The NAACP partnered with WE tv to host “Concert for a Cause: A Night to Support Childhood Literacy” in Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18.
WE tv stars and musical artists SWV (Sisters With Voices), along with solo artists Erica Campbell of the gospel group Mary Mary and Traci Braxton, star of the WE tv’s “Braxton Family Values” series, were the headline performers—though the issue of reading proficiency took center stage.
This concert was part of “NAACP Reads,” the civil rights organization’s public awareness campaign geared toward increasing grade-level reading proficiency among minority and low-income students.
“We are proud to support the NAACP’s childhood literacy initiative through this special one-night concert at such a historic University,” Marc Juris, WE tv’s president, said in a statement.
According to the National Center on Education Statistics, among fourth-graders, 53 percent of African-American students, 52 percent of Hispanic students, and 48 percent of American Indian students scored below the “Basic” level on the on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. Among eighth-graders, 44 percent of African-American students, 41 percent of Hispanic students, and 37 percent of American Indian students scored below the “Basic” level on the test.
There were similar results by income: 49 percent of fourth-graders eligible for free and reduced-price meals finished below “Basic” on the reading test and 40 percent of eighth-graders eligible for free and reduced-price meals scored below “Basic.”
The NAACP’s campaign is supported by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“The NAACP is excited to partner with WE tv to host such a creative and important event,” Cornell William Brooks, NAACP president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our goal is to cultivate a generation of young people committed to reading as studies show that children who begin reading at an early age are more likely to excel in school and in life.”