The Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign was realized in 2018 as a result of the African Diaspora asking the question…what can we do to aid in closing the achievement gap between black and white children in St. Petersburg, FL? After a two-day community conversation facilitated by Cornell University Professor Dr. Noliwe Rooks, the response was to ensure children of the African Diaspora could read and ensure the community was addressing our children’s mental health needs.
After a lengthy process, the Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign (PWRTRC) was born. The targeted participants are children of the African Diaspora from birth to 18 years old who live in the city of St. Petersburg, FL. According to data provided by the Pinellas County School System an estimated 12,000 children, from 5 to 18 years old live in St. Petersburg. According to the U.S census, an estimated 3,000 African Diasporan children from birth to 4 years old live in St. Petersburg, FL.
“O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive to comprehend thee.”
- Phyllis Wheatley
The mission of the Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign is to ensure that African children from birth to 18 years old who live in St. Petersburg, FL can read on and above grade level in this generation and beyond.
To utilize the planning model collective impact to coordinate the work of existing literacy partners,
design literacy activities throughout the African community, link scholars to the appropriate literacy partners, and provide support to parents so they are able to support their children’s literacy success.