Language is powerful. Es un vehiculo de comunicacion, de conexion social, de la creacion colectiva de sabiduria y conocimiento. Language is a tool for sharing, creating, and connecting with each other, across differences of experience and identity. Language is also a tool of domination and colonization. The U.S. is a multilingual nation in a multilingual world, but many communities in the U.S. are marginalized by the dominance of English and the assumption that English should be dominant.
So what do we mean by language access?
We mean creating spaces in which multiple languages are spoken and celebrated. We mean stretching our imaginations beyond the limitations of our own languages to learn from the complex meanings of unfamiliar words. We mean honoring the creativity that happens when languages mix with each other, because languages are fluid and human expression is infinite.
Because our work has focused in recent years within Latinx communities, we primarily operate in two languages: Spanish and English. We strive to communicate bilingually at our events and activities, on our website and social media, and in our relationships. Our work grows out of Spanish and English because our community is multilingual. Wichita is home to speakers of many unique languages, and we welcome opportunities to expand our linguistic breadth.
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.