The Louisiana Language Access Coalition promotes full and meaningful participation in public life, without barriers based on language, for all people.
Goals, Objectives and Strategies:
- Promote public policy on language access for limited English proficient (LEP) people.
- Increase capacity of public agencies and community organizations to serve LEP people.
- Promote responsive public services that are sensitive to the needs of LEP people.
- Promote an inclusionary environment for all people and direct engagement with LEP community.
Brief History & Accomplishments:
The Louisiana Language Access Coalition (LLAC) of New Orleans began as an organization formed as a response to many concerns identified at the Latino Forum of New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. The coalition was formed to bring together community members of the New Orleans Metro area from the Hispanic and Spanish speaking, Vietnamese and Vietnamese speaking and Brazilian and Portuguese speaking people to address language access issues in public policy, public agencies, community organizations, public services for the Limited English Proficient populations. LLAC has focused in the areas of health care, criminal and civil justice and education as these areas affect Limited English Proficient populations in service delivery and rights as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Louisiana Language Access Coalition was formally recognized by the New Orleans City Council in 2007 and has worked on the proposal and draft of City Act to address the three areas of concentration on the city and state level of government.
The coalition has also advocated in the creation of the Louisiana Supreme Court interpreter program to train and administer the quality and availability of court interpreters. LLAC has also incorporated recommendations to the New Orleans Police Department Consent Decree in cooperation with U.S. Department of Justice that is currently in implementation by the city.
Currently in the area of justice, the Louisiana Language Access Coalition is focusing specifically on a proposal to state legislation and provision that create standards and monitoring of interpreter services within the state court system. In Health, the LLAC has three current goals: (1) reimbursement for interpretation, translation and language appropriate services in health care settings; (2) the adoption of state standards and provision of language appropriate services in health care, including medical interpreter standards; and (3) increased awareness in the healthcare community about laws, resources and skills for providing language appropriate services to LEP individuals. In Education work continues with both RSD and charter school systems to raise awareness of the needs of LEP & ELL community. The LLAC continues to advocate for LEPs at the local, city and state governmental and regulatory levels.
Ex Officio Co-Chairs & Founding Members:
Karla Sikaffy duPlantier (Founding Member & President – Education)
Daesy Behrhorst (Founding Member – Health, Interpretation & Translation, Education)
Board of Directors 2020-2021
Kathleen Gasparian (Chair of BOD) Area: Justice
Eva Silvestre (Treasurer of BOD) Area: Health, LLAC Conference Committee Chair
Luz Molina (Secretary of BOD) Area: Justice, LLAC Governance Committee Chair
Samuel Buckley (BOD Member) Area: Health
Karina Castillo (BOD Member) Area: Education
Deborah Even (BOD Member) Area: Health
Claudia Medina (BOD Member) Area: Health
Idania Mejia (BOD Member) Area: Justice
Currin Wallis (BOD Member) Area: Education, LLAC Vision & Mission Committee
Michelle Warren (BOD Member) Area: Health
Ex Officio, Founding Members & Organizers:
In Memoriam: David Gallegos (Founding Member)
Rosa Herrin (Member – Health)
Samantha Euraque (Member – Health)
Shaula Lovera (Founding Member – Health)
Koki Otero (Member – Justice & Organizing)
Rebeca Zuniga-Hamlin (Member – Justice, Interpretation & Translation)
Veronica Barcelona (Member – Health & Organizing)
Eva Silvestre (Member – Health & Organizing)