Black history book scheme hopes to extend to schools and prisons

By September 10, 2020Literature, News, Political

A scheme to encourage people to read Black history books should be extended to schools and prisons, according to the woman who started it.

Back in June we reported on Maja Antoine-Onikoyi’s book scheme she began on Twitter in June, where she reached out to those who wish to educate themselves on topics of race, justice and the system, but didn’t have the means to do so.

Twenty-year-old Maja Antoine-Onikoyi lives in Watford, UK where she had the idea to find and donate books to people who wanted to educate themselves but could not afford to buy new books.

Since the scheme began in June it has donated books worth over £4,000.

“It just feels like I’m actually making some sort of change which is really cool,” Maja said. “If you don’t know what black people are going through you don’t know how to help.”

After George Floyd was killed by police in the USA, protests swept across the world with the Black Lives Matters (BLM) movement.

Ms Antoine-Onikoyi explained how she had “quite a few people coming to me saying they couldn’t afford resources, so I thought let me just send out three or four books. When I suggested doing that, people were responding to me asking if they could send me money to help me fund that and within three or four hours I had £800 of donations.”

Maja Antoine-Onikoyi hopes to extend the scheme to schools and prisons.

She said how it “just feels like I’m doing what’s supposed to be done. It doesn’t feel like a huge gain on my part, it feels like what our curriculum and our institutions should have been doing.”

Having the book to hand is important for those trying to educate themselves on sensitive or uncomfortable matters as readers are “able to make notes and highlight things that stuck with you… that you apply to your daily life”.

“If you don’t know what black people have been through, our history, how much we’ve struggled and are struggling you’ll find it really difficult to help. To do that you need to be educated on all these things and our experiences.”

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