Today the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) announces two important Community Forums that will focus on the needs of residents of the District of Columbia with limited or no-English proficiency (LEP/NEP).
About Language Access
The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) leads the citywide implementation of the Language Access Act of 2004 (Act), which was enacted to provide greater access and participation in public services, programs, and activities for LEP/NEP residents of the District of Columbia. The Program was designed to support, guide, and oversee the 34 agencies’ compliance with the Act. The Language Access Program works in consultation with a variety of government offices that conduct outreach to communities, as well as with the DC Language Access Coalition (“Coalition”) — an alliance of diverse community-based organizations written by name into the law — to ensure that LEP/NEP residents are represented, exercising their legal rights, and receiving services in their language. Government partners include the Mayor’s constituency offices on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA), Latino Affairs (OLA) and African Affairs (OAA).
The 2011 Community Forums
OHR, in partnership with the OAA, OAPIA, OLA, and a variety of CBOs, are hosting two public language access forums for the LEP/NEP community. The purpose of the language access forums is to facilitate a multisector dialogue between key stakeholders on issues of employment and health & human services. The hope is that by creating an appropriate space to discuss the various issues facing the LEP/NEP community when they access these services, the forums will generate new ideas, solutions, and recommendations that can be used to affect policy and increase access to services. Live interpretation services will be provided for participants of both forums.
This forum will be held Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School located at 1100 Harvard St, NW, Washington, DC. The forum, free and open to the public, will bring together staff from community based organizations, DC Government, and LEP/NEP community members for a facilitated dialogue on issues of employment. The forum will consist of three breakout sessions focused on language rights and employment services, self-employment, and eligibility for employment services and benefits.
Health & Human Services Forum (Health Fair)
This Forum will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2011 from 1 to 5 pm at the Columbia Heights Community Center located at 1480 Girard Street, NW, Washington, DC. This forum is divided up into 2 parts: dialogue and health fair. The dialogue’s structure and target population are the same as the employment forum. The breakout sessions will focus on public benefits eligibility, service delivery to LEP/NEP, and quality of health benefits and allied services. In addition, the forum will also involve a health fair where community members can receive a variety of health screenings, information about health services, and health education. This forum is also free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Gabriel Rojo, Office of Human Rights Language Access Program Director, at (202) 727-3942 or email Gabriel.Rojo@dc.gov.