Saturday turned the page on the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative’s return visit to the National Book Festival. What a fun day!
With a group of Gaithersburg Elementary School students in tow, Beloved Community members navigated the Washington, D.C. Festival throngs with the help of staff and teens from Initiative partner Identity, an local Latino outreach and advocacy organization. The Beloved Community Initiative hosts a weekly mentoring program on the campus of Asbury Methodist Village for Gaithersburg Elementary students, in addition to other outreach efforts. (See photos of our day below.)
The students especially enjoyed visiting the Hall of States display in the Festival’s children’s section, where tables featured state-specific authors – and lots of giveaways! – and they could get their Book Festival passport stamped.
This is the group’s second visit to the National Book Festival. Last year, attendees met Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis and received an autographed copy of his graphic novel March.
The Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative (GBCI) is a partnership with Wesley Theological Seminary, Gaithersburg City, Identity, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Montgomery County Executive Office. Conceived by Rev. Hal Garman shortly after he moved to Asbury Methodist Village in 2011, Beloved Community engages Asbury and area residents in meeting the needs of local youth and their families. GBCI was inspired by a Martin Luther King Day sermon on the challenges facing minority youth and is named after King’s vision of social justice and equality.
We would like to thank Gaithersburg Elementary School, Identity and Asbury Communities for their help in planning and supporting this event.