ReTell Origin Story
I’ve always been lucky when it comes to education, and feel an obligation to give back to the communities which have supported me. My parents have emphasized the importance of continued learning and reading since I can remember.
I didn’t go to preschool, my mom kept me at home and taught me how to read in our homemade library. In first grade, I wrote my first book—and I’ve been hooked on words ever since.
Fast forward to fifth grade; I attended KIPP: South Fulton Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. We were instructed to “assign ourselves” when we weren’t occupied with work. That is, we were expected to always have a book on hand and read it throughout the day. At the time, we didn’t have a school library, which presented a challenge to some of my classmates as they didn’t have an avenue to procure a book each day. Right before we started taking the standardized test at the end of the year, one of our teachers told us that how we scored on that exam would determine the number of jail cells built by the time we were old enough to be tried as adults in the penal system. That has always stayed with me.
In eighth grade, we went on a field trip to a private, majority-white, school in Atlanta. We were there to tour the high school, but took a detour to stop by an eighth grade class. I remember not understanding why they were reading books I’d never heard of—why they were given more challenging and advanced curriculum.
The disparity of allocation of educational resources became shockingly clear when I arrived at Exeter. It was further exacerbated (and tinged with further exclusivity) when I went to Princeton.
I am so grateful for the schooling I’ve had, and for the incredible educators that paved the way. At the same time, I’m acutely aware of how opportunity, and often wealth, can create different outcomes for children. I don’t think this is fair. I don’t think that wealth and opportunity are indicators of brilliance. I’m a firm believer that every child should have access to a stellar education, regardless of their socio-economic background or race. To me, this starts with literacy and access to books.
I will work tirelessly to achieve this goal.
If you’ve been engaging in conversations about racism and equity, ReTell has a book for you. If you’re looking for a literary escape from the harshness of the current news cycle, ReTell has a book for you. If you know a child who needs to get a jump start on building their own homemade library, ReTell has a book for you.
There are so many more exciting things to come!! Please join me in changing the narrative.