2010 Right to Literacy

Right to Literacy Attendee

Written by Paula Miller, San Bernardino Public Library Literacy Coordinator

Recently, the Jack L. Hill Literacy Center celebrated the "Declaration for the Right to Literacy." This was a National movement started at the Right to Literacy Convention on June 13, 2009 in Buffalo, New York. A Literacy Scroll was drafted in Buffalo to bring focus to the problem of illiteracy in the United States. The Scroll traveled all around the United States garnering signatures from political figures, literacy advocates and people of all ages.

The Preamble to the Declaration for the Right to Literacy is: "It is a truth held evident by our United States Declaration of Independence: that all men [and women] are created equal, and thus shall have the opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. To preserve these rights, we, residents of the United States of America, designate "literacy" as the foundation of such principles and organize our powers to enable every person to affect that ideal. In that pursuit, we acknowledge and agree, as we did in Seneca Falls in 1848 and again 100 years later as part of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, that education shall be guaranteed for all members of the human family-men, women and children. The realization of this vision requires that all residents, regardless of age or status, be able to read and write in order to participate fully and equitably in our democracy."

The Library, with the sponsorship of the San Bernardino City Library Foundation, hosted and was able to add 400 signatures to the historical Literacy Scroll. The San Bernardino Public Library was honored as the only Southern California stop for the scroll on its way to Washington D.C. The celebration was spread over several days. On Wednesday, July 28th the Library hosted an in-house mural event in preparation of the arrival of the literacy scroll. Murals were designed by artist and literacy advocate Phil Yeh and painted with the assistance of the Library's Literacy Center students. The following Saturday the Library hosted an "Authors in Support of Literacy" and offered the general public its first opportunity to sign the literacy scroll. However, the "main event" took place on Tuesday, August 3rd beginning with an Open House in the Jack L. Hill Literacy Center. It was followed by an evening of delightful presentations from local education and literacy advocates such as John Weeks, Phil Yeh and a special guest appearance by Miss Dorothy Inghram. The evening was highlighted with the stories of two adult learners who courageously shared their struggles with reading and how coming to the Library's Literacy Center had changed their lives for the better. Following these special guest speakers, a reception was held to thank everyone for their contribution to the success of "The Right to Literacy" - San Bernardino.

Pictured top left: SBCL Foundation Director J. Willard Monninger adds his signature to the literacy scroll.

Phil Yeh

Phil Yeh gestures to the scroll's final destination on one of the murals he designed for the event.

Educational pioneer Miss Dorothy Inghram reflects upon the importance of literacy with her audience.

Miss Dorothy

Cindy Ludvigsen & Maureen Godfrey

SBCL Foundation's Vice President, Cindy Ludvigsen and Immediate Past President, Maureen Godfrey offer information regarding the Foundation to the community.