Hartford is in the grips of a persistent silent crisis of adult low literacy. For several sometimes- overlapping reasons 63 % of adults in Hartford have not gained strong literacy skills. Individuals struggling with low literacy face stigma and shame, difficulty navigating signage on city streets, following medical instructions, reading a job application or a ballot. That may leave them unable to find and keep a living wage job, open to scams and unequal access to opportunities.
Recognizing the crucial role of literacy in empowering individuals, promoting socioeconomic development, and fostering a thriving community, I’m outlining my commitment to increasing community-based adult literacy services in Hartford through a citywide literacy plan to ensure every individual facing this crisis has the means to acquire and improve their literacy skills.
Emphasize Cross Sector Collaboration - We recognize that addressing adult literacy requires a collective effort involving various stakeholders. We will prioritize cross sector collaboration by engaging government agencies, educational institutions, community organizations, businesses, and other relevant entities to create a network of support for adult literacy initiatives. This collaboration will enable the pooling of resources, expertise, and diverse perspectives to develop innovative solutions and implement effective literacy programs.
Stimulate new and expand existing programs – Leverage federal, state and city funding, and private sector dollars to grow initiatives. These ideas include but are not limited to:
Enlist Public Awareness and Action Campaigns - Creating a culture of literacy requires reducing the stigma of illiteracy, raising public awareness about the importance of adult literacy and its benefits for individuals, families, and communities. We will work with partners to design and implement targeted public awareness campaigns to mobilize support and engage the broader community. By leveraging the power of media, we can reach a wider audience and encourage
public discourse on the importance of adult literacy.
Launch the Mayor McCauley bilingual city challenge – Hartford is predominantly a Hispanic and Latino city. While we place great emphasis on literacy initiatives to assist individuals in learning English and enhancing their literacy skills, we also recognize the importance of native English speakers learning Spanish. Being fluent in multiple languages should be the standard in a city that embraces people from around the world. As part of our commitment to this bilingual challenge, I pledge to become conversationally fluent in Spanish within the next four years. Furthermore, I will commit resources and support for other native English speakers who want to embark on this language journey with me. Our goal is to establish Hartford as a thriving dual language city, an international city. Let's make Hartford a shining example of linguistic diversity and cultural unity.