OUR COMMITMENT TO MULTILINGUAL ACCESS
The National Planning Committee of the USSF recognizes that multilingual capacity building (such as translation and interpretation) is an organizing issue. The task of accommodating the multiple languages within our movement is not simply a logistical question - communication between diverse groups is of utmost importance for successful movement building.
In order to truly enable everyone's full participation and draw from everyone's wealth of knowledge and experiences, we must address the multiple and often invisible ways that language can perpetuate and aggravate differences in gender, race/ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, class, age, and ability.
Multilingual capacity building facilitates communication, but it also strengthens the leadership of our communities by promoting the centrality of all the languages we speak and the wisdom and knowledge that is communicated therein. In building our multilingual capacity, we create multilingual spaces where language is used democratically and as a tool of empowerment. We also strengthen cross-cultural alliances by providing the tools and resources necessary for bridging communication across language. To achieve a truly multilingual movement for social justice, we must transform the power of language so that it can no longer divide us but rather will unite us and make us stronger.
While we are committed to continue to strengthen our multilingual capacity over time, we also want to acknowledge the limitations of our current capacity.
The National Planning Committee has committed to support three languages at the US Social Forum: Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL) and English. This does not mean, however, that the entire Social Forum will be interpreted into all three languages. The opening march, the opening and closing ceremonies, the morning openings, the plenaries, and the People’s Movement Assembly - conducted primarily in English - will be interpreted into Spanish and ASL. The Language Access Team of the USSF will provide Spanish interpretation for approximately 10% of the self-organized workshops. In addition, a number of workshops are being held in Spanish or interpreted into Spanish by the workshop organizers themselves. ASL interpretation will be coordinated with the help of the Deaf & Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights. Logistical details are below.
We recognize that there are many other languages present in our movements for social justice and that our limited multilingual capacity makes it difficult for people who speak other languages to participate. We also recognize that organizations that are bringing non-English speaking delegations are carrying the weight of making the US Social Forum accessible to their members.