Eboni Walker was a teacher in New Orleans in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina wrought its hell and high water. While homes, businesses and schools all suffered severe damage, so too did two-thirds of New Orleans’ libraries.
Meanwhile, Walker was displaced by Katrina and moved to Silver Spring, Md., where she became active in the Maryland State Education Association.
Once Walker heard that this summer’s NEA Representative Assembly would be in her native New Orleans, she started to think about ways for the NEA to help her former city. At the Maryland State Education Association convention in October, Walker successfully lobbied for her colleagues to participate in community service to benefit New Orleans.
MSEA started fundraising for the Mahalia Jackson Early Childhood and Family Learning Center Library a few months later and has raised around $10,000, so far, for books and a bookmobile that can be used as a mobile library.
“It definitely took a lot of legwork and communication between us, the New Orleans Public Library Foundation and the NEA as a whole,” Walker said. “But it should definitely be a positive for the NEA to show its presence in the city.”
Photo: Eboni Walker (left) and NEA’s Read Across America coordinator Anita Merina at the 2010 NEA Representative Assembly.