Summer reading campaign teaches kids about race & racism

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INDIANAPOLIS — Stand for Children Indiana is focusing its summer reading campaign on racial justice to spark up important conversations in families.

It’s part of the group’s summer reading pledge and it’s meant to help K-12 students by educating them on racism.

“We are empowering black and brown families, just empowering them, with telling stories of advocacy through books,” explained Ashley Thomas, Regional Organizing Director for Stand for Children Indiana. 

In the books, families can enjoy titles written by minority authors with Indiana connections. 
Brandon Warren, who authored “B Inspired,” is a local activist and a Warren Central graduate, who wrote about his experience losing his best friend to gun violence.  

Local teacher, India Kelvonia wrote her book, “Marisol’s Hair,” to give her students a book with characters they could relate to.

One book on the list has ties to the Indianapolis Colts. 

Whitney Geathers, the author of “You Can Too” and “The Day Brown Went Away” is married to Colts free agent Safety, Clayton Geathers. She said she was inspired by her children to write about influential Black leaders and help Black children gain confidence.

“We don’t want them to feel hopeless,” said Thomas. She hopes these books will show kids the power of their voices, and influences them to be a part of positive change in the world. 

She says reading is just the beginning.

Families can drive by the Stand for Children Indiana Offices Tuesday, July 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Each student will get one age appropriate book for free.

“They’ll be able to pull up. It’s a drive up. Everything’s social distancing,” said Thomas. “We’ll be having masks on. We’ll have a bunch of volunteers who are going to be out here too.”

This summer, the pledge will also keep kids reading while they’re logged out of school.

“Summer learning loss is a real thing, especially along the lines of issues we’ve seen around E-Learning. So that created that gap for a lot of families,” explained Thomas.

Thomas mentioned this is another way to get kids reading 20 minutes every day to improve their development and vocabulary.

“Reading is definitely critical, and so we just want to make sure that we shake that narrative around — helping families really teach their kids.” 

Parent Volunteer, Sherry Holmes, wants her kids to love reading like she does. She also believes the free book giveaway will lift peoples’ spirits in the middle of a pandemic.

“Let this be an event, that’s going to inspire you to come out, see other people, see other families, get a free book for all of your kids.” 

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