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Language Justice

Language Justice


We Make the Road by Talking!

Immigration is changing the face of the southeast and the country. Among the non-English communities currently living in the region are people that speak primarily Spanish, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Mien, Khmer, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, and Sudanese. Language is at the core of people and their cultures and is the vehicle for t people to share their ideas, strengths and dreams for a better world. In order to build broader movements for justice, it is important to create multilingual spaces where language is used democratically and as a tool of empowerment, so that people can communicate, learn and strategize together.

Because Highlander Center provides a space for people to talk with each other and learn from each other, language is a crucial barrier. Multilingual spaces require both good interpreting and translating skills, as well as wider commitment from groups to support these spaces. Over the last 20 years, Highlander has provided multilingual spaces at Highlander as well as providing training, mentoring and support for groups and events across the country. With Highlander’s support and others, the United States Social Forum in 2007 was one of the first movement events in the United States to provide interpretation on a large scale.

Highlander’s current focus includes:

  • Providing trainings, an interpreter training curriculum and other materials to expand the number of language justice interpreters.
  • Interpreting for Social Justice: An Introductory Curriculum
  • Supporting groups to build this capacity through sharing interpretation equipment, mentoring groups, providing contacts for interpreters, as well as providing multilingual spaces at Highlander workshops
  • Developing an interactive web site to share ideas and materials –
  • In 2012, Highlander contributed to a Language Justice Learning Circle with the Praxis Project, Colectivo Flatlander, Center for Participatory Change and Berkeley Media Studies Group. This was an exciting next step for building language justice providing spaces for for both interpreters and organizations from across the country across a broad spectrum of language groups, to learn more about how to integrate language into their work, with a focus on interpretation, translation, communication and organizational commitments.

For more information, contact: Susan Williams, 865-933-3443 ext. 229