Nothing says Harlem “swag” like a book, magazine, newspaper, script, e-reader, etc. “rocked” proudly, publicly, conspicuously . . . everywhere you go! Nothing.
What we carry, wear, and flaunt around Harlem tells other community members a bit about who we are and what we value. When a large number of folks wear or carry something, that “thing” becomes part of our community’s shared identity. Our young people influence, observe, and internalize much of this.
On September 1st, 2012, Total Equity Now declared that the first day of every month in Harlem would forever be known as “Literacy Across Harlem Day.” The first day of the month, we encourage all Harlemites, east to west, to #RockThoseReads: carry reading materials outside of their bags—proudly and publicly—to symbolize their individual and community-based identities as readers and learners. This public display of reading materials—from books to newspapers to magazines to scripts and so on–sparks reading-related conversations, builds community, and offers our youth additional educational role models. (You’ve transitioned to e-readers and the like? No worries. Grab a free newspaper out of a box on the corner, just for the day.)
BOOKS ABOUT HARLEM
HARLEM’S 10 PUBLIC LIBRARIES (updated 1/16/17)
STREET-TEAM COMMUNITY-SERVICE PROJECTS
On selected Literacy Across Harlem Days, Total Equity Now posts up on street corners for 90 minutes to promote reading, joining forces with young people and adults from Harlem schools, colleges, and community organizations. Our street teams
- hand out Literacy Across Harlem Day flyers;
- ask passersby to jot down their current and recommended “reads”;
- tell folks why we love reading, and listen to their reading-related stories; and
- encourage others to carry their “reads” outside of their bags!
If you are affiliated with a school, youth-development organization, civic group, small business, fraternity/sorority, faith-based institution, or other community entity and would like to have your group participate in this fun, empowering project, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how many volunteers you plan to send or bring.