The Harlem Book Fair is the literary event of the summer in New York City. There are many organizations that partner with the Book Fair to make it successful. One of this year’s new partners is Total Equity Now, a grassroots, Harlem-based organization that facilitates a number of educational empowerment initiatives for the community. From a monthly education film screening and community discussion series to youth civic engagement programs, TEN carries out its mission by connecting and partnering with other community-minded organizations in the neighborhood. TEN’s first youth program launched in 2008, and in 2010 the organization broadened its scope to engage a wider range of community members.
In anticipation of this Saturday’s Harlem Book Fair, this site had the opportunity to reach out to TEN founder and faciltiator Joe Rogers, Jr., and TEN intern and City College student Charnae Betton. Joe outlined the overarching mission of Total Equity Now: “empowering Harlemites in improving educational opportunities for young people in our community.”
Total Equity Now and the Harlem Book Fair are co-sponsoring the “Literacy Across Harlem March, Book Donation, and Community Celebration” on Saturday, July 21st at 10:30 a.m. The goal of this event is four-fold: to get people excited about reading and writing, to collect books for the Harlem YMCA’s Literacy Zone learners, to unite Harlemites from east to west for a good cause, and to celebrate Harlem’s literary legacy.
Charnae, the artist behind the flyer for “Literacy Across Harlem,” chimed in on why this initiative is so important. “Literacy is important because it can inspire you,” said Betton, whose own reading experiences have informed her artwork.