Since 1996, Philadelphia has celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – the largest annual event in the country honoring Dr. King's legacy – on the third Monday of January. On January 17, the Eagles commemorated the life of Dr. King by making two donations.
• The Eagles contributed $2,500 to The African American Children’s Book Project.
Founded in 1992, The African American Children's Book Project was created to promote and preserve children's literature written by or about African Americans. The donation comes in perfect timing as on Saturday, February 5, the AACBP will host the 30th Annual African American Children's Book Fair. The fair kicks off the start of Black History Month with an array of different authors, who have produced some of the best books on Black Americans. The Annual African American Children's Book Fair will be held at the Community College of Philadelphia from 10 AM-4 PM. The book fair is one of the oldest and largest single-day events for children's books in the country.
Located on Girard Avenue in the Fishtown section of the city, Harriett's Bookshop opened to provide a space to honor and celebrate Black authors, activists, and artists. The Eagles purchased 150 books from Harriett's to donate to Vision To Learn. Books give authors the power to share stories in a creative way, which allows consumers to learn about different experiences and expand their vocabulary.
"It's really exciting that the Eagles get to shop at Harriett's Bookshop and show their commitment to Philadelphia and to Philadelphians," said Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett's Bookshop. "They're doing that by buying books, which we know is a win, win, win. A book is one of those gifts that is not going to stop giving. I think that it's really cool that the Eagles have decided that they want to show their commitment to the city in that way."
Here is a list of the books that will be donated by the Eagles:
• Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers (Author) and The Staff of the New York Times (Author)
• Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (Author) and Vashti Harrison (Author)
• The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Author) and Nikki Giovanni (Foreword by)
• The President Sang Amazing Grace by Zoe Mulford (Author) and Jeff Scher (Illustrator)
• The Story of Marting Luther King Jr.: A Biography Book for New Readers by Christine Platt (Author)
• Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o (Author) and Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)
• Who Is Kamala Harris? by Kirsten Anderson (Author), Who Hq (Author), and Manuel Gutierrez (Illustrator)
• Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks by Insha Fitzpatrick (Author), Who Hq (Author), and Abelle Hayford (Illustrator)
• Who Was Harriet Tubman? by Who Hq (Author), Yona Zeldis McDonough (Author), and Nancy Harrison (Illustrator)
• Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader (Author), Who Hq (Author), and Elizabeth Wolf (Illustrator)
• Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Author) and Luisa Uribe (Illustrator)
• Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It by Jamie Margolin (Author) and Greta Thunberg (Foreword by)
The nonprofit Vision To Learn will receive the books from Harriett's and distribute them on the Eagles Eye Mobile. Vision To Learn focuses on providing access to vision care for kids in underserved communities at no cost to their families, and they do that by using mobile vehicles to serve kids at their schools.
"We're so appreciative of the donation. We really value education," said Rachel Weiner, program manager for Vision To Learn in Philadelphia. "Glasses are an important tool in students succeeding in the classroom. If you can't see, you can't read, and if you can't read, you can't learn. This helps connect the importance of vision care to kids succeeding in school. We love distributing books in conjunction with our program."
Harriett's Bookshop is unique to the City of Philadelphia. The shop honors heroine Harriet Tubman and Cook, a Black woman, wanted the shop to be a social justice space. All the books purchased are written by authors of color and focus on civil rights leaders and social justice issues.
"I think that books take you into a person's mind. That's very difficult to do in any other way besides reading and storytelling," Cook continued. "I really want to support children and families with coming up with the language of what we desire, what we declare, what we want. I think in some ways when we don't use language in that way we forget to dream, we forget to imagine, we forget to create, and everything starts there. That's where we begin."
"It's vital," said Weiner on why books from Black authors are important for kids. "It shows and reflects them in these books and that's important to us, too. It's important that kids get access to books that can teach them the past and the future that reflects who they are."