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Zeneta and Zaire Book Club launches to inform young minds about diversity and inclusion

"You can't teach American history in this country without teaching African American history."
Zeneta and Zaire's Book Club
Posted at 11:52 PM, Feb 02, 2023

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — A mother and her son, a survivor of the tragedy on 5-14, continuing their quest to educate young minds about Black history.

It is in the hopes of eliminating racism and prejudice against Black people.

7 News' Pheben Kassahun was able to witness Zeneta Everhart and her son Zaire Goodman, partner up with the Buffalo Bills to give the gift of reading about Black history, diversity and inclusion, at One Bills Drive, Thursday afternoon.

The official kickoff and launch for the Zeneta and Zaire Book Club, started after the 5-14 massacre that claimed the lives of ten people and injured three, including Zaire at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue.

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Zeneta and Zaire Book Club creator, Zeneta Everhart said, "This is our, Zaire and I's, moment to pay it forward. While he was seriously injured on 5-14, I got to keep my kid and he's still alive and he's breathing and we're grateful for that."

She hopes their children's book club teaches kids in attendance about diversity.

The event kick-started Black History month inviting the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo, Masten District and Orchard Park.

Kids were able to listen in on a story time, with a slice of pizza in hand, and they went home with totes filled with two Black history books on inclusion and Black History Month coloring sheets.

Everhart explained, "A lot of times, when we go to the libraries or when we're in school, those books don't depict a lot of children of color. So, these books just show children as children. They talk about regular families and things like that but they also are teaching tools."

The mother-son duo is partnering with the Buffalo Bills Foundation, which donated $5,000 to the book club to further their mission.

"We decided to do this kickoff event. Story times throughout the month. We partner with local library systems to bring it to local libraries," Buffalo Bills Foundation executive director, Michelle Roberts said.

One of the books that were up for grabs was Kara Oliver-Perez's "You Go, Girl!" book.

She originally wrote this for her niece to feel empowered about being Black.

"One of the things that's really important to me is literacy, and not only having access to literacy but having access to culturally relevant literature. Far too often, when we think about world's children's books, it's not reflective of folks of the global majority. What message does that send to children who look like myself or those who do not look like me," Kara Oliver-Perez told Pheben Kassahun.

Everhart added, "We have to teach history, period. You can't teach American history in this country without teaching African American history. We are a part of the fabric of this country. We have to tell them to our children and to our high school students and to colleges."