The very long and challenging presidential campaign is over, and Donald Trump is the President elect. This campaign was long, bitter, and expensive. Unfortunately, the very nature of the campaign from the beginning left little time for important issues like adult literacy to be addressed, or even raised.
ProLiteracy, in cooperation with the National Coalition for Literacy, tried to raise awareness of the adult literacy issue with our Presidential Survey and with contacts within the campaigns. While high-profile topics like immigration did get some attention, once again adult literacy was not seriously addressed by any candidate.
Now that the election is over, the opportunity and challenge for us is the same as it was before it began. We will continue to promote our issue and work as aggressively and clearly as possible with the new administration and with Congress.
Given the new administration and Congress, we will need to seek new partnerships and relationships with the incoming staff and elected officials. We will need to build on our long history of collaborating across political spectrums to benefit our students. The strong history of leveraging local resources of volunteers and funding, with federal and state support, will be an important element in this relationship building.
We will also need to be sensitive and supportive of students from all backgrounds who may feel afraid and threatened with a new political environment. Staff and volunteers have always been an important source of counsel and assurance for students, and it will be increasingly important to be sensitive to these needs in the coming months.
Our challenge at the national, state, and local levels will be to continue our efforts to raise the awareness of this issue and to ensure our place in a new administration and Congress. President-elect Trump has suggested he wants to be a “President of all the people.” We will want to ensure that he and the new administration see our programs and students as a vital part of that population.
At ProLiteracy we plan to do our part to help promote our issue with the folks in Washington and around the country. While we have some work to do establishing new relationships, we can look at this as an opportunity to build new networks that can support our work.