Clayton resident organizing reading program to counter racism

Clayton resident organizing reading program to counter racism
Rise Up Against Racism features diverse voices in its free little libraries.

CLAYTON, CA — Mindfulness instructor Cheryl Willis is leading a community-based effort to bring Rise Up Against Racism’s (RUAR) libraries to Clayton.

While Little Free Libraries come in all shapes and sizes, RUAR libraries emphasize the power of books to open minds, spark conversation and inspire change.

Founded in June 2020, the non-profit organization provides antiracist works that elevate Black voices and diverse perspectives.

As a mother of three, Willis knows how important it is for children to engage with books that provide mirrors to their own lives and windows into others’ experiences.

Starting a conversation

“By having antiracist books available freely in our community, it will start conversations and raise awareness through education, which, in my opinion, is the best way to start dismantling racism,” Willis said. “Children and adults will soon be able to borrow books, and we’ll be planting real seeds of change right here in our local community. Plus, since RUAR commissions incredible artists to transform its libraries, Clayton residents will get to enjoy a beautiful piece of community art.”

The community has responded to her GoFundMe campaign. It is more than 50 percent funded. Families all over Clayton now display bright orange yard signs available to donors who give $25 or more.

RUAR centers on the idea that education can radically transform society. Its anti-racist libraries are intended to open minds, while inspiring lifelong learning and change.

Clayton’s RUAR is purchasing from Marcus Books in Oakland, the nation’s oldest Black-owned bookstore. The books will represent a variety of genres and include selections for all reading levels.

Find a complete list of books in RUAR’s collection at To make a donation, go to Willis’ GoFundMe account.