Language Justice

Wayside Family,

From the beginning, Wayside has been about long haul organizing and movement- building. The founding crew came together over eight years ago in a common vision of caring for a beautiful rural space where community members build relationships, strengthen skills, share power, get organized, and transform consciousness. Since then Wayside has hosted over a thousand people—organizers, interpreters, youth, lovers and seekers of justice. Staff has supported, fought, and won campaigns to end racism and xenophobic policy and attitudes in schools and communities. Educators and organizers have worked with individuals and organizations to deepen thought and action. They have done the daily community organizing to fight oppression, economic exploitation, and the separating of families. Wayside has offered space to organizers and hard working people for respite, reflection, and the celebration of love. Staff has created space where youth can be fully themselves and think critically about their schools. Wayside has connected people across language, class, race, culture, gender and sexuality to confront state violence. So much of this work has happened in streets, in people’s houses, and the place that is Wayside.

About a year ago, Wayside fully established itself as a non-profit and elected a new Board of bold leaders. The Board began to take on some big questions: What and who is Wayside? Where do we work and how do we work? What are our core values and principles? How do we get to liberation together? What is the role of organizing and education in local communities and at Wayside? What is the role of Wayside as a place in this current political moment? Grappling with these questions while running an organization was and is not easy. One thing that did become clear during this process was the need to move on owning Wayside and claim it as movement home for now and for time to come. The land and house are core resources we will need in the coming years as state repression increases. Our movements are determined to resist and nurture new leadership and will need spaces to think, dream, transform and simply be together.

Due to the generosity of a long time donor and supporter, Wayside has been able to lease the land and house at no cost outside general maintenance and taxes. The intention has always been for Wayside to purchase the land and the house. After much thought and deliberation the board has decided the time to move forward on a permanent movement-building space is now. In the short-term, this means a strategic shift in focus from on the ground organizing and programming to raising the funds needed to purchase Wayside outright. Wayside will temporarily suspend all programming and organizing until we have reached our goal of purchasing the land. This is a very difficult decision but one we believe can solidify Wayside as a home for radical organizing and education.

What’s Next?

In the coming months Wayside will begin a fundraising campaign to purchase the land and will engage in a strategic planning process for how to most effectively offer Wayside to movements and communities. As we focus on fundraising our board will also build a strong political, organizing, and educational strategy to implement after the land is purchased. If you or your organization is interested in renting Wayside please feel free to contact us (! We will be in touch about how you can support and engage Wayside during this time. We are excited to embark on this new effort with you.

In deep gratitude and with much love,

Wayside Board of Directors


The voice of the South is changing. What would our movement look like, how much more power could we have if we began communicating well across language? At the center of Wayside’s work is education and building relationships across class, gender, immigration status, sexuality, language, and race. Our language work lies at the center of this commitment: to connect people at the base who often are not engaged in meaningful dialogue around shared struggles. 

The voice of the South is changing. Among the non-English speaking communities currently living in the Southeast and Appalachia are people that speak primarily Spanish, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Mien, Khmer, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Sudanese, and Croatian. In this multilingual and –cultural environment communication between diverse communities is of utmost importance for successful movement building. What kind of immigrants’ rights movement in the South – and interdependently the nation – could be built if these communities could come together to share their experiences as immigrants, strategize to make their voices heard, and organize for better living conditions? Further, what impact would it have to bring these voices into the struggles for economic, racial, environmental, and gender justice, which oftentimes are predominantly white and English speaking? Without dismantling language barriers, the likelihood of these possibilities is nil. To believe that movement is about people coming together to work toward a common goal is to understand that it cannot happen if folks can’t talk to one another.

Language is power. Language can determine whether a person or a community has access to—or is shut out from—decision-making processes and persons, resources, information, and services. This happens vertically when folks have to interact with hospitals, law enforcement, social services, etc. It also happens horizontally in movement spaces where English is centered as the language of the movement and non-English speakers are routinely linguistically – and sometimes literally – marginalized and segregated.

The goal of Language Justice work is relatively straightforward: language access as the great equalizer. It promotes autonomy and self-determination by making sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that all of the transmitted information is relayed. It creates linguistically democratic spaces where no one language is privileged so that people can meet as equals regardless of their primary language. It teaches that interpretation is not in the service of the non-English speakers but rather for everyone that does not share a common language.

Core to creating these spaces are skilled interpreters with an understanding of language as a tool of power and the role of the interpreter in relation to this power dynamic. As part of its commitment to Language Justice, Wayside holds biannual Interpreting for Social Justice workshops. For three days, multilingual activists from throughout the South gather to learn about linguistic power dynamics, the role of the interpreter, how to create equitable multilingual spaces and to practice their interpreter skills.

In addition to the interpreter workshop, Wayside offers other opportunities for organizations and communities who want to learn about or build their multilingual capacity. These opportunities include consultation, equipment rental, and contracted workshops. For more information, check out Interpretation Services and Training.

Connection, inclusion and solidarity versus isolation, exclusion and marginalization are all embedded in our ways of communicating. Working effectively across languages in our communities is an anti-oppression process, bridging cultures and languages as equals. In building the skills of interpreters in our own communities, we own our own means of communication. How we communicate should be as important as what we communicate.

(Alice Johnson -Summary of Top Five Reasons for Multilingual Work in the Movement, Highlander)

What would our movement look like, how much more power could we have if we began communicating well across language? At the center of Wayside’s work is education and building relationships across class, gender, immigration status, sexuality, language, and race. Our language work embodies this commitment: to connect people at the base who often are not engaged in meaningful dialogue around shared struggles.

The interpreting for social just workshop is for bi- or multilingual social justice activists and workers who would like to learn more about interpreting in a social justice context. This workshop grows a cadre of skilled social justice interpreters in the Southeast and Appalachia who can empower immigrant communities by providing language accessibility to promote social justice. This workshop is highly experiential and focuses in on interpreter role and ethics, use of interpreting equipment, differences and similarities in social justice interpreting and the Impact of language barriers in social justice movement building.

In order for us to grow the connected movement for justice we need for structural change in this world, we need to be able to talk to one another, even if we don’t speak the same language. This workshop works from the abundance of culture and language to establish an analysis that prioritizes voice through prioritizing interpreting—good, skilled interpreting—in community and social action spaces and events. To fully benefit from the workshop, participants need to speak at least two languages at a conversational level. Wayside offers this workshop twice a year, in the spring and fall. Please visit our website periodically for future dates or contact us to be put on a notification list.

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“Everyone gets to talk, everyone gets to listen, no one is left out.”

That’s what one participant at a recent Interpreting for Social Justice workshop replied when asked why language access – and by extension, interpreters – are important. That idea of access for all is one of the foundational principles of Wayside’s Language Justice Program. The Language Justice Program endeavors to create communication access by eliminating language barriers. Wayside’s Language Justice team has a split-focus approach to this work: both the technical (e.g. equipment, skilled interpreters) and the political (an analysis of interpreting through a social justice lens).

Services: As part of our commitment to dismantling linguistic barriers, Wayside offers the following fee-based services. All services are subject to availability. To request any of the following services, please contact us.

Equipment: Wayside has a 30-piece set Williams Sound interpreting equipment. Set includes 2 multi-channel transmitters with microphones and 30 multichannel receivers with earpieces. Renters sign a rental agreement and are responsible for pick-up/drop-off. Units will come with batteries; renters are responsible for replacement batteries.

Language Access Coordination (Interpretation): Wayside can coordinate the interpreting for multilingual events. Services include any combo of setting up the space, providing the interpretation, recruiting interpreters, distribution and collection of equipment. Please note that Wayside’s set of equipment contains 30 units. For events that require more than 30 units, the contracting party is responsible for obtaining equipment. Wayside works with a network of skilled interpreters throughout the Southeast and DC area, as well as newer interpreters building their skills through practice. Interpretation coordination for events should ideally be requested at the very beginning of the planning process. Language access strategies work best when they are implemented throughout the planning for an event. A minimum of four weeks is necessary for interpretation/coordination requests.

Training/Consultation: Wayside can help build your community’s/organization’s multilingual capacity through consultations and trainings. Consultation’s can include organizational audits, staff development sessions, and Language Access 101 workshops. These 2-8 hours sessions can be customized to your audience and schedule. Requests for consultations require a 3 week minimum advance notice. Interpreting for Social Justice trainings are multi-day popular education based workshops that cover both the mechanics and the politics of interpreting. Participants use their own real-life interpreting experiences to develop an analysis of interpreting through a social justice lens. These workshops can be held at Wayside (3-day) or we can do a leaner version in your community (2-day). Request for workshops require a minimum 4 week advance notice.

Fee Schedule

Equipment: Requesting party is responsible for picking up/dropping off the equipment at a designated locale or for shipping it via ground service. Requesting party signs a rental agreement that outlines the inventory; it also stipulates that requesting party is responsible for replacing any lost, stolen, or damaged equipment. Cost of equipment rental is $100.00 per day for non-profits and $150 per day for for-profit organizations. Note: any use of the equipment whether for two hours or an entire day constitutes a day’s use.

Interpreter Workshop: Fee negotiated on a per incident basis. Determining factors include: size and type of organization, nature of the organization’s work, organizational budget, and availability of a co-facilitator. For 2 day workshops in your community, organization is responsible for all travel/lodging costs. For 3 day workshops at Wayside, normal rental rates apply for food and lodging.

Consultation: Organizational consultations and staff development trainings are contracted on a per hour basis depending on organizational budget. Interpretation: For contracts that involve coordination (recruitment and scheduling of interpreters), there will be a coordination/organizational fee in addition to the interpreters’ compensation and equipment rental where applicable. Wayside language coordinator can arrange interpretation to the extent that it is needed to meet your meeting’s language needs. Individual interpreters will bill your organization depending on their hourly rate (rates for interpreters may vary between $30-75 p/hr). Overall rates and organizational considerations vary depending on the size of your event, number of languages, and duration of event. For all questions or estimates please contact us. Where funds are an issue please feel free to make this known by the organizers and coordinators. We are willing to work with your organization in helping you create events and meetings that are accessible.

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