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Mayor Launches Campaign to Improve Language Access Awareness

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Administered by OHR, the campaign consists of “I speak cards” in six different languages disseminated in neighborhoods with a high concentration of immigrants and limited English residents.

Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty launched a public awareness and education campaign geared toward improving communication between District government departments and people who have limited or no understanding of the English language. The campaign is part of the District government’s efforts to comply with the DC Language Access Act.  Passed unanimously by the Council in 2004, the goal is to provide equal access to and full participation of government services, programs and activities by the limited English population residing in the nation’s capital. Administered by the Office of Human Rights, the campaign will raise the level of awareness and understanding regarding the rights of people affected by this legislation.

“Every resident in the District of Columbia has a right to high quality customer service,” said Fenty.  “All constituents are welcome and encouraged to seek out the District Government, regardless of the language they speak.”

The campaign consists of “I speak cards” in six different languages, which will be disseminated throughout DC neighborhoods, primarily those with a high concentration of immigrants and limited English residents. The cards explain the basic rights of people when seeking information or services at a DC government facility regardless of their primary language. Thousands of “I speak cards” will be distributed during the upcoming months, and they also contain information on how to file a complaint with the Office of Human Rights if people believe a violation of the Language Access Act has occurred.

The Office of Human Rights partnered with the Offices of Latino Affairs, Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, African Affairs, the DC Language Access Coalition, and other community groups within the non-English speaking communities.

Select the link below to access the "I speak cards.: