“Celebrating Diversity” Book Drive

Published 1 year ago -

By Max O’Meara, Staff Writer

On November 22, the “Celebrating Diversity and Encouraging Activism” children’s book drive opened for donations. Assumption’s Student Government Association has partnered with Venerini Academy, which is a local elementary and middle school in Worcester. Unlike most book drives, this one will exclusively be done online through Amazon.

On the @assumptionusga page on Instagram, you will be able to find information on how to donate, as well as a QR code and link that will direct you to the list of 100 books that were approved by Sara Swillo Muckian, director of Student Activities, and Leadership Development at Assumption University, Liz Cammilleri, Venerini Academy’s librarian, and Kathryn Cannistraro, Senator of the Class of 2024 for Assumption University’s Student Government Association.

The plan is to have the books shipped to the Assumption Student Government Association by early in the spring semester of 2022 so that they can be brought over to Venerini Academy soon after. The book drive is already making great progress, with 25 donations made in just the first week.

The idea for this type of book drive came from Cannistraro, who worked closely with Swillo Muckian and Molly Berrigan, the previous senate speaker for Assumption’s Student Government Association.

Cannistraro shared the inspiration for the project came from her older brother, Jeffery, who has autism.
From seeing the stigma that Jeffery and the rest of her family had to deal with, Cannistraro realized that “this is not only the experience of individuals with autism or any specific disability, but also the experience of every minority group — from the LGBTQIA+ community to the Muslim community.”

Cannistraro went on to talk about the deep effect that this Stigma can have on our school systems.

“Stigma comes from a lack of understanding or fear and can lead to discrimination and exclusion. Contributing to stigma is the underrepresentation of these marginalized groups in the books we read and in the media.”

Cannistraro was asked about the effect that a book drive like this can have on the youth.

“The hope of introducing children to these topics is that children of all ages, races, backgrounds, specifically those that are part of a minority and are marginalized in society, will see themselves and their struggles represented in these books. Additionally, by making important topics more accessible and visible to kids at such a young age, it will hopefully help them grow up to be more compassionate and open-minded adults who are accepting of their diverse society.”

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