During the budget deliberations last week, Madison’s Common Council approved the addition of three new community connector positions within the Department of Civil Rights to begin in 2022.

These positions will provide translation, interpretation, and community outreach services for Madison’s top three non-English languages – Spanish, Hmong, and Chinese (Mandarin). While the positions will be a part of the Department of Civil Rights, they are expected to be trusted sources spending much of their time working throughout the Madison community. I was happy to break a tie to make sure these positions were added to the budget.

These new positions are based on recommendations from the City of Madison’s Language Access Plan, and by the Language Access Plan Steering Committee, Neighborhood Resource Teams, Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative team members, and the Latinx Community Engagement Team. The three community connectors will support the need for translation and interpreting in each primary language. The Department of Civil Rights will continue to offer language access services for all languages through existing contracted services.

The bilingual and bicultural community connectors will primarily: 1) monitor and administer language access needs/services and 2) connect and engage residents with City programs, services, and resources in their primary language. This community connector model offers a transformative rather than transactional approach to language access. Through one-on-one resident engagement, community connectors will elevate underrepresented voices, use culturally relevant and affirming communication practices, and seek to build trust between community members and city government. The 2022 budget approved an April 11th start date for the three community connectors.

This initiative will help Madison better serve all of our residents, I’m happy to support it, and am looking forward to getting these positions filled and getting the community connectors out in the community.


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Category: Equity