Why We Joined the Language Access Collaborative Team

Language Access Collaborative

Raleigh Team - Language Access Collaborative

Raleigh Team - Language Access Collaborative  (l-r: Omer Omer, Ellen Colón, Tierney Sneeringer, Jorge Gao, Luis Olivieri-Robert, Aracelys Torrez, Pete Weber, Jacob Barnhart)

The City of Raleigh Collaborative Team traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C. on January 27, 2023 for the Language Access Collaborative Kickoff Event. The kickoff summit was a full day of guest speakers, goal-setting, and guidance on what to expect from our journey together.  It featured keynote speakers from leaders in local government language access and collaborative activities where we engaged and met with the other teams. 

Teams of employees represented these local governments: Town of Apex, Buncombe County, City of Concord, City of High Point, New Hanover County, Town of Morrisville, City of Raleigh, City of Wilmington, and City of Winston-Salem. 

The Raleigh Collaborative team left Chapel Hill feeling extremely hopeful that the next year of Collaborative work through workshops and learning exchanges was going to prove fruitful in their plan to devise a Language Access Plan for the City of Raleigh. 

Here are some of the thoughts and statements gathered from the Raleigh Collaborative Team after attending the Language Access Summit: 


As a child, I served as translator and interpreter for my non-English speaking parents and recall the frustration and embarrassment they often challenged. This collaborative is close to my heart; I understand first-hand the difference it makes when there is an intentional action in place to remove barriers and create an equitable environment for all, and the relief our non-English speaking community members feel when they are able to communicate effectively. It is my goal and desire that every Raleigh resident feels included, represented, and heard. Being part of this initiative helps validate not only my purpose as a public servant, but also as a representative of my people and community.

Ellen Colón Community Relations Analyst Sr., Office of Community Engagement

The mission of Raleigh Parks is to connect and enrich our community through exceptional experiences. Language access and representation is an important part of this. We are excited to take this step to provide more services and foster greater belonging within the Raleigh community.

Tierney Sneeringer, Cultural Outreach and Enrichment Manager, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department

In a growing and diverse Raleigh population, language access is essential now more than ever for our community.

During the Summit for Local Government Language Access Collaborative, I was able to broaden my knowledge on language access. I learned new vocabulary terms I had never heard of such as “consecutive interpreting, and sight translation”

Aracelys Torrez, Relations Analyst, Department of Equity and Inclusion

Speaking specifically about the Summit, I was enlightened by a comment made by one of my own teammates in response to something a speaker stated. He said, "as long as we see language as a barrier, we will fail. Language is an opportunity."  I realized in that moment, this Collaborative's mission isn't only about solving a City of Raleigh problem or issue. Our higher purpose is to connect people and to provide all people with equitable opportunities through language." 

Pete Weber, Web Content Administrator, Communications Department



Aracelys Torrez
Department of Equity and Inclusion

Ellen Colón
Office of Community Engagement

CommunicationsCommunity EngagementEquity and Inclusion
Related Services:
Language Access Collaborative