UTEP student self-publishes debut book while running nonprofit

UTEP+student+Kierra+Lopez-Robinson%2C+organizational+and+corporate+communication+major%2C+self-published+her+debut+collection+of+poems%2C+%E2%80%9CDaughter+of+the+Sun%2C%E2%80%9D+on+Aug.+18+through+Amazon.+

Alberto Silva Fernandez

UTEP student Kierra Lopez-Robinson, organizational and corporate communication major, self-published her debut collection of poems, “Daughter of the Sun,” on Aug. 18 through Amazon.

Kristen Scheaffer, Contributor

UTEP student Kierra Lopez-Robinson, organizational and corporate communication major, self-published her debut collection of poems, “Daughter of the Sun,” Aug. 18 through Amazon. Lopez-Robinson was only 24 years old when her book was published. 

Lopez-Robinson started writing when she was in high school. She said that when she would journal her thoughts and feelings would just end up in poetry form. She eventually took a break from writing. It was one day that a friend discovered them and encouraged her to pursue publishing her work.   

“One day I was just sitting with my friend painting, and we swapped phones, and she went through my notes app and found all my poems and was like, ‘What are these doing just in your phone? Write a book,’” Lopez-Robinson said.  

Lopez-Robinson says she plans to continue writing, though she is debating whether her next book will be poetry or something like the books she works with in her nonprofit. 

Along with her published book, Lopez-Robinson also started her nonprofit, Readvolutionary, in June 2020.  

Her work centers on doing pop-ups around El Paso, providing books, mostly children’s though she does provide books for all age groups, that centers on topics related to social justice, gender, race, inclusivity and body autonomy. Her focus is providing easy access toward these books that many might consider banned. 

What drove her to start her nonprofit was the fuel from her anger towards the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the time. The nonprofit was her way of peaceful protesting. 

“That’s why I do my pop-ups, to try to ignite those conversations with parents and families in providing the resources for free,” Lopez-Robinson said. “I feel like it starts with having those conversations at home since the children aren’t going to be able to get them in the classroom.” 

Her goal is to do at least one pop-up a month, her usual spots are local coffee shops with Rally Point Coffee as one of her favorite locations.  

Her pop-ups consist of tabling with her library of books with a “Free Books” sign posted. Lopez-Robinson will occasionally walk around and speak with people, explaining what she is doing.  

“With Texas banning so many books right now, I would encourage everyone to have age-appropriate conversations with children,” Lopez-Robinson said. “And really the emphasis on age-appropriate because these are the topics of gender identity, sexuality and race even. Those are all things that they’re going through but they just don’t have the vocabulary to put the words to what they’re going through.” 

She hopes that in the future she can get a bus to do a bookmobile and eventually open a community center for classes and book clubs. Lopez-Robinson welcomes volunteers and says people can direct message her on Instagram @Readvolutionary, or on Facebook at Readvolutionary. 

Kristen Scheaffer is a contributor and can be reached at [email protected]