The Long Island Wins Show: Why Long Island Needs a Language Access Policy

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On our most recent episode of The Long Island Wins Show on OWWR Old Westbury Web Radio (owwrny.org), Long Island Wins’ Online Editor, Christian Bonawandt, is joined in the studio by Executive Director Maryann Sinclair Slutsky and on the phone by Cheryl Keshner, a paralegal at the Empire Justice Center, to talk about the importance of language access policies to Long Island’s communities.

Keshner is also the head of the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition (LILAC), a collective of individuals and organizations based on Long Island working to attain equal access to public programs and services for limited English proficient immigrants as well as the visually and hearing impaired and others who have special communication needs.

According to Keshner, language access to federally funded programs is guaranteed to all residents of the United States under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Keshner discusses with us what language access policies are, and how they benefit our communities. One example that we discussed was immigrants’ interaction with police and the importance of having access to translation services in their own native language when reporting a crime or having been a victim of a crime. Accurate information through an interpreter aids the police in solving crimes and better protecting the community.

Nassau and Suffolk County have made some strides to comply with the language access needs of Long Island’s immigrants, Keshner said, but there are still many gaps.

The Long Island Wins Show broadcasts every Thursday at 12 p.m. from the OWWR studio on the SUNY College at Old Westbury campus (owwrny.org). Tune in on April 2 at 12 p.m. to hear more about immigration on Long Island and how it affects you and your community. Be sure to reach out to us and let us know if you would like to be a guest or would like to hear about a specific immigration topic.

Listen to our entire conversation below.


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