A number of Monroe County’s Legislators have proposed the passage of a Language Access bill which would fund one full-time position dedicated to coordinating language access services. This position would focus on ensuring access to communications including those related to COVID-19 and any other emergency situations. In addition to emergency and public safety information, the coordinator would work with all other county services ensuring a full language access plan for those in the Limited English Proficient (LEP) community and for those in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community consists of individuals who benefit greatly from sign language for visual access. This bill will ensure that these specific communities receive critical information in a communicative mode that they can understand and follow. This bill will also prevent further gaps in information and guidance regarding COVID-19 and county services.
Interpreting services are provided by CDR to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Monroe County. The new Language Access position would further strengthen ties between Monroe County and our interpreting services, and would ensure that full communication access is always considered by continuing to provide interpretation to those who need it. For this reason CDR fully supports this legislation.
Brooke Erickson is the Assistant Director of Deaf Services at CDR.