News & Events

Language Access Budget Campaign

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition


Language Access Budget Campaign

Next week, the Massachusetts State Senate is debating and voting on its version of the Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget!  It’s up to us to make sure the final budget includes funding for our Commonwealth’s immigrants and refugees! The state budget is a values statement – it signals what the Commonwealth is prioritizing for the next fiscal year. This year, MIRA has been working hard to support two budget amendments having to do with language access. Both would build state and local capacity to provide equal access to state services and the ballot for all residents.

Amendment #139, Language Access Implementation, filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico, would provide $8 million to improve the capacity of our public-facing state agencies to meet the critical language access needs of our Commonwealth’s increasingly diverse population. Massachusetts is one of the most linguistically diverse states in the country with nearly one in ten residents considered limited English proficient. We must ensure that limited English-speaking residents have equal access to public health information, education, unemployment assistance, healthcare, housing, and other crucial services! Email your state representative and ask them to co-sponsor budget Amendment #139.

Amendment #143, the New American Voters Fund, also filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico, would provide for greater linguistic access to the ballot. Nineteen municipalities in Massachusetts are required by federal law to provide full bilingual access to voters, but they lack sufficient funds. This amendment would provide $4 million for municipalities & community-based organizations to improve language access at the polls. Email your state representative and ask them to cosponsor budget Amendment #153, the New American Voters Fund.

Both of these budget amendments are critical investments in language access that will allow our Commonwealth to better serve all of its residents. Please take a moment to send two emails to your state representatives, asking them to support Amendment #139, improving language access at State Agencies, and Amendment #47, improving language access at the polls. 

– Announcements –

  • Interested in helping serve refugees and immigrants? AmeriCorps New American Integration Program is recruiting up to 35 candidates for 2022-2023 service year. Please click here to apply.
  • Do you need assistance with U.S. Citizenship applications? Our Citizenship team is holding both in-person and virtual clinics on Friday, June 10 (in person-MIRA’s office in Boston).
  • Save the Date for MIRA’s annual event, Give Liberty a Hand, on Thursday, June 2, from 6-7pm.  Our guest MC will be Ruthzee Louijeune:
  • “Immigrants are the backbone of Boston. As a city that is majority people of color, we must embrace and include the diversity of backgrounds and experiences at every important decision-making table that we have.  Celebrating our immigrant communities means nothing if we are not also sharing power and making sure all voices and all accents are at the table.  As the proud daughter of working-class Haitian immigrants, I’ve seen this city otherize those who were not born here, and I’ve seen us give into xenophobia at our worst.  We must always rise above.  We must always be the home that welcomes the Somalis, the Irish, the Afghani, and so on.  We must remain at the forefront of local and national fights that seek to exclude migrants seeking refuge from hurt and harm.  We must always believe that Boston can be better, and we must make it so. Mesi anpil. “

– News-

CommonWealth | What finally put undocumented immigrant driver’s license bill in play?

Boston Globe | Illegal voting latest Baker license bill red herring

Slator | Language Access Improves Covid-19 Patient Outcomes at Massachusetts Hospital

– MIRA Member Spotlight –

Each week, we’ll be using this space to spotlight our outstanding MIRA members and the work they do for their communities. This week, we’re highlighting First Literacy!

In 1988, a consortium of public and private sector leaders established the Boston Adult Literacy Fund (BALF) to expand and improve Adult Basic Education (ABE) in Boston. Twenty years later, BALF became First Literacy. Today, their professional development workshops, program grants, and scholarships continue to work in concert to change the lives of adult learners throughout Massachusetts.

First Literacy envisions a world in which all adults are able to reach their full potential. They are committed to supporting the continuum of Adult Basic Education (ABE) by offering free professional development workshops for teachers, grants for innovative new programs, and scholarships to adults continuing to higher education or vocational training.

Thank You!

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