Event Details

How to Incorporate Language Justice into Your Practice – Regardless of the Languages You Speak!

Citing a line from late Black feminist author, Bell Hooks, this workshop calls on the legal services community to shift language justice from the margins of our work to the center. We will explore how to weave language justice principles into legal services and advocacy, including framing language services with an equity lens, collaborating with skilled interpreters and translators, and making language rights a priority in our systemic advocacy. We will discuss first steps to put a practical language access plan in motion and how a language justice approach intersects with trauma-informed lawyering.


Cynthia Martinez photo 10-12-2022

Cynthia Martinez
Program Coordinator, Language Justice Initiative
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA)

Cynthia Martínez is CRLA’s statewide Language Justice Initiative Program Coordinator. Cynthia holds a BS in Psychology and Spanish from Santa Clara University. She is currently pursuing a certificate in the Spanish-English court interpreting program at San Francisco State University. She came to CRLA from the prevention world where she worked as a community organizer, Promotora de Salud, providing presentations and facilitating peer support groups focused on gender-based violence prevention, gender equity, and reduction of stigma around mental health among other topics. Additionally, she facilitated various National trainings on suicide prevention and intervention as well as Mental Health First Aid. Cynthia joined CRLA in 2019 as a Community Worker after completing the pilot Interpreter Training and finding a new passion in Language Justice. 

Fernando Torres photo 10-12-2022

Fernando Torres
Community Worker
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA)

Fernando has a background in insurance, health benefits and marketing. He recently found his true passion which is to inform, educate and serve our community members while also helping community members understand and assert their legal rights and responsibilities.
As a community worker, Fernando’s duties include doing outreach, Community Education and Community Services, identifying the type of legal assistance being sought by those we serve and providing Non-lawyer advocacy / assistance with their legal issues under the guidance and supervision of an attorney.
Outside of CRLA, Fernando contributed in a similar manner with the #Health4All campaign which goal was to expand health coverage to All, regardless of immigration status.
Fernando fully identifies with and supports CRLA’s Mission to assist those most exploited in our Society.
Fernando was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia; he’s fully Bilingual in English/ Spanish and presently resides in Sonoma County with his wife and two children.

Alena Uliasz photo 10-12-2022

Alena Uliasz
Language Justice Initiative Manager
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA)

Alena Uliasz is the statewide Language Justice Initiative Manager at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA). She has 20 years of experience as a facilitator, educator, and organizer focused on dismantling oppression and promoting equity and inclusion. She holds a master’s degree in Community Development from the University of California, Davis, where she conducted community-based participatory research about Indigenous language justice in collaboration with the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) and CRLA. Alena completed a certificate in Spanish-English court and healthcare interpreting at San Francisco State University. Before moving to Northern California, Alena was based on the California Central Coast, where she co-founded Just Communities’ Language Justice Initiative and co-led educational justice, youth leadership, and sexual violence prevention efforts.

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