MAPC Thanks Governor Healey for Signing Executive Order to Improve Language Access
September 15, 2023 - The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) would like to thank Governor Healey for signing the executive order for Language Access. MAPC wholeheartedly supports this implementation of necessary Language Access measures and services and urges that the Legislature this session pass the Act Relative to Language Access and Inclusion to foster long-term, sustainable implementation of language services for all Mass. residents. We know that Language Access goes beyond providing adequate translation and interpretation services: we need funding to support staff in procuring culturally sensitive interpretation and translation services; we need to provide communications in plain language; we need to incorporate disability access into our communications tools and our services; and we need to provide training and support to staff so that they can adapt to the varying needs of each individual constituent they reach. Most importantly, we need to be developing these services with the direct input and participation of those most impacted by language needs, including speakers of languages other than English and people with disabilities.
MAPC is ready to continue to work with communities that are looking to establish or strengthen their language access work. Our Community Engagement team launched a Language Access initiative in 2022, which has grown into a network of Language Access Practitioners representing 19 communities (and growing) and several language access service providers, advocates, and community-based organizations. We are committed to supporting our municipal partners with their evolving journeys of language access and setting sustainable policy, funding and structures to move beyond accessibility to long term, culturally relevant, meaningful multilingual inclusion to Massachusetts. With the continuous and ever-changing needs of our communities, we can’t expect staff to adapt without the resources, policies, and training in place to support them in meeting those needs. Investment in Language Access through policy, resources, and staffing is necessary for constituents to succeed, thrive, and actively participate in their communities.
'We’re excited to see this executive order signed, and hope that it lays the foundation for continued Language Access services in the State. Language Access is fundamental for an equitable and resilient Massachusetts that meets the needs of every resident,' said Language Access co-leads Najee Nunnally and Sasha Parodi. 'We look forward to working with our region to support the establishment and expansion of culturally relevant, adaptive, and comprehensive Language Access practices. The better we can communicate with each other, the stronger we can work together to build the just, accessible future we know the people in our Commonwealth deserve"
Senior Communications Specialist