Nancy on the Language Justice Workshop
I attended the Interpreting for Social Justice Workshop about a month ago and it was a great experience. I had never heard of any of the things they were talking about, for example the organizations Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and Latin American Youth Center (LAYC). It was very interesting to learn about the things all of these organizations do and how they work so hard to meet their goals.?
It was all very new to me, especially the idea of Social Justice.??I was very excited to attend the workshop because I was going to be starting an interpreter course in Harrisonburg, VA. So, this was going to help me out in the future. It turned out to be a lot more than I thought.?
I thought that we would learn some vocabulary words and practice some translating and interpreting. It turned out to be Interpreting more in depth, learning how our actions are affecting the people
around us and our community.?
around us and our community.?
We broke up into small groups to talk about interpreting scenarios that interpreters are often faced with when interpreting and we had to try and find the best way to solve these problems without getting involved in the problem. One of the main things I learned was to be confident, speak in first person, and to find a good position in the room to be able to let the patient and doctor speak directly to each other. Letting the patients speak directly to each other was probably the most important lesson for me because it shows that you are there as an interpreter and your role is to break that language barrier that prevent these two people from communicating with each other.??
We discussed that by interpreting were not communicating people of higher positions with the middle class person or the poor person. The Interpreter is the equalizer in the room and both of these people are in the same level when they are able to speak to each other this way and when both can speak out and be heard.?
I would like to see more accessibility to Interpreting in my community, because I feel like there is always a need to have them to help the Hispanic community be heard, because we aren?t.??We stand in the shadows of these powerful white people who make the decisions on their behalf and don?t care to look and ask us for our opinion.
Dominique on Breaking Barriers, Building Power
Perhaps it is a bold statement, to say that the deconstruction of barriers is at first a call of the heart, and at last a challenge to the systems which uphold these barriers.??Compelled by audacity to build on our collective strength and actualize this challenge, we strive to define ourselves.??We strive to bound across every last breach.
Those imprisoned within walls–both physical and illusory–those who have been crossed by borders, those fenced in by social convention, those with their backs to the wall, we all build on points of unity to overcome our oppression.??What is our personal carrying capacity for boundaries???Where is the brink of self-identity???Looking from the banks of the river which separates us, waiting for the tide which unites us, we stand at the head of a long line which came before us, of which we may have known only our mothers and fathers.?
As a “citizen” of the United States, as a benefactor of Patriarchy, of hetero-normativity, of economic dominance, it is my responsibility to understand my privilege, and to join in the alliance of those whom social hierarchy have pitted me against.??I am coming to terms with the reality of understanding my experience.??To know where I am going, I must first reconcile from whence I have come?
In an age of ever-advanced systems of living, in a nation which boasts the highest standards of living in the world, there exists an unmoved multitude which is either denied, or remains ignorant of certain possibilities which others are privy to.??
Across the world there exists a rift between classes, manifesting at nearly every crossroads of society, be it born of a racial stigma, an economic disadvantage, or another, more complex form of alienation.??The one that I am here to share is the part of this thoroughly unequal equation that I come from.??I am from that section of the population who grew up in a fervor, and who are now coming of age, without ever having gained a means of coping with, or transcending, certain occlusive social boundaries.??
Though the world around us has bombarded us with promises of power?equal rights in the eyes of the law; the right to a fair and quality education; and the ability to achieve the most bright of futures?at some point approaching adulthood, our heads, swollen with these ideas, came crashing against the ceiling of our actual possibilities.??
Thusly stunned, and equally disillusioned, we began dreaming in that common dark which we share with the meekest of people the world over.??It was at that moment that our dreams dissolved, replaced by the bleak acceptance of this future, and at that moment that collectively, we resolved to recover that which we?ve been promised.??This is the outline of our projects.??To break barriers, to build power.
People often ask me, and I have asked others, and wondered myself: Is another world possible???Well, the world itself?the human world, too, of politic, of economy, of institution?is in a perpetual state of renewal, an ongoing revolution.??If we are given a true opportunity to examine these cycles, and make fundamental changes to the way that we think, act, and relate to ourselves, each other, and the world, then the capacity for change ought to be as infinite as the number of revolutions that we are allowing to slide by every second.?
To transform the sanctity of our shared histories into true political power, we must continuously work to understand its advantages and come to terms with its shortcomings.??What vehicle can we possibly construct to ensure that our vision of a better world is never relegated to the realms of the esoteric, the intangible, the ever-receding horizon and the vanishing moment???I dream that one day these barriers will act as a bridge between our experiences.?