RENO, Nev. – The Abbi Agency, an integrated marketing agency headquartered in Reno, Nev., has partnered with local communications expert and business owner Khalilah Smith-Cage to share culturally competent literacy with readers across Nevada. The partnership aims to bring special awareness and education to the greater community regarding the lives of the Black community in the United States.
This comes following the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and a national uprising designed to bring focus to the violent disparities Black communities face, sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Oluwatoyin Salah, Elijah McDaniels, Micaiah Lee and countless others. The partnership was created in support of an evolving civil rights movement to spark vital conversations and progressive action about racial issues and diversity in Nevada and nationwide.
The partnering entities will come together to host and create three critical events and resources: an informative panel of Black voices, educators, community organizers and more to discuss community literacies, race relations, and pathways toward positive change; anti-racist reading syllabi for adults and youths; and a fundraiser benefiting a local children’s literacy nonprofit, Spread the Word Nevada, to purchase and distribute multicultural books to students Pre-K through 5th grade.
“It is a commonly held misconception that the sole concern of organizations like Black Lives Matter is the pattern of fatal encounters with police that disproportionately impact Black people around the United States,” said Evynn McFalls, Director of Insights and Strategy at The Abbi Agency. “While that is a key concern, it is my understanding that little work toward positive change can be done if we address a symptom—institutionalized violence against minorities—without instituting a practice of truth, reconciliation and meaningful action where the cause of those symptoms are concerned.”
“A great deal of work must be done to make clear to people both the historical and present, evolving legacy of racism in the United States and well beyond it. Anti-Blackness is not a singular kind of incident, but a far-reaching cultural attitude, a set of practices, and the real-life impact of certain policies that diminish Black quality of life across every possible dimension be it in their interactions with state entities, in their working and personal lives, and even in their healthcare outcomes. The purpose of the panel and resources we are marshaling is, first, to make the problems and their breadth more legible to people and, next, to help us envision and act to pave a better way forward.”
“I think this initiative is necessary and smart,” said Khalilah Smith-Cage. “I believe there is a unique opportunity here to take a more holistic approach to addressing race in our communities by sharing books, thoughts and other resources that not only touch on diversity, race, inclusion, but also the intellectual, emotional, social and physical realities that a diverse cross-section of people experience with children and parents in our communities.”
Thanks to event sponsors The Abbi Agency and Councilwoman Jardon, a donation of $2,000 will be given to Spread the Word Nevada to purchase and distribute culturally diverse and age-appropriate books to at-risk children in local elementary schools.
“Spread the Word Nevada is incredibly grateful to be named the honored charity for this important event and stands dedicated to put an end to racism by using the funds raised to continue providing culturally diverse books to at-risk children in Nevada,” said Lisa Habighorst, Executive Director and Co-Founder at Spread the Word Nevada.
The race relations panel will take place virtually on July 23, 2020 at 5 p.m. This key event is free to the public, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. The panel will only be available online via Zoom. To RSVP for the panel or for more information on this initiative, visit bit.ly/32K1S83.
Donations towards the purchase of multicultural books can be made at: charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/cultural-literacy-panel-event
About The Abbi Agency
The Abbi Agency is an integrated creative, digital and public relations agency with offices in Reno, Las Vegas, New York City and London. The agency has executed award-winning integrated marketing campaigns for clients including North Lake Tahoe, SendCutSend and Travel Nevada. The agency works extensively in the travel and tourism industry, while also growing robust technology, economic development and public affairs divisions of the company. Learn more at theabbiagency.com.
About Khalilah Smith-Cage
Khalilah Smith-Cage is a Northern Nevada-based influencer, fashion model, podcast host, business owner and diversity expert. Her podcast, I Am Her, focuses exclusively on discussing women’s issues. Her personal stylist business, Styled by Kiki Cage, strives to help women come alive and reinvent themselves through fashion. Discover more about Khalilah at khalilahcage.com.
About Spread the Word Nevada
Spread the Word Nevada is a children’s literacy 501(c)(3) nonprofit, dedicated to advancing early childhood literacy by placing books into the hands and homes of children within Nevada’s at-risk, low income communities. While developing a love of reading, these libraries promote future academic achievement and self-confidence, which impacts lifelong success. Visit spreadthewordnevada.org to learn more.