California teachers Leilani Brooks and Stevi Meredith co-created ABC Me Flashcards, a company dedicated to empowering children through history and reading. The first edition of alphabet flash cards features figures and themes celebrating African American history. These women have gifted students in Ferguson, Missouri with these cards to inspire and uplift them through education. Since the delayed opening Ferguson public schools, Brooks and Meredith have sent over two dozen sets of cards to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library and local schools in the area.
“Ferguson is a reminder of the world we live in. It can be ugly, unfair, and unjust,” Brooks told The Huffington Post. “I grew up during the L.A. riots and watched lootings happen from my bedroom window. I know the negative psychological effects on a kid and the damaging representation of ones culture from seeing it happen. I hope this small token will have a big impact even if it’s only for one child.”
“The biggest challenge facing Black children to day is the media. We cannot afford to allow our children to derive their self image from the images the dominant culture chooses to share… We must build our children up, empower them with their history, and inspire them to be great,” Brooks said.
The cards were chosen over creating an app or children’s book because studies show that there’s not much benefit in learning to read from the computer screen. And we all know many kids stare at computer screens all day. Brooks explained that she wanted these cards to be accessible for everybody. What a beautiful offering for Black kids to be able to learn more about their history, while learning to read. From Africa, to Langston Hughes, to the Dance Theater of Harlem and EBONY Magazine, Brooks and Meredith aim to inspire pride in Black excellence and a responsibility to perpetuate it among their young readers.