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Beyond Screens: Empowering RCCD’s Online Student Engagement through Literature at the Black Child Book Fair


book fair

The Riverside Community College District (RCCD) Distance Education department organized and hosted the Black Child Book Fair on Saturday, February 24th, at the Bradshaw Building on the Riverside City College campus. This event was uniquely crafted to bridge the gap between the virtual student population and campus engagement, offering RCCD students enrolled in online courses a rare opportunity to interact with the campus community alongside their families. From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, over 100 individuals, representing diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, converged to celebrate African-American-focused literary resources and community engagement.

Established by Darryl Harvey, the Black Child Book Fair serves as a guiding light of advocacy, committed to enhancing the educational, emotional, developmental, and social landscape for youth from diverse backgrounds. The fair boasted an array of sixteen vendors, ranging from local bookstores like Cellar Door and Book Off to entities such as the RCC Student Parent Club and The Allen Chapel AME Church of Riverside. Notable independent authors such as Jennifer Ricketts, Edward Rice, Iman Hubbard, and Vantavia were among the participants. Additionally, other notable vendors included the Center for Social Justice, Scholastics, and the Riverside Public Library.

Attendees were offered many engaging activities and meaningful interactions with vendors and community leaders. UMOJA volunteers curated family-friendly activities, fostering an inclusive atmosphere. The contributions of the Student Parent Club, providing gently used clothing, and JCSM Non-profit, distributing free books to children, showed the event's commitment to nurturing environments.

book fair

Additionally, over 100 complimentary spaghetti dinners were funded by the church food disparity grant, thanks to Allen Chapel AME Church of Riverside. Mama T’s Food for the Soul was also present catering soul food. These contributions enhanced the familial ambiance and ensured attendees departed with full hearts and stomachs.

Shawna Bú Shell, RCCD's Dean of Educational Services and Distance Education, reflected on the event's impact, stating, "As we embark on fostering community engagement at RCCD, the heartening presence of families at this academic event not only captivated but also energized our online students, signaling the commencement of an exciting series of interactive experiences for students in the future."

The overwhelming success of the Black Child Book Fair has inspired plans for future events, with a commitment to offering even more opportunities for online students to engage with the campus community. RCCD's Distance Education department remains dedicated to ensuring that all students, regardless of their mode of learning, have access to enriching experiences that foster a sense of belonging and support within the RCCD community.

Published by External Relations & Strategic Communications