Less than 25 percent of children’s books published in the U.S. today feature persons of color. Yet, more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group by the year 2020.
“We know that fostering a love for reading at a young age is vital for success in all areas of education. In order to ensure this, it is equally important that our children see themselves represented in the literature they read,” said Lakeeyscia Griffin, communications coordinator at KairosPDX, a charter school committed to eliminating racial education and opportunity gaps for children in the Portland area.
To help accelerate this mission, the OHSU Black Employee Resource Group – which is dedicated to creating a supportive environment for Blacks/Africans/African Americans at OHSU – held a book drive in recognition of Black History Month. OHSU employees and students contributed more than 300 books, far exceeding BERG goals. More than half of the titles collected feature racially diverse characters.
Members of BERG visited KairosPDX the second week of March to donate the collection to the school’s library. Their gift was met with smiles.
“The BERG leadership team was so pleased that the OHSU community provided so much support to KairosPDX. We were grateful for all of the books that were received,” said Melanie Maurice, J.D., OHSU legal counsel and vice chair of the BERG. “It made my day to see how excited the kids were to receive these books that will help fill KairosPDX’s library.”