Literacy for All of Monterey Park (LAMP)
Working with Pitzer College’s Community Engagement Center and funded by the Weingart Foundation, Professor Kathleen S. Yep initiated a partnership with Literacy for All of Monterey Park (LAMP) starting fall 2009. LAMP was founded in 1984 with funding by the California State Library and through the efforts Michael Eng. LAMP is an adult and family literacy program that furnishes language classes, computer classes, citizenship classes, and individual tutoring.LAMP is an adult and family literacy program that furnishes language classes, computer classes, citizenship classes, and individual tutoring. Located in Monterey Park’s public library, sixty-eight percent of LAMP’s client-base for naturalization self-identify as Asian and second-language learners. As of March 31, 2010, LAMP has helped 1,000 adults become United States citizens and 7,251 children and adults improve their reading and writing skills.
Monterey Park, a small suburban community east of downtown Los Angeles and in the heart of San Gabriel Valley, was transformed after the 1965 National Origins Act. (Li, 2011). Asians in Monterey Park grew from less than ten percent in 1960 to almost two-thirds of the population in 2010. The sharp changes in the city’s population resulted in volatile backlash towards changing demographics and divisive municipal politics around English-only as the official language of the city, as discussed by Horton and Calderon (1995). Currently, one out of three Monterey Park citizens are Asian and seventy-six percent of the city’s population speak a language other than English at home (U.S. Census, 2013). Los Angeles has the second largest concentration of Asians in the United States with close to half a million.
Claremont College students provide LAMP students citizenship coaching, covering aspects of the citizenship exam ranging from history and government facts of America to dictation of specific English sentences and mock interviews. In addition, the Claremont College students offer English-As-A-Second-Language tutoring. Lastly, college students take Asian American Studies classes alongside LAMP students that involve social autobiography and other forms of critical pedagogies. Co-taught with artist/educator/activist Traci Kato-Kiriyama, a spring 2011 combined class created poetry, an anthology, and a web site. http://asamvoices.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/hello-world/ The college students and LAMP learners distributed over 60 free copies of their anthology and gave a reading at a public presentation with over 100 people in attendance.
Want to get involved? Faculty and students are encouraged to engage with LAMP, including finding new ways to work with our community partner, the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library.
Questions? Contact the IDAAS Community Engagement Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org