Reading Celebrates Black History Month

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 9 a.m. February 20, 2014

Constable Jan Barr spent a weekend reading nearly 25 books.

A woman in TPS uniform reads from a book opened toward her audience
Constable Jan Barr reads from Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

In the end, one stood out, which the  11 Division officer read to Grade Five students from St. John the Evangelist Catholic School, on Feb. 18, at Perth Dupont Library as part of Black History Month celebrations.

Authored by American president Barack Obama,Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters is a moving tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped the United States. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keefe to the courage of baseball trailblazer Jackie Robinson and George Washington's patriotism, Obama sees these heroes’ traits in his own children and young people around the world.

“This book was the most inclusive with respect to different cultures and that’s why I chose it,” said Barr, who has been with the Service for seven years.

Staff Sergeant Phillip Van Andel and Inspector Egidio Roseto joined Barr at the reading.

A woman and a woman in TPS uniform sitting in front of a group of boys and girls
Author Jessica Alex and Constable Jan Barr with children they read to at the Perth Dupont library

“When we were looking for volunteers, Jan was among the first to put her hands up,” said Roseto. “She’s an experienced and very personable officer who works well with young people.”

Librarian Carmen Martino, a member of the 11 Division Community Police Liaison Committee, played an integral part in organizing the event.

“This is a good way to celebrate our differences and the things that make us unique,” she said.

Author Jessica Alex, who grew up in the community, joined Barr at the book reading.

She read from her book,What if the World Had No Colour.

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