Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Washington, D.C.’s Westin Georgetown bristled with literary enthusiasm and philanthropy on October 2 as Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, acclaimed author Maaza Mengiste, author and 826 National co-founder Dave Eggers, and poet Rashawnda Williams — 826DC’s first Young Writer in Residence — came together onstage for Do the Write Thing. The evening was a fundraising event celebrating the value of writing that was co-sponsored by 826DC and 826 National.
During her remarks Dr. Biden (pictured with Mengiste, Eggers, Williams, 826 National CEO Gerald Richards, and 826DC Executive Director Joe Callahan) discussed her philosophies as an educator and their alignment with the work happening at 826 centers every day. "My goal is always to give my students confidence in their own abilities. Instilling confidence in them that they too have an important story to share is one way to do that,” Dr. Biden said. “I know that if my students have confidence in the classroom, that confidence will carry them to whatever they want to do in life. That is what I know so many of you who are involved with 826DC and 826 National do every day. And you have made a difference in the lives of thousands of students."
Rashawnda Williams beautifully demonstrated this significance of storytelling when she read two of her poems, “Painting” and “Stranded,” both of which are featured in 826DC’s publication City Blossoms. In her speech, Maaza Mengiste described the ways in which writing stories helped her to develop her voice and identity when she moved to the U.S. The evening culminated in a conversation among the two writers and Dave Eggers about the importance and role of writing. We were so thrilled to have all of these amazingly inspiring literary arts pioneers in one room. Thank you, Dr. Biden and Maaza Mengiste, for joining us to do the write thing!