- “One day my mom and aunt asked me how I would want to make a difference in the world and I said to help stop racism,” Emi was quoted as saying.
- Emi and her family decided that a good way to do this was by adding more books that feature people of color into school libraries.
- The young student believes that part of the reason people treat others negatively based on their race is that “we’re afraid of what we don’t know.”
- Emi, who is of Hawaiian, Polynesian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese descent, shared that in the past she has experienced racism a couple of times which did not make her “feel good at all.”
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- Emi then made a presentation explaining the need for diverse books in libraries and shared it with her school’s principal, Kim Hawkins.
- In her presentation, Emi included statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center which stated that there are more books with white people or animals as main characters than there are books with protagonists who are Black, Indigenous or people of color.
- Emi’s mom, Dorie Kim, shared that after raising $762, they were able to buy five sets of 15 books for five local schools.
- With Hawkins’ approval, Emi purchased books with main characters from Polynesian, Asian, Native American, Latino and Black cultures. According to Dorie, her daughter selected books that were “actually written or illustrated by someone of that race.”
- Emi’s efforts in impacting a positive change at her own school led to library improvements in her city’s entire school district, reported Fox13.
- The Provo school district was so inspired by Emi’s work that it bought the same 15 books for other elementary schools in the city.
- Westridge Elementary School also gave Emi an award for her initiative last month.
- Emi put up another lemonade stand on Sept. 25 and raised $3,029. She plans to use the funds to buy books about kids with disabilities.