Representation Matters . . .A LOT!
As we all deal with a new normal in the time of the coronavirus, this topic took on an even greater meaning. Watching the responses from officials, companies and individuals around the globe has made this point acutely. Who represents us at the official, local and community level really matters. Yet, too often there are individuals and groups who are not adequately represented which can lead to devastating consequences.
We had the opportunity recently to talk about the census with Davies Chirma of ATv, among other topics, including OHBD. We discussed the importance of being counted so your voice is heard and included when number of elected representatives, resources, and the design of policies are being decided. We see this happening now during this global crisis.
We experienced this ourselves on a much, much smaller scale as we work to expand the libraries that carry our books. We need to know where populations who will benefit from our books are concentrated and to have accurate, up-to-date information, which is not so easy to find. Fear of what will be done with the information provided, as well as not knowing its importance, often holds people back. That’s why hearing from representatives in your community is so powerful in times of crisis or even better, before there is one. We were honored to be able to share our thoughts on this important topic.
Representation matters in other ways, too. Our board and staff represent a broad cross-section of communities and perspectives. We know working on hard challenges, whether it is a pandemic or literacy, requires innovation; and innovation is fueled by diverse points of view. Having representation that understands the challenges and opportunities we are focused on first-hand is priceless. Hearing from the scientists and those in countries that have experience has proved invaluable to us now. Getting input from those who grew up in households who couldn’t read or didn’t have books reminds us of the importance of our mission.
When representation is missing, the results quickly become evident – on both the global and local scale. What you can’t see, you can’t imagine being or doing. Our #ReadySetGo books are providing children in Ethiopia and the diaspora the chance to see themselves in our books. They are also providing more stories from the continent of Africa to balance all the stories from other continents which have a stronger or longer children’s literature history.
A big push this year will be to get our books in more homes, schools, and libraries around the globe since self-publishing reaches just about every populated continent except, for now, sadly, Africa. We are also exploring adding more languages, like Swahili and Somali. This will not only fund our continued work to increase opportunities for kids in Ethiopia and language and culture support for the diaspora, it will also contribute to increased representation for black and brown kids in children’s literature. This is planning for the future because these kids may be the ones helping another generation address a different global crisis. Thank you for being a part of making that happen.
REPRESENTATION REALLY MATTERS! Hope you all stay safe and healthy.
To support all the parents and kids now at home, we lowered the prices on the Kindle versions of our #ReadySetGoBooks to $1.99 from $6.99; $7.99 (or $2.99 from $9.99 if a 3 in 1 book). See here: https://smile.amazon.com/Ready-Set-Go-Books/e/B07G171G1M