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Lindy Boggs' legacy lives on at Loyola

August 2, 2013

The Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy at Loyola University New Orleans pays tribute to the late Lindy Boggs, who died July 27 at her home in Chevy Chase, Md. Boggs, longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, women’s rights advocate and former ambassador to the Vatican, helped establish the center to support another cause important to her—adult literacy in New Orleans and nationwide.

“Lindy Boggs was a great visionary and champion for literacy in the greater New Orleans area. Consistent with Loyola University’s core Jesuit value, ‘to think critically and act justly,’ she was instrumental in bringing to fruition the plan of Loyola University and the resident leadership of public housing, to create a center that addressed the problem of low literacy in New Orleans,” said Petrice Sams-Abiodun, Ph.D., director of the Boggs Center.

The Boggs Center opened in October 1999 in Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library. Established by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the center promotes adult literacy by serving as a local community catalyst for research, hosting professional development opportunities, and serving as a clearinghouse for providers nationwide operating in the nexus of adult literacy, racism and poverty.

The center also fosters service-learning opportunities for Loyola students and faculty. In fact, students in Loyola’s honors program are helping adult learners successfully finish their GEDs thanks to a $7,000 adult literacy grant from Dollar General. The grant was awarded to the Boggs Center in June to provide tutors to adults who did not pass parts of the GED.

The Boggs Center also honored more than 100 local fathers this Father’s Day for overcoming challenges in order to contribute not only to their families, but also to thousands of young men in the city desperately needing a role model. At the same time, the center also released two new reports: “Our Fathers, Our Future: A Portrait of Black Fathers in New Orleans” and “Recognizing the Underutilized Economic Potential of Black Men in New Orleans.” The reports describe the familial success, educational attainment and economic progress of black men as critical to increasing the Crescent City’s overall economy and decreasing its high crime rates.

“Today, 14 years after the establishment of the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy here at Loyola University, we are still promoting her legacy to ensure that New Orleans becomes a more literate city and that marginalized persons use literacy as a vehicle for personal, economic and community empowerment,” Sams-Abiodun said. “She will be missed, but her legacy continues in our work for greater access and equity for all, especially for the poor.”

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