Matt Flores asked his mailman for extra advertising and reading materials to help supplement his reading. He didn’t own books. The library was too far away.
So, the mailman asked his friends to help supply books for him. The response went worldwide with books coming as far away as the UK.
This story is about more than what you think. Yes, there’s the charity of humanity, of one person doing something good for another person. There’s also the wish and want of a child. But there’s something else here that needs to be seen.
It’s the power of words and how that impacts communities of color.
Listen, it’s not easy to see that our stories don’t always go mainstream. Glancing at book lists from big name publications (I’m looking at you New York Times), books by people of color barely make it on there if at all. If you believe what you read from these lists, people of color never write books or write books worth reading.
Which means they don’t read.
We know that’s a lie. Just by reading this blog that unsaid but inferred myth is debunked. Yet, stories from/of people of color seem to be the underground experience, like hip hop music being sold from the trunk of cars.
And when we do get a hold of our stories, they are taken away from us and deems a danger because they advocate over throwing government. I’m sure that Shakespeare and even Charles Dickens don’t advocate that at all so that makes them okay for general reading. Forget about this being the best of times or the worst of times…
See, words are magic. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again. Words are powerful and learning how to use them is a power than no one can ever take from you, no matter how much anyone may try. That starts with reading.
With reading comes ideas. Ideas can’t be contained. And neither can words.
So the shelves of books aren’t about helping a 12 year old being a better reader. It’s about empowering him and making him learn that being a reader, learning about words, puts him in the same category as a Harry Potter, powerful beyond measure.
And for communities who typically have had power stripped away from them, a single book in the hands of their youth is hope.