The City Council of Spokane, Washington, voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 2022-0071. The resolution creates a policy to establish a language access plan to ensure that limited-English-proficiency (LEP) residents have access to the city’s services, information, civic processes, and interpreting and translation services.
“Language access is a critical component of equal access to local government,” said Council Member Michael Cathcart, who co-sponsored the resolution with Council Member Betsy Wilkerson. “Effective communication and engagement allow residents to feel comfortable talking to local government staff across all departments and elected officials. This resolution opens the door for greater engagement with our entire community.”
According to a 2020 five-year community survey, 16,732 Spokane residents speak a language other than English. The Spokane Public School District stated that 80 languages are spoken in its public schools.
Through the resolution, the Office of Civil Rights, Equity, and Inclusion is encouraged to convene representatives from key departments to evaluate a proposed language access program and determine how to advance its implementation.
“Implementing the Language Access Program is critical, as the number of Spokane residents speaking a language other than English has grown by 9% since 2010,” said Wilkerson. “The data shows us the need and that access to city programs and services is a fundamental right to residents.”
“Immigrants and refugees continue to contribute to our city’s prosperity,” said City Council Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Manager Alex Gibilisco. “Establishing a language access program for the city allows residents to fully engage without language becoming a barrier to their success in our community.”
Read Full Article from Spokane City (08/02/22)
Author: Gardner, Lisa
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