Local organization 100 Black Men of Austin helps teachers stock up classrooms

A local organization helped teachers stock up their classroom libraries on Saturday.

The President of 100 Black Men of Austin said he wanted kids to be able to see themselves in books in their classrooms. He, with some help, made it happen.

"It all got started, I had a dream about putting books in the classroom," 100 Black Men of Austin President Carl Spencer said.

Using funds from the brotherhood and local sponsors, that dream turned into books for 200 teachers this year.

"A lot of our kids these days are not reading, and they don’t know how to read and that’s the sad part about what we’re dealing with in this country and so with that, we’re going to start here," Spencer said.

He said he wished he grew up reading these types of books.

"I think I would have been better if I saw this at a young age, so for me, I think that’s where that dream came from, like okay, if it didn’t happen for you, how can you make it better for someone else and that was just the dream, you can give them something to look forward to," Spencer said.

"We’re all different, but we’re all the same," Harris Elementary School Kindergarten David Carter said.

Carter is going into his 21st year of teaching. He said he hopes these books will inspire his students.

"One of the things especially with kids from different backgrounds, you want to find something that has an appeal to you, you want to find a connection," Carter said. "Takes them into another book, and another book, and another book." 

The Co-Owner of Black Pearl Books said he talks with teachers and librarians daily and hears their struggles.

"I’m not sure that the average person walking around understands the challenges, coming out of COVID and the difficulty in managing virtual and in person, and the different restrictions that are put in place," Black Pearl Books Co-Owner Eric Brooks said.

He said he's happy to help. Many teachers are thankful before heading back into the classroom for this school year.

"It really makes you feel like you are making a difference, even if you don’t see a difference day to day, you know, but to get something like this and know that people are invested in their community, and they recognize that the community starts with one person, it could be one five-year-old," Carter said.

The 100 Black Men of Austin plan to provide more books to more teachers next year.