FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA HOSTS LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY CONFERENCE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division R. Alexander Acosta today hosted a national conference and training session at the Department of Justice that showcased innovative strategies used by federal, state, and local agencies-as well as private service providers-for providing services to individuals with limited English skills. Federal law requires programs to be accessible to “limited English proficient” or “LEP” individuals. Today’s conference offered leaders in the field the opportunity to exchange methodologies and to study more efficient and effective means of communication.
Other featured Department of Justice speakers included Brian Boyle, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General; Carl Peed, Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; and Mark Epley, Chief of Staff to the Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs.
In opening the conference, Assistant Attorney General Acosta announced the publication of a new LEP guidance document, “Executive Order 13166 Limited English Proficiency Resource Document: Tips and Tools from the Field.” The document provides lessons from the experiences of law enforcement, 911 call centers, domestic violence service providers, as well as court and Department of Justice personnel in providing meaningful language and access to LEP individuals. Representatives from several of the organizations featured in the document served on panels during the conference. A new inter-agency “Know Your Rights” brochure was also released and will be made available in nine languages.
A new LEP video entitled “Breaking Down the Language Barrier: Translating Limited English Proficiency Policy into Practice” was also released at the conference. The video, produced jointly by the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will serve as a training tool to educate recipients of federal financial assistance of their obligation to take reasonable steps to provide LEP individuals with the language assistance necessary to participate in the recipient’s programs and activities. The video will soon be available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, with subtitles in Chinese and Korean. Ramon Rodriguez, host of “Hispanics Today,” narrated the video in English and Spanish and introduced it at the conference.
The document and brochures being released at the conference are available on <http://www.lep.gov>. In addition, individuals or organizations interested in receiving a copy of the LEP guidance document, the brochure, or the LEP video should contact the Civil Rights Division’s Coordination and Review Section at (202) 307-2222, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>.