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Media Advisory: OHR to Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of Language Access Act

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Media Advisory: OHR to Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of Language Access Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 10, 2014

CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy & Communications: 202.481.3773, elliot.imse@dc.gov

WHAT/WHO:

On Tuesday, April 15, the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Language Access Act and the contributions of immigrants to the District at “The Road to a Global DC: 10 Years of Language Access & Immigrant Inclusion.” The event will feature the release of a report by the Urban Institute, which provides an overview of the implementation of the Language Access Act within the context of the unique demographic and economic characteristics of the District’s immigrant community. The report findings will be followed by an address by Mayor Vincent C. Gray, a panel discussion on immigrant inclusion, and a reception. 

WHEN:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm (program begins at 5 pm)

WHERE:

Carnegie Library at Mt Vernon Square
801 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20010

BACKGROUND: 

After a late wave of international migration to the District and many decades of advocacy within community groups, DC became the fourth local jurisdiction to pass landmark legislation around immigrant inclusion in 2004. The DC Language Access Act of 2004 created the Language Access Program that is housed within OHR and is tasked with ensuring all people can access government services regardless of their English language proficiency. Over the last ten years, the Program has successfully supported District government agencies in providing equitable services and access for immigrant communities, positioning the District as a national example for best practices in equal access and inclusion. In an effort to guide the District into the next decade of increased inclusion of diverse communities, OHR commissioned the Urban Institute to provide an overview of the District's progress in language access over the last ten years and to offer recommendations on how to improve language access. Local government officials, researchers, community advocates and members are expected to attend, as well as the national collaborative Welcoming America. The District of Columbia became a “Welcoming City” with the collaborative earlier this month. Mayor Vincent C. Gray will speak at the event.

More information and an RSVP form are available at: http://roadtoglobaldc.eventbrite.com.

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About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights

The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.

About the Language Access Program

The Language Access (LA) Program exists to ensure District residents who are limited or non-English proficient are afforded equal access to information and services provided by the District. Residents who speak little English must be offered interpretation services and/or translated documents when obtaining government services, as required by the Language Access Act of 2004. The LA Program staff engage in extensive community outreach, provide training and technical support to District agencies, and measure the effectiveness of agencies in serving those who speak little or no English.