FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
March 18, 2015
Contact: Andy Kang
ADVANCING JUSTICE | CHICAGO PLEASED WITH CITY’S FIRST STEPS ON LANGUAGE ACCESS
But, the City Council still has considerable work to do
CHICAGO – Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is pleased with the ordinance introduced by members of the Chicago City Council, designed to improve access to city services for limited-English proficient immigrants, including Asian Americans.
The ordinance requires some city agencies to form language access plans and release compliance reports yearly. The languages covered in the ordinance are Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, and Polish. However, Advancing Justice | Chicago Legal Director Andy Kang notes that there is still considerable work to be done in order to provide true access to non-English speakers.
“The ordinance as proposed still does not apply to Chicago Public Schools, or emergency services such as the Chicago Police and Fire Departments, and we know that education and public safety are two top priorities for our community,” said Kang. “We will continue to advocate for a means of public recourse for agencies that do not provide adequate language access, and reviewing language access plans as they are developed by city agencies.”
“The City Council has shown that even in a budget crisis, you can prioritize language access,” continued Kang. “Across the state of Illinois, over 1.1 million residents are limited-English proficient, and the Illinois General Assembly can take the lead on ensuring all residents can access basic state services.”
Advancing Justice | Chicago has prioritized improving language access for immigrant communities, as 30 percent of Asian Americans living in the Chicago metro area are limited-English proficient. In the past, Advancing Justice has advocated for increased language access in voting rights, domestic violence courts, and healthcare services.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Chicago is the leading pan-Asian, multi-issue organization in the Midwest dedicated to empowering the Asian American community through advocacy by utilizing education, research, and coalition-building. Established in 1992, Advancing Justice—Chicago (formerly the Asian American Institute) was founded by a group of visionary Chicago community activists, academicians, and business leaders in response to the growing need to build a pan-Asian policy agenda among Chicago’s diverse Asian American communities. Advancing Justice-Chicago projects a united voice on the most pressing issues of concern to Asian Americans in metropolitan Chicago.
Advancing Justice—Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is a member of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice national affiliation, with partner affiliates in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.