L.I. Language Advocates Coalition Annual Conference Friday Nov. 18



 “Many Languages, One Community: Working for a Justice System that Protects and Serves All”


The Long Island Language Advocates Coalition  (LILAC) will hold its fifth annual conference, “Many Languages, One Community: Working for a Justice System that Serves and  Protects All,”, on Friday, November 18th at  Our Lady of the Miraculous Church, 1434 Straight Path in Wyandanch. The conference will bring together advocates, service providers, law enforcement and a variety of community members who are concerned about removing language barriers and improving accessibility to courts, police and other services for people who are limited English proficient (LEP). This population may include some immigrants, people who are Deaf, as well as others with sensory disabilities.  The goals of the conference are to:

  • Reflect on the challenges faced by LEP community members when dealing with the local justice system
  • Learn what steps are being taken by local law enforcement, courts and advocates to remove communication barriers and to guard against discrimination
  • Inform community members about their right to language access and the resources available to them
  • Inform service providers about their responsibilities to improve their programs and services
  • Foster a dialogue between police, the immigrant community and all who are concerned about language access

The conference will include workshops about domestic violence, the school to prison pipeline and other topics. Representatives from Long Island police departments will discuss actions they have taken to make their departments more accessible to the community. The Nassau County Office of Immigrant Affairs will provide information about how to protect against immigration scams . The Office of the NY State Attorney General will also provide legal information about language access rights and responsibilities.

“This conference is especially relevant at a time when many community members are feeling concerned about the impact the new administration may have upon their civil liberties,” said Cheryl Keshner, LILAC coordinator and senior paralegal with the Empire Justice Center. “It is important that we strengthen the partnerships we have formed and continue to work together to protect and uphold those rights.” Martha Maffei, Executive Director of SEPA Mujer, a Latina immigrant rights organization, stated, “Language Access is crucial for our immigrant community members whether participating in the education of their children, seeking services, accessing the justice system, or trying to report a crime. We need to protect and serve the more vulnerable people who experience communication barriers.”

Registration is $20 in advance and $30 at the door and includes breakfast and lunch. Interpretation will be available in Spanish and Haitian Creole. Doors open at 8 a.m. To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/many-languages-one-community-working-for-a-justice-system-that-protects-and-serves-all-tickets-28672475145. For more information, you may call 631-650-2306.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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