New Pilot Designed to Improve Access to Services
Language justice refers to everyone’s right to communicate in the language they feel most comfortable. Without appropriate resources and accommodations, we risk marginalizing individuals based on their national origin, ethnic identification, and language. In certain scenarios, we risk their health and safety when information is misinterpreted. We hope to enhance existing community resources with a framework of justice that respects peoples' fundamental rights to understand and be understood in the language they feel most articulate and powerful.
It is important to note that meaningful access to services, including language access, is protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as other federal, state, and local laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Federal agencies and programs receiving federal funding are required to develop systems to improve access to their programs and services for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). LEP is defined as those “whose primary language for communication is not English” and who have “a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.”
United Way of Lancaster County and Communication Essentials, LLC are partnering to support local efforts to advance language access and equity. The Lancaster Language Justice Initiative is a pilot program sponsored in part by the Walters/Unitarian Universalist Church Trust, an endowment from Arthur and Selma Walters to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster in support of events that affirm the worth and dignity of all humans and that strive to increase the awareness of and respect for our environment.
Free Technical Assistance Available
A limited number of organizations will receive training/technical assistance, translation, and/or interpretation services valued at up to $5,000.00 at no cost.
We invite Lancaster-based non-for-profit organizations and governmental agencies to apply to receive grant-funded technical assistance to assess their language access plan and help establish accessibility procedures and best practices. For example, these funds can help organizations identify their language needs and/or prioritize their documents for translation and long-term use. We can also help identify board, staff, and community volunteers that could potentially serve as internal interpreters/translators and cultural advisors. These services aim to support organizations' efforts to meet their legal and ethical obligations to provide equitable access to their services.
The application deadline for the pilot was 1/21/22. However, if you are interested in this opportunity, please let us know by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.