Town of Chapel Hill advances language access in the community
Post Date:11/21/2019 4:20 PM
Did you know?
20 percent of Chapel Hill’s residents speak a language other than English at home
6 percent of our residents have limited ability to speak, understand, read, or write in English
We want our community to be a place where everyone can participate in Town services and have their voice heard in local decision making. Therefore, the Town Council approved the Town’s first-ever Language Access Plan on Wednesday, Nov. 13. (www.townofchapelhill.org/languageaccess)
Town staff will begin implementing the plan immediately.
“This Language Access Plan responds to the highest priority issue identified by immigrant and refugee residents in Chapel Hill,” said Sarah Viñas, assistant director of the Town’s Housing and Community. “This positions Chapel Hill to be a leader among NC local governments in language access.”
Some of the key Language Access Plan policies are:
Offering interpretation and translation services free of charge for Town services and programs.
Translating emergency communications and vital documents in the Town’s primary languages (Burmese, Karen, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish).
Educating Town staff about the diverse cultures represented in Chapel Hill and how to interact and serve residents who speak languages other than English.
The Town has free interpretation equipment for Town and community use. It’s already being used at Council and community engagement meetings, reducing barriers to participation in Town government.