Jose Cartagena-Lanza Jr. said he couldn’t put the "Harry Potter" books down when he was in elementary school.
“The imagination I had, the pictures, the stories I came up with in my head from reading that book — there's nothing that's been able to match that as I've gotten older,” he said.
Cartagena-Lanza is the president of the Alpha Iota Chapter of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. at UNC, which is hosting the Knowledge for Brains K-12 Book Drive alongside the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
The book drive began on Sept. 11 and will run until Oct. 15. Drop boxes are located in the Carolina Latinx Center, Davis Library, the Student Union and the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
All books collected will be donated to Book Harvest, a Durham-based nonprofit working to provide books and literacy support to children and families across North Carolina.
The AI chapter of LUL, which seeks to serve as a leader in meeting the needs of the Latino community, hosted its first book drive last February. They hope to hold one every semester.
Cartagena-Lanza said supporting children’s literacy is important to the fraternity because Latino kids often face challenges when it comes to reading due to factors like language barriers, lack of books tailored toward the Hispanic community or insufficient funding.
“Kids’ literacy is something that we find very important,” he said. “With our philanthropy being providing access to higher education, that starts at a young age. The sooner they can get their hands on these books the better.”
DST is the first Black Greek letter sorority at UNC. Morgan Jordan, the sorority’s social chair and political awareness and involvement chair, said the organization is committed to public service and is primarily focused on the Black community.