This year NLAW will be January 27th- February 1st, 2014.
Throughout its history, SCALE has supported the activist initiatives of campus-based literacy programs across the country. NLAW is a SCALE initiative for strengthening literacy activism.
National Literacy Action Week (NLAW) will take place January 27th-February 1st, 2014. During this week, campus literacy programs nationwide join together to raise awareness about literacy and create change on their campuses and in their communities.
Why college students? What impact can we really have?
On February 1, 1960, four black college freshmen in Greensboro, North Carolina sat at the counter of a local Woolworth store and ordered coffee and pie. They were refused service (blacks were allowed to eat only at lunch counters designated for “coloreds”). The students stayed, occupying the seats until closing. The next day they returned with 26 other students. Their action sparked college protests across the South, bringing students into the civil rights movement in dramatic numbers. Later that year, 120 student sit-in leaders from across the South gathered at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, and formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC became one of the most effective and creative components of the civil rights movement. (Co/Motion Guide to Youth-Led Social Change)
Many students have asked the question, “Why would people out in the ‘real world’ listen to the voices, actions and opinions of college students?” Perhaps the only sensible response to this question is, “Well, why not?” In a democratic society, people have the rights and responsibility (regardless of their age or other identity) to share information and perspectives that can make that society better. College students have good ideas and important things to say. The world needs students to share those good ideas! Students have also asked: “What power do we have? Will people listen to us?” History has shown that students are powerful. And people will listen.
In fact, college students have always been at the forefront of movements for social change. Students were integral to the success of the Civil Rights Movement, as they organized campuses and participated in Freedom Rides, sit-ins and marches. College students also helped lead the anti-war movement against U.S. military engagement in Vietnam. In the 1980ís, students worked to raise national awareness about hunger and homelessness. Currently, students are leading international movements against child labor, sweatshops, and world-wide deregulation of trade (also known as globalization). Clearly, college students have made an impact, and continue to change the world even today.
Participating in advocacy, activism and awareness-raising is transformative for students. Engaging in these types of community work is an empowering experience. Students develop higher-level leadership and critical thinking skills, and develop a fuller sense of their place in the world. College students who become involved in advocacy, activism and awareness-raising forever strengthen their sense of citizenship and personal power.