New American Media:  D.C. Language Law Breaks New Ground—But Lacks Teeth

06/25/2012

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By Archana Pyati
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WASHINGTON, D.C.--Mangamana Kao made multiple trips last year to the District of Columbia’s public benefits office to get the medical assistance and food stamps he could rightfully receive as a legal immigrant from Togo. On each visit, he made a simple request that was always –and illegally--denied: He asked for a interpreter who could translate into French, his primary language in Togo.

Kao, 42, felt frustrated during these exchanges with government employees, yet he never understood that D.C. officials were breaking the law until he met a language-access advocate last summer at a Togolese social event. She told him about his rights under the Language Access Act, signed into law by then-Mayor Anthony Williams in 2004. 

“That’s when I realized that when you don’t know your rights, you are being mistreated,” Kao said in an interview. 

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Democracy in Translation

05/31/2012

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From the Greenlining Institute:

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate took a major step toward involving the 6.9 million Californians who don’t speak English very well in the ballot initiative system today, passing SB 1233 by a vote of 24 to 14, with two abstentions. The bill would require the state to translate ballot initiative materials being circulated for signature-gathering into widely-spoken languages.

“This bill is an important step to protect the rights of all of California’s voters by providing election materials in different languages,” said bill author Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). “By failing to provide language appropriate petitions, thousands of voters have been and continue to be left out of the process of determining which initiatives qualify for the ballot. It is imperative that we provide initiative material in all the languages covered by the 1965 Federal Voting Rights Act,” said Senator Padilla.

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Mary’s Center and Green Door Partner to Improve Access to Integrated Care for Psychiatric Patients

05/30/2012

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Mary’s Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center with over 24 years of experience serving the DC metropolitan area, and Green Door, the second-largest community mental health service provider in the District of Columbia, are pleased to announce a unique partnership to improve access to long-term care for psychiatric patients in the District of Columbia.

Effective May 31, 2012, Mary’s Center will assume responsibility for the operation of Green Door’s psychiatric clinic in the Georgia Ave-Petworth neighborhood of Northwest DC. With this partnership, Mary’s Center aims to increase access to a full range of psychiatric services while continuing to provide the quality of care for which Green Door has been known since 1976. Together, Mary’s Center and Green Door will continue to proactively address the growing comprehensive healthcare needs of our community.

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A new study reveals that interpretation for patients can lessen the time they spend in hospitals, ultimately lessening provider and patient costs. Read the Reuters article here.
 

Report on language access on WFDC TV

04/27/2012

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Coverage of Access Denied: The Unfulfilled Promise of the DC Language Access Act 
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Greetings from the Future

03/14/2012

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Will technology completely eliminate language barriers in the future?
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Legal Access Victory

02/03/2012

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The Legal Aid Society of DC, a member of the DC Language Access Coalition, recently obtained a victory under the DC Language Access Act of 2004. The Office of Human Rights ruled in favor or Legal Aid's client, who was repeatedly denied interpretation and translation services by the DC Child Support and Services Division. Congratulations to all who have worked to uphold language access!

Language Access Victory for Legal Aid Client in English

 Victoria de Acceso Lingüístico para Cliente de La Sociedad de Asistencia Legal
Translation by Raquel Aguirre 
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