The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others have shocked and outraged people around the world. Sadly, these are just three names among thousands. At Read Muskegon, our board and staff stand united in condemning the systemic racism that allowed these killings to occur and that has silenced the voices of so many.
Literacy has long been used as a method of social control and oppression. Anti-literacy laws were put in place in the early 1800’s specifically making it illegal to teach slaves to read. Why were they so concerned about slaves learning to read? Because with this skill, slaves could access information through newspapers and books. They could understand their rights and organize against oppression. Slave owners wanted to keep their slaves uneducated because they understood that literacy represents power. Today, the lingering impact of these laws still surges through our black communities as they struggle disproportionately with illiteracy.
At Read Muskegon, our commitment is to ensure that every single person in Muskegon County has the opportunity to learn to read to the very best of their ability. That commitment has never stopped. But, in light of where we find our country today, it is more important than ever that we work side by side with our community partners to make sure that literacy is never a barrier but rather a powerful means to an impactful life. We will continue to use our platform, our knowledge, and our resources to be part of the solution to addressing systemic racism.