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Taye Diggs '93 and Shane Evans '92 to promote youth literacy, self-esteem at Say Yes to Education community event Nov. 13

November 10, 2011

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

On Sunday, Nov. 13, television, film and stage actor—and now author—Taye Diggs '93, a drama alumnus of Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), along with illustration alumnus Shane W. Evans '92 will join the Syracuse community in promoting literacy, education and just being yourself. 

As collaborators for the children's book "Chocolate Me!" (Feiwel & Friends, 2011), Diggs and Evans will host a book signing, reading and Q-and-A for Syracuse children at the Greater Evangelical Church (4325 S. Salina St., Syracuse) at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public and is sponsored by Say Yes to Education, VPA, SU's Office of Alumni Relations, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) and the Syracuse City School District (SCSD). Participating in the event will be Say Yes to Education Executive Director Rachael Gazdick, IMA President Kenneth Reed and community faith-based leaders. 

"Chocolate Me," which Diggs wrote and Evans illustrated, carries an important message for children who may feel a little different from their peers. "Chocolate Me!" encourages kids to "appreciate their differences and celebrate them with a healthy sense of self-esteem." 

At the event, Diggs will read "Chocolate Me!" and Evans will accompany on the guitar. 

In "Chocolate Me!" a young boy is teased for looking different. His skin is darker, his hair is curlier, his nose is bigger than everyone else's. The boy is chocolate. He tells his mother that he wishes he looked like the other kids. She teaches him to appreciate his differences. According to the book: "Chocolate is sweet. Chocolate is smooth. Chocolate is beautiful and delicious. Chocolate is—Me!"

"Taye and I want to share with our children that no matter what your obstacles in life, the sweet inside will prevail," says Evans, Diggs' longtime best friend and an NAACP Image Award winner.

Evans is the illustrator of numerous award-winning books for children, including "Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson," and "Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter," winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. 

Diggs is an actor whose credits include the motion pictures "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Chicago"; stage performances in "Rent" and "Wicked"; and a current television role in ABC's "Private Practice."  

"Chocolate Me!" will be available for purchase at the event. The event is also part of SU's Orange Central 2011, taking place Nov.10-13 on the SU campus. Orange Central includes reunions, special events and Homecoming, all rolled into one exciting weekend. 

For more information, contact Vincent Cobb at Say Yes to Education at (315) 807-8635, or Syracuse University's Office Alumni Relations/Orange Central at 1-800-SUALUMS (782-5867).

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