Books that Represent All Kids

Hi All,

This is Draya's Mom. Barbara Johnson, Melissa Thom and Jenny Lussier informed us that many people wanted to access her GoFundMe.  Because it's been more than 6 months, it looks like the original GoFundMe is deactivated. We have created this for Draya to continue to raise money to get books that represent all kids into schools in Connecticut. Draya has also asked, if it is ok with everyone, that she use a small part of the money to help with another fundraiser she is doing. Draya learned about the idea of a Chalk the Walk from WEE the People in Boston  and she wants them to come to her school either in person or virtually. WEE the People is an organization that helps kids and families learn how to talk about race and fight against racial injustice.

Finally, as Draya's parents, Darrell and I wish to thank all of you for giving Draya the space to tell her story. As you can imagine the events of the past few weeks have been scary for Draya and she shouldn't have to be an activist fighting for racial justice at 10 years old. However, she told us in her own way that creating lots of art and being active is what she needs right now.  We appreciate your support and ask that we all recognize that there are countless children like her that are scared and want to take action (but shouldn't have to) - they just need tremendous educators like you to hear and see them. 

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all that you do to make countless children as Draya felt today.

Much love, 
Draya, Darrell, Michelle



Below is the original post from 2017 and Link to original GoFund Me 


The events of the last few days have left our family feeling powerless and scared, and we will not let hate take our power and joy.

A few months ago, I was waiting for the bus with my daughter and she pulled out an old weathered book from her backpack, and said “[My teacher] let me borrow this mommy, and I don’t think I am going to give it back.” Obviously, I do not want my child to steal so I asked her to explain, and her explanation was this:

“Mommy, this book has a black family, and they do stuff. It’s not all ‘ooooooo, look at me I’m black and I need people to help me’, it’s just a black family doing stuff and it’s funny. Like us, (she ignores my Polish-Italian-Irish skin). It’s the only one in the WHOLE class and I’m keeping it.” (we made her give it back after a few more reads.)

Our daughter, my beautiful, kind mixed mama, in her words explained what she needed in her books: to feel represented. She did not only want to read books that celebrated her ‘otherness’ which many schools have plenty of, or books with characters that were only half of who she is; she wanted books that were a reflection of her everyday life (and apparently her school didn’t have enough).

In kindergarten, we donated books to her classroom that helped her discover the beauty of her ‘otherness’ on her own.

In first grade we gathered books so that when our daughter read she was reading stories that were a reflection of her. We worked very hard with her classroom teacher and school librarian to create a classroom library that represents all children. With her dedicated teachers’ tireless support and efforts, we wanted to ensure that when our daughter goes to school she, like her friends, can read books that are a reflection of her.

This year, we will buy books for her and her classmates. When they read books that include a main character that is a person of color who loves their family, to dance, their dog, or is scared of the dark, gets into childhood mischief, or has super powers, they will see themselves. When they see themselves in another person, they will feel empowered, valued, unafraid, kinship and love.

Please consider giving money so that we can donate books that represent all children doing everyday things. We will donate books to all schools-schools with significant representation of children of color, and schools with little representation. We want to use literature to empower all children to see their reflection, or open a window to see how much they have in common (Rudine Sims Bishop) and that they all are beautiful and powerful.

We don’t hate if we see ourselves in others. Literature does this.

Donations

  • Stephanie Robinson 
    • $25 
    • 29 d
  • Kendra Alling 
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
  • Lisa Foley 
    • $56 
    • 1 mo
  • Isaiah &Devante &Kailani Gohagon 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Kylie Clark 
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer

Michelle Gohagon 
Organizer
Rockfall, CT
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