Libraries were closed. Schools were closed. Barnes and Nobles were closed.
We figured that we would ask for donations. We were ready to send emails and letters to anyone who could become a part of a cause. Community is a powerful word. Not all communities rally around an event. Some rally around a cause. Books and Badges requires the dedication of humans to staying open to participating and becoming a part of a cause to raise awareness. Then a phone call came in. Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard alerted Cynthia about someone who wanted to donate books to the vision of #MountVernonReads. Disney called! Disney Publishing contacted Cynthia and offered her over $35,000 worth of children’s books to continue the journey of gifting books to Young Readers. They offered Pallets of books were housed at Mount Vernon Public Library. Timur Davis, Director and the library Community Liaison Cathy Webb assisted with counting and organizing the books based on age as well as advising the trio how to distribute.
It took one group text message.
We know that interrupting oppression begins with the understanding that reading is a weapon. Books and Badges believe in equipping our vulnerable young readers with the weapon of reading.
Westchester County Board of Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels stopped by with a proclamation for the founders of Books and Badges. A Proclamation was bestowed to a knock out collaboration of individuals with grit and tenacity Detective David Clark MVPD, Detective Montika Jones MVPD and Author Cynthia Turnquest-Jones.
This proclamation is an official document issued by Westchester County Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels on Friday, December 31, 2021. Commemorating “Books & Badges”. It brings recognition, awareness, plus appreciation to an issue David, Montika, and Cynthia fought against during Covid that is relevant and important to Westchester County. All three are Mount Vernon Residents who collaborated for years however during the height of Covid they confirmed that children reading must continue and be first.