The Black Alumni Association at Cornell University has introduced a new grant program to help members of the association get published. Chimene Liburd, vice president of fundraising for the Cornell Black Alumni Association, said that “the impetus was to offer something back to our membership. The hope is that we can help our alumni realize their dreams and inspire many others to write the novels, poems, or plays that are living inside them.”
The first beneficiary of the grant program is Dionne M. Benjamin, a member of the class of 2000. She received a grant that helped her offset the cost of an illustrator for the first of her series of children’s books called City Kids. The first book, City Kids: White Chocolate, tells the story of a young African American child with a light complexion who wrestles with his ethnic identity.
Other forthcoming books in the City Kids series will deal with racial profiling, homosexuality, gangs, hip-hop culture, drugs and alcohol, and homelessness.