A distinguished author from Far Rockaway is raising funds to launch an undergraduate scholarship for low-income students of color.
Now residing in Los Angeles, Atiba Rogers, 29, who self-published her first poetry book “Colossal Heart” in August 2017, is using proceeds from her book sales to contribute to a still-in-the-works scholarship fund for underrepresented, low-income undergraduate students of color.
On March 23, Rogers attended the annual Freedom Writers Women’s Expo showcasing African American authors at SQPA Beacon Community Center at 108-35 167th St. in Jamaica, where she sold paperback copies of her book and lapel pins.
“I sold six copies of my books that day making $81.00 and I sold two pins also,” said Rogers. “So far, the total that I have towards the scholarship is $423.23 since having the book signing event from the funds raised there for the scholarship.”
In an interview with QNS last year, Rogers said that “Colossal Heart” was written on the train during her commutes to class at Stony Brook University.
Rogers’ book of poems stemmed from her personal experiences with love, lust, loss and growth. It is broken into four sections: bemoan, expressionist, exhibitionist and lion with each part giving voice to the memories of different areas of Rogers’ life.
With the second anniversary approaching on the publication of her book, Rogers said she plans to return to New York City — where most of her audience is concentrated — to host a fundraising event for the scholarship.
According to Rogers, she created the scholarship due to the hardships she endured while a student in school.
“When I was in journalism school I had a very hard time coming from a low-income background and being an immigrant I couldn’t apply to certain things because I only had a green card, and I couldn’t apply to internships on Long Island because you need a car on Long Island,” said Rogers, who is now pursuing a career in teaching.
Originally intended to assist low-income journalism students of color, the scholarship fund will be open to low-income students of color pursuing other career paths as well.
“If they need a stipend or something for traveling, or if they need it to buy a laptop, they can use it for whatever they need because I wish I had probably like $2,000 to buy a car,” said Rogers. “I just want to be that beacon of hope for students to let them know that there’s someone else out there who’s probably going through what you’re going through or went through and wants to help.”
Rogers plans to call the scholarship the Roy Simon Rogers Foundation in honor of her late father, who taught her the importance of obtaining an education. She would like to raise a minimum of $2,000 to give to two students in need of financial assistance.
“I just want underrepresented students from low-income backgrounds to be offered the equal opportunities to achieve their goals,” said Rogers. “Creating this scholarship in my father’s name is very important because all he wanted for his children was to ‘go to school and get an education.’ To him education is our only way out of poverty, but students also need their financial means met. This way, young scholars can receive educational support and have time to focus on pursuing their passions.”