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South Bend, IN / brainlairbooks.com

Kathy Burnette’s activism roots run deep. She’s a “See something, DO something” person who's made more than one career change in her life in order to do something to connect children to the tools they needed to enhance their educations and build brighter futures. As a child growing up in a neighborhood on Chicago’s southside that was “so bad it no longer exists,” she found safety and hope from the community members who banded together to ensure her and other’s safety by walking them home, finding ways to feed hungry people, and helping remove the obstacles that kept an entire community from accessing the resources that were available to them. Kathy found escape and inspiration through books, an impact so profound that she became first an elementary school teacher, then an elementary school librarian, and now the owner of a book store that features books focused on diversity and inclusion in order to share the life-changing influence writers and illustrators offer to children. Kathy believes in the potential of each child and how a strong educational system can nurture, develop, and encourage that potential; eventually impacting the community at large in a social, economic, and quality of life way.

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