiday, the audience was immersed in Abrams’ world of words as they discovered how much power words contain.
“When I first read the book, I had to close the book about halfway in the middle because I found myself a bit emotional,” Holiday said. “I was able to resonate with parts of the story about people being smarter, people being prettier, and having bullies in my life as a child and still, today.”
While Holiday may be in politics, she said she still gets shy and initially said no when the request came in.
“Today is actually really big for me,” she said. “This is an opportunity for me to overcome my fears and to model for young girls just like me that we can be whatever we want to be despite our beginnings, we should use our voice and our words actually have the power to save us.”
Weaver said Holiday was chosen for the reading because she embodies similar qualities to Stacey Abrams as a role model in government and politics.
Several local organizations partnered with the Carver Museum for the event. Creative Action designed a six-foot mural about black resistance and activists in the community. Tree Folks had trees for people looking to take one home to plant. The Blue Dragon Step Team from Campbell Elementary gave a performance with dance performances from Ballet Afrique and Lannaya Drum & Dance.
Kids were able to plant strawberries in the Carver garden. They got an early look into what it takes to get registered with the government with Moyo Oyelola’s Department of the People + Process Interactive Exhibit. Journals were also provided for every kid to write down their own words, just like Stacey Abrams.
Highlighting the Turner-Roberts Recreation Center in Northeast Austin named after Dorothy Turner and Velma Roberts, Weaver noted this year’s theme afforded an opportunity to look deeply into the lives of these local activists.
Dorothy Turner was president of the Black Citizens Task Force created in response to police brutality and racism according to the Austin History Center. Turner was also the proprietor of “Grassroots Struggle,” a newspaper that told stories of the politically marginalized.
Velma Roberts, popularly known as Turner’s partner-in-crime got involved in politics when she was named president of the local Welfare Rights Organization (WRO), where she focused on poverty and the plight of women on AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). Roberts is credited with advocating for the free lunch program in Austin schools.
“It gives other people that come to the museum an opportunity to learn about them. To learn about Bertha Sadler Means, who helped integrate Barton Springs Pool,” Weaver said. “We have a responsibility to let people know there is a black history institution here.”