Rainbow Rally Storytime Drew Nearly 200 People to Reading Common

Reading, MA — On April 2, Reading’s Office of Equity & Social Justice (OESJ) organized a Rainbow Rally Storytime on the Town Common.

The rally was held to support the LGBTQIA+ community following an earlier bomb threat that had led to the cancellation of a Family Pride Storytime as well as the full evacuation of the Reading Public Library.

An enthusiastic, all-ages crowd of nearly 200 people attended the rally to express solidarity with the community. Following opening remarks from Albert Pless, Director, OESJ, expressing thanks to Reading Public Safety officers, the Board of Library Trustees, and the Friends of the Reading Public Library, the crowd enjoyed an interactive reading of It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr. Reading Memorial High School students Grace Bowen and Astrid Puff read poems and local business owner Liz Whitelam led a singalong, with backup musicians Sarah Littlefield and Rich Dorato.

Everyone who attended was invited to write messages of love and support, many of which were read from the podium. Reverend Emelia Attridge, of the First Congregational Church of Reading also addressed the crowd, and Albert Pless closed the program out, charging the community to reach out to one individual or one organization to make a change in their lives. Sometimes, it only takes that one person.

The Reading Public Library is committed to evolving together to strengthen communication, equity, collaboration, and learning in our community. Our mission is to be a center and resource for learning and civic engagement. We provide a place and platform of, by, and for the people who can benefit as individuals as well as contribute to the well-being of the community. We work to achieve these goals and commitments by focusing on education, equity, accountability, and access.

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