Reading and writing are essential to navigating the world in which we live. Yet according to a 2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics
, 21 percent of adults in the United States have “low level English literacy” skills, including 4.1 percent who are considered as being “functionally illiterate.” And while these numbers are troubling nationwide, one Port Huron woman is doing something about it here at home.
Tammy Jae, Port Huron author, CEO of One Faith Publishing, and leader of Books 4 Life. (Photo courtesy of Tammy Jae)
Tammy Jae is an author from Port Huron seeking to address these concerns in the community. For the past six years, Jae has been CEO of One Faith Publishing
. But that’s not all. Tammy Jae also serves as a mentor and life coach, heads a women’s empowerment group called Sisterhood, and runs Books 4 Life, a youth-oriented literacy program. Books 4 Life seeks to empower and encourage young people to become authors, as well as help them with literacy issues such as reading and vocabulary skills.
Jae wrote her first book, “10 Steps Closer To God,” 11 years ago. Since that time, Jae has published seven of her own books
. She’s also published the works of more than 100 other authors, all of them African American except for one.
“Throughout school I always had a passion for reading and writing. I was always writing poetry, journals, and short stories. I started writing my own personal stories and experiences, and one of my books is actually a compilation of one of my journals,” Jae says. “My desire then led to me wanting to help others due to the difficulty of traditional publishing outlets taking on new authors.”
Jae has toured the country as a successful and accomplished author, having been invited to speaking engagements as well as other events involving literacy and education. One of the most recent events she was invited to was the read-in event at St. Clair County Community College, where she served as guest speaker and featured author. The event, held Monday, Feb. 21, was a celebration of the National African American Read-In, created in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English.
“I was interviewed and was able to read one of my poems; it was a wonderful time hearing all of the readings and stories,” she says. “What I did notice is that none of the authors were from the Port Huron area, which shows why my program Books 4 Life is needed in the community: to give the younger generation inspiration to want to become writers, and to know that it is an achievable goal. Representation is a key part of that. If children see people who look like them in positions they are not typically associated with, it will encourage interest and awareness.”
Visit One Faith Publishing on Facebook to learn more about Tammy Jae’s work in the community and works on the bookshelf.