Madison Wilson is a rising third-grader on a mission to deepen cultural diversity in local schools across the United States. This comes at a time when there is heightened tension in the country following the deaths of Blacks in the hands of police officers.
The seven-year-old’s desire to see diversity in schools across the country was sparked by the lack of diverse characters in the movies she watches, CBS News reports, citing Wilson’s mother Tameka Vashti.
Wilson, therefore, decided to raise money to provide multicultural crayons and construction paper, as well as books with diverse characters to local schools, raising over $20,000 toward her cause as of last month.
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“Madison asked me, her mom, why there weren’t more brown people in the books she read,” Vashti told CBS News.
“I told her about how when I was a kid my favorite books had blonde, blue-eyed girls in them and how I rarely saw a girl that looked like me. Madison loves to read (places at the 6th grade, 5th month level) and wanted to bring books to her school that featured kids of all colors.”
Frustrated that she could not find the right shade of brown when drawing pictures of herself, Wilson believes many other kids are facing a similar conundrum. She plans on purchasing the new Crayola crayon pack, “Colors of the World,” and distribute it to schools.
The pack consists of 24 crayons “designed to mirror and represent over 40 global skin tones across the world.”
With the help of her mother, Wilson started a GoFundMe called “Help Fill Madi’s Treasure Box” to raise money to purchase multicultural crayons, books and construction paper for her school so all kids would be represented in the classroom, according to CBS News.
“By raising money for multi-cultural books, crayons and construction paper, kids will always be able to represent themselves accurately in classroom projects, and see people that look like them in the books they read,” said Vashti. “To be it, a child has to see it…difficult to do when they are underrepresented in classroom materials.”
The fundraiser, which was created on June 19, has now raised over $20,000 toward the classroom supplies and books. The campaign has been so successful, Madison is now planning to donate not just to her own school but also four others in the area. Vashti said teachers and students are “thrilled” to be receiving the supplies.
“For children, being able to draw themselves accurately or read a book that has characters that look just like them provides a sense of belonging and helps them feel less isolated in the world. This is especially important for children that may look different than a majority of their classmates,” Vashti said. “No child should feel out of place. Incorporating multicultural tools in schools gives children a voice and creates a sense of community in the classroom.”
Wilson has so far purchased 100 reams of multicultural construction paper and is placing an order for 500 books toward her project.
“Madison is a force to be reckoned with and I want to support her in achieving all of her dreams so other girls of color can see that anything is possible,” the mother said.