Reggie Harris, Celebrity Read 2000 Chair at George Washington carver School, Newark, NJ. Photo courtesy United Way of Essex and West Hudson
United Way Celebrity Read
Celebrity Read was established by the United
Way of Essex and West Hudson in 1991 as a community-building
initiative to diversify the United Way volunteer base while
inspiring elementary school children to read, dream, and set
and accomplish goals. Recruited from all walks of life,
Celebrity Readers travel to local schools where they read a
brief passage about the accomplishments of model people of
color who have played an important role in American or world
history. The Readers also share their own life experiences to
instill in the students a sense of pride and hope for the
future, emphasizing the importance of education and reading in
particular. As one reader said to a class of 7th graders,
"They can take away your house, your car, your clothing, and
all your money, but no one can take away your knowledge. When
you can read something, it becomes yours forever." Originally
conceived as a way to celebrate African American History
Month, the program was subsequently expanded to include people
of other minority descent.
Originally submitted by: Donald M. Payne, Representative (10th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.