Language Access Month
OAPIA Celebrates Language Access Month
The Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs celebrates April as Language Access Month. On April 21, 2004, the District of Columbia enacted a fundamental piece of civil rights legislation - the DC Language Access Act of 2004. The goal of the act is to provide greater access to and participation in public services, programs and activities for residents of the District of Columbia with limited or no-English proficiency.
OAPIA has been involved with this aspect of language access since the spring of 2000 when Mayor Williams launched his Asian and Pacific Islander Initiative by engaging 17 D.C. agencies to provide meaningful and equal access of services to limited English proficient (LEP) residents. With the passage of the act, the Office of Human Rights was tasked with its implementation, and OAPIA became a consultative agency. Currently, OAPIA provides technical assistance to DC agencies in the areas of data collection, outreach, cultural competency trainings and bi-lingual hiring.
In celebration of this month, OAPIA will release a fact sheet on the percentage of LEPs within the top AAPI ethnic groups, launch a newsletter that provides resources on language access and AAPI issues, and host a cultural brown bag dialogue on the Korean American community. For more information about these and other language access related efforts by OAPIA, please visit OAPIA or contact Neel Saxena at firstname.lastname@example.org.