May 072011

Imagine not being able to read a thing, not even a road sign
“If you cannot read and write then you are always afraid,” my friend and award-winning Australian Indigenous author, Tara June Winch, once wrote to me over email. “To not be literate – not just practically, but socially, emotionally, economically, to not be able to engage or navigate your world – you are compacted. You are diminished. You are afraid. Literacy stays forever. People are stronger for it. It gives people life and hope to help themselves.”

Tara’s words have stayed with me since I first read them a year ago.

It’s the power of books. Of reading. Of being able to write your name, read a contract, a textbook, a manual, a medicine bottle, a street sign, a warning. We take it for granted. Well, I know I do.

At times I forget that despite the fact we are a developed nation, a number of our own communities are on fire. Particularly our Indigenous communities. =>