NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A local school celebrated the Juneteenth holiday early with the help of Smithfield Foods.

About 20 volunteers from the business visited Achievable Dream Academy in Newport News Tuesday morning to read to the students. It was held in conjunction with Smithfield Black Professionals Network.

Volunteers read the book “We Belong Together” as well as quotations from Martin Luther King Jr.

Students participated in the activity or discussion about accepting others’ differences. Latonya Sumpter from Smithfield’s Black Professionals Network says Juneteenth was chosen for this community activity to highlight reading.

“The fact that with Juneteenth, a lot of the slaves did not even know that they were free because they could read,” said Sumpter highlighting the importance of literacy.

10 On Your Side’s Kara Dixon also tagged along to read for some of the students. It’s part of Smithfield Food’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, not just for the community, but also employees.

Those with the companies say they plan on doing more community-based events like this.