For nearly four years, EPA has undertaken a multilingual outreach effort entitled Beyond Translation. The first Beyond Translation Hispanic Stakeholders Forum saw the light in San Antonio, Texas in the fall of 2006 as a Hispanic outreach initiative designed to increase environmental awareness among Hispanic leaders. Thanks to hard-working EPA employees, this initiative has blossomed into an effort that truly engages EPA and with Hispanic stakeholders from community-based organizations, small businesses, academia, and government officials. As the title suggests, the main objective is to go beyond the traditional mechanisms of reaching out to Hispanics in the US. While necessary, translating brochures into Spanish only produces limited results in increasing the environmental awareness of Hispanic stakeholders. The purpose of these forums is to take EPA to the community where people live, work, learn and play in order to sustain a productive and ongoing dialogue on their environmental concerns and challenges. Through this important tool, the Agency can effectively promote environmentalism among Hispanic communities in a language they can understand so they can actively participate in EPA’s decision-making process.
This year, EPA is once again taking its message to the community in a series of Beyond Translation Forums. The first one will be in EPA Research Triangle Park, NC on October 7th. The theme for this year’s RTP forum is: “EPA and the Hispanic Community: Building Environmental Awareness in Rural Communities.” I urge you attend either in person or virtually (webcasts will be offered) Stay tuned for the next one in our series. Together we can make a difference in environmental protection.
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.