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Harlem Group Wants to Boost the Popularity of Reading

By Jeff Mays | August 30, 2012 3:52pm

HARLEM — The Harlem education and youth advocacy group Total Equity Now is urging residents to flaunt the books they read instead of hiding them inside their bags or purses — and has declared the first day of each month "Literacy Across Harlem Day," starting Sept. 1.

The group got hundreds of people to participate in a July summer literacy march, while also collecting more than 1,000 books for two area literacy programs. Now, Total Equity Now founder Joe Rogers Jr. wants Harlem residents to get into the habit of being as proud of the books they carry as the stylish bags they carry them in.

"The logical and rational next step is to have more days in which you have community members  carrying books. If we have a built-in day every single month when we and our neighbors are thinking about literacy, it's a simple but symbolically powerful step that could build a critical mass," said Rogers.