Check out our latest adventures in "Accent," the official MLOV magazine! You can download it or read it online via issuu.
By Archana Pyati
Read the original article here
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.
Coverage (in Spanish) from WFDC about the report about the state of language access in DC, as detailed in Access Denied: The Unfulfilled Promise of the DC Language Access Act.
The cherry blossoms may have faded, but April is still our favorite time of the year: It's Language Access Month!
On Thursday, April 26th, join us for two great events celebrating the eighth anniversary of the passage of the DC Language Access Act, which guarantees all DC residents the right to interpretation and translation services.
At 9:30am, the American University Washington College of Law's Immigration Justice Clinic is releasing the findings of a report about language access. The support was developed along with the DC Language Access Coalition - which MLOV hosts and is a member of. The Coalition is hosting a community event at 6pm that evening, further discussing the findings of the report and sharing firsthand testimonies from community members, advocates, and government representatives.
Read on for more!