The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. Micaela Campbell is a UNC junior and volunteer with Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education through the Campus Y.
For the past 30 years, the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE) has championed literacy as a tool for individual transformation and as a vehicle for social justice.
In the fall of 1989, two UNC undergraduate tutors, Lisa Madry and Clay Thorp, joined forces to mobilize and support college students who wanted to address the literacy needs of this country, viewing literacy as a social justice issue. Fueled by the belief that young people could have an impact on literacy, become leaders on their campuses and raise awareness of literacy as a social justice issue, Clay and Lisa founded SCALE.
As Chapel Hill’s academic achievement gap persists, with 70 percent of Black students falling below the college readiness standard, conversations about literacy and educational equity are crucial. At SCALE, we believe literacy is a fundamental human right, extending literacy beyond just reading and writing to also include critical thinking and action.
Increasing literacy skills helps learners achieve their goals and empowers them to be more effective advocates for both themselves and their communities. As a result, literacy is a tool for personal and social transformation and a vehicle for social justice. We promote a participatory, learner-centered approach to literacy in which the power in the program and in the classroom is shared with learners, volunteers and community members. Shared decision making – about lesson content, choice of reading materials or program evaluation – makes our outreach more relevant to individual and community literacy needs.