The Women in Literacy and Life Assembly (WILLA), one of the oldest and most respected assemblies in NCTE, has a long history of social justice activism, gender equity, and protecting and empowering oppressed communities. Since 1989, the assembly has awarded the Rewey Belle Inglis Award to outstanding women in English Education and for their professional service relating to the role and image of women in the profession and in NCTE. It is the work and beliefs of these outstanding women which has driven the mission of WILLA for the last 26 years.In the last several years, the assembly has changed in terms of active membership and community involvement in assembly sponsored events. The executive board found WILLA was succeeding more within social media, our blog, and online journal. The members of the executive board realized that the assembly’s original mission needed to extend its boundaries to be more inclusive to a broader community.
It was a difficult decision for the executive board given the assembly’s history and the mission of its founding leaders. The executive board took the words of Socrates to heart, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” and decided with the voting members of WILLA’s community to change the name of the assembly to GALA, a more inclusive term— Gender and Literacy Assembly.
Our mission and beliefs are still rooted in the lives of the leaders that helped create the assembly some 26 years ago; we will continue to improve the teaching of English language arts by focusing attention on gender-related issues in literacy teaching and learning, including the status and the image of women and girls, men and boys; to advise the profession at large on issues relating to the role and images of women; and to foster the exchange of ideas and perspectives among people interested in gender issues
feature image via: duskblackwolf