Title VI Civil Rights News @ FCS Summer 2015

Title VI Civil Rights News @ FCS Summer 2015


Dear Colleague,

This issue of the Title VI Newsletter commemorates the 15th anniversary of Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.  The Executive Order directs federal agencies to provide guidance to their recipients of federal financial assistance to ensure they provide meaningful access to limited English proficient (LEP) persons under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Executive Order also requires each federal agency to examine its services and activities, and develop and implement a system to provide LEP individuals with meaningful access.  The first article in this issue of the Newsletter, Fifteen Questions for the Fifteenth Anniversary of Executive Order 13166, puts forward a series of questions and answers about the Executive Order and what federal agencies are doing to implement it. 

In recognition of the Executive Order’s anniversary, we are publishing a number of resources to assist agencies and the public in their efforts to address the language needs of their communities.  We know that the first step in these efforts is to know the languages spoken in the communities that we serve.  We have developed an interactive “Map App,” allowing users to scan and download Census data on LEP populations from an interactive map.  The interactive maps provide data on the languages spoken by LEP populations at the state and county level for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  We also created a series of maps, located at www.lep.gov/maps, that provide both the number and percentage of LEP individuals in each region of the United States.  County and judicial district maps provide the top five languages spoken by LEP individuals within those jurisdictions in the form of detailed pie charts.  We hope that these resources will help funding recipients and federal partners as they develop their policies, plans, and protocols to provide language assistance. 

August also brings with it a stark reminder of the importance of preparedness in the face of an emergency or natural disaster.  Hurricane Katrina made landfall 10 years ago this week [assuming week of 8/24 release] and changed the tenor of emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.  Of the many lessons learned in the aftermath of Katrina’s devastation, we highlight in this issue Title VI’s crucial role in eradicating inequities based on race, color, and national origin before, during, and after emergencies and disasters.  The article, A Decade after Hurricane Katrina: Title VI Protections and Responsibilities in Emergencies and Disasters, examines the efforts that have been made and actions that can be taken to address disparities during disaster preparation, response, and recovery.  

Let’s continue to build on the progress have we made to ensure meaningful access to all communities.  I look forward to sharing additional guidance on Title VI compliance in emergency related activities this Fall.

Deeana Jang
Federal Coordination and Compliance Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice

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