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What is Language and Communications Access and why is it important?

February 8, 2019

Neighborhood Services

Published by:

Neighborhood Services

In 2016, Mayor Martin J. Walsh signed a City ordinance called “Establishing Language and Communications Access for City Services.” We are excited to share with you the progress that’s been made in this monthly article series. We hope you will support us in making Boston a more accessible place to live, work, and play.

Language and Communications Access is an important part of Mayor Walsh’s vision for a more inclusive and equitable city. It joins other priority initiatives under the Mayor’s leadership such as Imagine Boston 2030, the Mayor’s Resilience Strategy, Age Friendly Boston, and Climate Ready Boston. Together, these citywide efforts aim to make Boston a better and more liveable city for all.

What exactly is Language and Communications Access (LCA)? LCA is an accessibility plan that makes it easier for people to interact with the City. It can take many forms. Interpretation and translation services help those who need to communicate in another language besides English. Assistive technology provides a layer of support for any communications-related need for users of other languages or people with a disability. Some people may use their own assistive technology devices such as hearing aids and text-to-speech software. The City of Boston can further support access through technology such as Communications Access Real-Time (CART), assistive listening devices, and live interpretation equipment.

LCA is an important measure to have in place for several reasons. First, everyone has a right to access City services and benefits. Part of the City’s responsibility is to actively remove barriers that would make it difficult for people to do so. We are here to help improve people’s livelihoods.  Whether someone wants to join a new community, report an emergency, or start their own business, the process should be fair and accessible to everyone regardless of age, ability, or languages used.

LCA is also important because it meets people where they are. Thoughtful accessibility planning promotes a message of inclusivity and empowerment. People are able to engage with their leaders and representatives without fear of discrimination. They may feel more connected to their communities because they feel like they belong. Under Mayor Walsh’s leadership, the City of Boston wants to recognize diversity and celebrate and promote those differences. This is what makes Boston so great. We hope you think so, too.

The Language and Communication Access program works to strengthen the City of Boston so that services, programs, and activities are meaningfully accessible to all constituents. To learn more, visit the Language and Communication Access website.