Representation Matters!

Representation Matters!

From Nadia Conyers

Help us get From Lee Highway to Langston Blvd. In all 8 Title 1 schools in Arlington, Virginia. These schools are located in low-income communities with much less access to books or literature that truly represent them.

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Across America, numerous children are feeling a disconnect from their neighborhoods, from themselves, and from their heritage. This is due to the fact that as they go through their daily lives, they are often oblivious to the culture and history that surrounds them and there is an obvious lack of representation.

 

This is even true for many adults as we pass by historically named buildings, monuments, and parks as well as drive on streets named after people who affected and influenced our history, but we actually have no idea who they are or why they matter…but why is that information important?

 

My name is Nadia Conyers and in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, many cities in the US were met with a demand to rename and rebrand streets, schools, and other edifices to disassociate from the legacies of their racist past. As adults, some of us researched the history behind the names used throughout our cities and why there was a demand to rename them, but what about our children?

 

While having a conversation about the renaming of Lee Highway, the U.S. Route 29 running east-west through Arlington, Virginia, with my daughter Arrington, she asked, "Mommy, why are they changing the name of the street and who is John M. Langston?"

 

She had no idea of the history that surrounded her in her own neighborhood and upon researching more information, I realized no children in Arlington have access to that history in a format they can fully understand. They were being deprived of representation by being unaware of the culture, history, and events that occurred in their very own areas…but not anymore.

 

I took it upon myself to ensure every child in Arlington has the opportunity to be represented by writing a children's book along with my daughter Arrington entitled "From Lee Highway to Langston Boulevard". The 26-page educational book was written to inform children about the importance and meaning of representation and naming, especially within the African American community in the US, and today I am here to seek your support to ensure children in underserved communities have access to it.

 

How You Can Help

 

There are eight Title 1 schools in Arlington County, Virginia. Schools that are located in low-income and impoverished communities where the children do not have much access to books or literature that truly represents them. My goal is to get "From Lee Highway to Langston Boulevard", a book on representation, into the hands of students who need to see their faces in literature most.

 

"From Lee Highway to Langston Boulevard" resonates with young Arlington readers because it is about the people and places that they see daily. Together with your support, we will deliver classroom sets of books for 1st and 2nd-grade classrooms in Arlington VA public schools allowing the children to see themselves in a positive light in a book that fully represents them, their history, and their beautiful faces.

 

100% of your generous donations will go directly towards the following:

 

      The purchase of 50 copies per school of "From Lee Highway to Langston Boulevard" totaling 450 books at the price of $10 per book to be delivered to the eight Title 1 schools: Abingdon, Barcroft, Barrett, Campbell, Carlin Springs, Drew, Hoffman-Boston, and Randolph

 

Title 1 elementary schools have the highest cases of poverty among their students which has led to a literacy gap that has been increasing as of late due to COVID lockdowns and virtual learning. Many of the children who attend these schools could not afford to do online learning and their literacy suffered greatly.

 

Now is the time to bring back the love of reading and there is no better way to do so than with a book that truly represents who they are as individuals. Imagine the joy in a child’s eyes when they can see themselves in a book. Reading about people who look like them and live where they live will engage their imagination, their joy of history, and their love of self.

 

To thank you for your generous support, all donors will be listed as a donor upon delivery of the books to the individual schools. However, donors of $50 (5 books), $100 (10 books), and $250+ (25 books or more) will be recognized as our bronze, silver, and gold donors respectively.

 

I cannot thank you enough for helping to get representation into the hands of our youth to encourage engagement and a love for reading and history. Please share this campaign with your family, friends, and co-workers to help spread the word.

 

Together we will ignite the passion for reading in our youth!

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