During the events surrounding Covid and the Black Lives Matter protests, a group of women living in and around Delhi, NY decided to get together and realize ways in which we can try to spread a local message of acceptance and inclusivity and stamp out ignorance and fear in our community. For us, this message of inclusivity needs to start when people are young. Seeing how a majority of literature that our children read is dominated by white authors and characters, we decided to focus our energy on helping to expose children to a variety of stories about, and written by, underrepresented populations, such as African American, LatinX, American Indian, Asian Pacific American, and LGBTQ communities. Books are windows for children to the outside world; an opportunity to learn about someone else’s life. When children come into contact with someone “different” from them, they can learn from them, and help to reduce stereotypes and assumptions about other cultures.
We began fundraising by #bakingadifference, with all donations going towards purchasing new books for the local public school library. We are now offering teachers Multicultural Literacy Grants which they can apply for to get free books for their classroom. We are also collaborating with several local libraries in Delaware County to offer free children’s programming every month celebrating multicultural events around the globe, and providing each family that attends a free book. We are also planning to help bring regional performing artists to our local schools so young people can celebrate various cultures from around the world with music, dance, and theater and hear people’s stories first hand.