Position Announcement and June Newsletter
Position Announcement and June Newsletter
Readers Are Leaders

The pandemic, protests, and the impact on literacy

 Comments from Executive Director Cindy Threlkeld

I attended a candlelight vigil last Saturday evening at Pack Square that began with a Story Circle. The mostly white crowd listened quietly as young protesters described their experience of being Black in Asheville and their hopes, expectations, and demands for a more equitable future. Two hand-made signs captured my attention: “White Silence is Violence” and “Racism is the Pandemic”.

The wave of protests and expression of rage at the murder of George Floyd and the legacy of racism it represents has now spread across the globe. The protests are a necessary awakening, but they will eventually quiet down. Will this time be different? Will we continue with the hard work required to create a more equitable world?

The Literacy Council intends to do its part. Access to literacy is a social justice issue. Along with race, literacy is a primary determinant of health, employment, and income level. For reasons too complex to briefly describe, people of color are disproportionately represented among those who struggle with low literacy. People of color are also at greater risk for COVID19.

In the wake of the pandemic, our programs in Adult and Youth Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages will be challenged in new ways. We will need to address the growing disparity among those who struggle with low literacy to help them adjust to distance learning, when many are without access to the internet and/or without basic digital literacy skills.

We are working hard to be able to meet the challenge.  Here is how:

- We will resume tutor training, with most of it online for now. It’s not just a matter of putting what we have done in the past online. We also must create curricula for tutors to use with their students in ways that are accessible and easy to implement. No small task!

- We will hire a half-time outreach and communications coordinator to help us recruit more tutors, with an emphasis on reaching out to diverse communities (see separate announcement).

- We will continue the Social Justice Workshops facilitated by the Rainbow Institute that were underway prior to the shutdown. They were initially offered to Board, staff, and Literacy Council tutors, but could be opened up and extended to more people, if interested. 

Toward the end of the newsletter, there is a list of resources and ideas for personal actions you can take to join us in creating a more equitable and just community. It is essential that we maintain hope for the future. Listening to the young Black leaders at the vigil and seeing the mostly young white faces in the crowd restored that hope in me.

New Outreach and Communications position available at Literacy Council

The Literacy Council is seeking an experienced and passionate candidate to serve as the Outreach and Communications Director. This half-time position is responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive plan to increase the visibility of the Literacy Council in the community. The primary focus of this position is the recruitment and orientation of volunteer tutors. Required qualifications include:

- Proficiency with social media; graphic design software  such as Canva; and email services like Emma or Mail Chimp
- Knowledge of online marketing and advertising techniques
- Self-starter, strong networking skills
- Proficiency in Google Suite
- Experience with distance learning platforms and online presentations
Full position description and information on how to apply can be found on our website.


A huge thank-you to each of you for your votes and dedication to our cause. Because of you, we will be able to better our organization, outreach, and impact with this grant, and we are so very grateful!
Check out this Mountain Express article covering the giveaway.
We are considering renaming the Literacy Council in addition to rebranding with this wonderful grant. We would love to hear your opinion on new names through this poll

Racism, white privilege 

and what it all means

Recognizing and understanding racism, and actively unlearning the everyday, built-in mechanisms of systemic racism is an ongoing effort that must be made by every single one of us. It can be difficult to navigate issues, origins, and solutions surrounding systemic racism, especially with so many different angles portrayed by the media. 
There are countless truthful resources to help us find our way to social justice and equity. Here are just a few educational resources and ways to help our Black communities:
Educational reading:
The above photo has an excellent list of books!
Follow Black activists and voices on social media! Please reach out to us if you'd like suggestions on whom to follow.

Parsec Prize 2020 Winner!

We are excited to announce we are one of 15 Parsec Prize winners for 2020! Thank you so much Parsec Financial for your dedication to our communities and for supporting literacy! Read more about Parsec Prize and Parsec Financial.

Dollar General Adult Literacy Grant

We would like to thank Dollar General for their continued support for our Adult Literacy program. They are an incredibly important element in funding our program and we can't thank them enough. So thank you Dollar General for another year of your support! 
Read more about their grant program here.

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