Asian American Community Leaders Celebrate Passage of Language Equity and Access Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 23, 2024
CONTACT: Grace Pai –

Asian American Community Leaders to Celebrate Passage of Language Equity and Access Act
New bill expands language access to state services for Illinois’ immigrant communities

CHICAGO (May 23, 2024) – After two years of organizing, the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition applauds the Illinois state legislature for passing the Language Equity and Access Act (SB3762) on Thursday.

The bill’s passage comes after a rally at the Capitol during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month where 300 Asian American community members urged legislators to support language justice for all.

The bill ensures that the nearly one million individuals in Illinois who rely on a language other than English can access vital state services regarding health, public aid, small businesses and more. In the Asian American community, nearly 80 percent of adults speak a language other than English at home, and roughly one in three prefer to communicate in their native tongue. The Language Equity and Access Act requires state agencies to create language access plans and provide translation and interpretation in more than a dozen languages. It also designates the Governor’s Office of New Americans to support agencies in creating and implementing their language access plans. The bill now awaits Governor Pritzker’s signature.

“Immigrant communities who were hit hard by COVID-19 struggled to get the services they needed because of language barriers,” said Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Executive Director Grace Pai. “The Language Equity and Access Act will save lives and ensure that Illinois’ growing immigrant community is able to thrive.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity.

PAVE Coalition Members: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), Apna Ghar, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chinese American Service League, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago, Hamdard Health Alliance, HANA Center, Hanul Family Alliance, Indo-American Center, Japanese American Citizens League – Chicago, Japanese American Service Committee, Lao American Organization of Elgin, Muslim Civic Coalition, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute, Vietnamese Association of Illinois