I don't need to tell you, these are some unbelievably difficult times. Many of us have been asking ourselves, 'what can I do to further be an ally for equality, diversity, racial justice, and understanding each other and our stories?' Three young women on the Broadneck Peninsula are taking action to do just that. Taylor Burnett was a student at BHS. In addition to being a good student, she was one of those kids you loved to have in your classroom: upbeat, kind, friendly. Taylor experienced the loss of her father at a young age, an experience which could cause some teenagers to check out. Instead, she dug in. She attended college at the University of Notre Dame of MD, where she graduated as a pre-service, "Teacher of Promise"; one of a select group of pre-service educators who were considered the top of their field. She has already begun living up to her promise. She just completed her second year at Arnold Elementary, and will be moving from Pre-K to Kindergarten in the 2020-21 School Year.
At the end of this school year, Taylor started a diversified book drive for her classroom. "I was inspired by my friend Leanne Linnel who graduated from Severna Park in 2012, she teaches in Texas now and saw she was doing a wish list for her class and I made one, too!" Another friend, BHS alumna
Nikki Sortiso saw her book wish list for her class and asked if she wanted to help her do something a little bit bigger for the community instead of just her classroom. Nikki's friend Caroline Hutchinson, who graduated from Saint Mary’s, also wanted to help. Both Nikki and Caroline work for a local company (who wishes to remain anonymous) who will match up to $2000. of funds raised. The books will be distributed in the following ways:
Free book pick ups: The first planned book pick-up will be in front of the Alex Haley statue in downtown Annapolis on June 13th. The books will be given out completely free, but the group will also be collecting donations for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
They plan on doing more than one free book drop, in other locations such as on the Baltimore Annapolis bike trail.
Partnering with Teachers: They will also be partnering with teachers to provide these books to their classrooms and school libraries
As of today, they have raised $2355! Taylor adds, "we’re buying our books from local black owned bookstores and first order is with Mahogany Books in DC." Supporters are also welcome to donate a book of their choice through Amazon. If you would like to participate, here is the link to the GoFundMe.