Book drive to honor member of Charleston 9

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Out of last year's tragedy in Charleston not only healing continues, but also a humanitarian effort that inspires learning.

By design, the media center at the Sugar Creek Charter School provided the platform for the kick-off of this foundation. It is a tribute to the sister of former North Carolina State Senator Malcolm Graham.

"The Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation for reading and civic engagement to increase literacy and spread a passion for reading in Cynthia's home of Charleston and here in Charlotte," Graham said.

Cynthia Hurd was one of the nine killed during a Wednesday night Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME. By profession and training, she was a librarian who practiced the craft for more than 30 years.

"We want to get books in barbershops and pre-school programs, and those who need those reading materials," Graham said.

Based on recent research, the numbers underscore the need for this kind of outreach.

Sharon Harrington is the executive director of Reading Partners, which is lending support to the initiative.

"Sixty percent of third-graders here in Mecklenburg County are not reading at grade level, and when you look at socioeconomic income, almost 80 percent of third-graders are not reading proficiently," Harrington said.

The book drive will be carried out over the next few weeks in an attempt to help students who are away from the classroom.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Graham feels this is an appropriate way to honor his late sister.

"As we approach this one-year anniversary in a few weeks, we don't dwell on how she died, but rather how she lived," Graham said.

The drive is set to begin over the next few weeks. WBTV is an official partner and drop off location.

Copyright 2016 WBTV. All rights reserved.