Devon Frazier is an Alabama Bright Light using literature to cut ‘school to prison’ pipeline

Devon Frazier is an Alabama Bright Light using literature to cut ‘school to prison’ pipeline
Devon Frazier is using I See Me Inc. to change the trajectory of students at schools in Fairfield, Midfield and Bessemer. (Karim Shamsi-Basha / Alabama NewsCenter)

Fairfield teacher Devon Frazier won the A.G. Gaston People’s Choice Award for an organization she started called, I See Me Inc. The organization is a reflection of what Frazier is all about.

“As a teacher, I see the strong connection between lack of literacy and the prison system,” Frazier said. “I have a deep love and concern for our children and when I read the statistics it breaks my heart. If my organization could save just one child from the cycle of the criminal justice system, then it’s all worth it.”

I See Me offers five programs in the Fairfield, Midfield and Bessemer city schools. One program is called “Real Men Read,” where men throughout the community read to and mentor boys at those schools.

“The mission of I See Me Inc. is to dismantle the school to prison pipeline for children of color by engaging them with literature that mirrors their image, therefore raising their literacy rates,” Frazier said. “According to research, we know that two-thirds of the students who are not reading by fourth grade are doomed to become part of the school to prison pipeline.”

Another I See Me program is called “First Libraries.” This year the organization provided libraries to pre-K students.

“Reading is the common thread that connects everything we do throughout life,” Frazier said. “When students cannot read, they are just behind in school and fall behind in life.”

Devon Frazier is an Alabama Bright Light illuminating paths through reading from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Statistics show that 60 percent of low-income homes do not have books. Frazier realized after studying the research it is impossible for a child to fall in love with reading if they don’t have access to books, which propelled her to develop a multitude of programs through I See Me.

“I grew up in this community. It’s very important to me to see our children thrive,” she said. “If we don’t invest to insure our children are successful, we will perish. Children migrate and love to read books that mirror them. When they see themselves in these books, they will follow those values.”

The I See Me website includes a quote by Kofi Annan: “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”

Devon Frazier wants to see her become students literate, and hopeful.

For more information, visit www.iseemeinc.com.

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected]

During Black History Month, Alabama NewsCenter is celebrating the culture and contributions of those who have shaped our state and those working to elevate Alabama today. Visit AlabamaNewsCenter.com throughout the month for stories of Alabamians past and present.

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