Press Release

AFT and UFT Partner with Entertainers 4 Education Alliance for Black History Month

Black History Month campaign aims to highlight Black authors in partnership with the E4EA’s I WILL READ and the AFT’s Reading Opens the World literacy campaigns.

For Release:


Sarah Hager Mosby
Alison Gendar
Tonya Lewis Taylor

NEW YORK—This Black History Month, the American Federation of Teachers is partnering with its largest local, the United Federation of Teachers, and the Entertainers 4 Education Alliance to distribute books from Black authors to thousands of students in 12 Title I schools across New York City. The initiative aims to encourage students to connect with and honor the works and legacies of Black leaders.

“Reading is fundamental to our students’ future, and the AFT’s Reading Opens the World campaign aims to make reading fun, exciting and accessible for students and parents alike,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “That’s why this partnership works; all kids need books―to read, to explore, to challenge themselves. What’s more, Black children deserve books by writers and about characters who look like them. And during Black History Month, we all need stories that tell the proud and accurate history of Black Americans and celebrate their lives.”

“I saw kids’ faces light up at Malcolm X Elementary School in Washington, D.C., when we handed out free books about Malcolm X,” said AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus. “That’s what this campaign is about—giving students the tools to learn about all of history’s great Black leaders in a way that’s relatable to them. And since New York is my home—it’s where I worked in schools—doing this in New York City for Black History Month is even more meaningful.”

“Through the work of inspirational writers, E4EA’s I WILL READ campaign aims to promote literacy and highlight how culture and history are captured through the power of words. We want to show that literacy is not only fun but also a tool that can be used to help improve our quality of life. We are excited about this partnership with the AFT and UFT, as it will provide students more resources to dig through in search of life-changing knowledge,” said Tonya Lewis Taylor, E4EA’s Executive Director.

“Our students want to see themselves reflected in the books on their classroom shelves, and to learn about the full, rich history and contributions of their families and communities,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Twelve events will take place across New York City in February. Confirmed participating schools thus far include:

  • Highland Park Community School 
  • PS 213 New Lots School 
  • MS 267 Math, Science & Technology Institute 
  • PS 272 Curtis Estabrook 
  • MS 61 Dr. Gladstone H. Atwell
  • Bronx Envision Academy 
  • August Martin High School 

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.