From Language Access to Language Justice: Creating a Participatory Values Statement for Collective Action

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n this experience report, we describe the work of a coalition of community experts and academics who are collaborating to work towards language justice for communities who speak languages other than English in the Puget Sound region. To illustrate this effort, we describe our experience designing a customizable values statement through participatory design. This values statement can be modified and used in government agencies and organizations to help orient language access plans, programs, and processes towards language justice. We begin by defining language justice and describe how this orientation defines the coalition's overall goals. We then outline the participatory design methods we used to collaboratively iterate three versions of the values statement. First, we describe the workshop we conducted to collectively identify the barriers to language access in the region. Based on these critiques, we decided to design a values statement as a concrete deliverable that could work towards language justice via organizational change. To illustrate the process, we show the four iterations and describe four pivotal moments in the design process that led to significant revisions. These include the need to create a statement highlighting language justice instead of language access; the need to revise the values statement to be organizationally effective for its audience; the need to invite a disability expert to create an inclusive statement; and the need to draw attention to the intersectionality of oppression. Finally, we reflect the impact of the statement in the region and speculate about its future use.

Publication Title

SIGDOC '21: The 39th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication



Open Access Status

OA Journal

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