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Language and Communications Access Plans Improve City Services Access

Mayor Wu and Office of Language and Communications Access advance plans across 19 departments aimed at improving City departments efforts to ensure that residents can better access and engage with City programming, services and information

Mayor Wu and the Office of Language and Communications Access (OLCA) published Language and Communications Access Plans for 19 City departments. These plans are the culmination of 12 months of collaboration between OLCA staff and departments to intentionally ensure department services, activities and information are accessible to people who identify as speaking a Language other than English or people with a communications related disability.

“Ensuring our city departments provide accessible, intentional language and communications access services to residents and families is critical in making Boston a city for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “These critical departmental plans are a huge step in building a City that is truly welcoming of all, and I’m thrilled to see how these critical changes for language and communications access serve Bostonians.”

"The language we speak should never be a barrier to accessing services or participating in civic life,” said Chief of Equity & Inclusion Mariangely Solis Cervera. “These plans reflect our dedication to breaking down those barriers, creating a city where every voice is heard and every need is met.” 

Last year, Mayor Wu announced the first phase of a City-wide implementation of Boston’s Language and Communication Access policy. Implementation efforts involve creating public language and communications access plans, identifying and translating vital documents and information, identifying critical programming and events and training all department staff on providing language and communications access services. 

The first phase of the implementation process will focus on a set of departments, categorized as tier I departments, with critical involvement in constituent’s well-being, safety, and access to critical information. Tier 1 departments participating in this first phase include:

  • Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department, Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, Office of Emergency Management, Office of Housing, Office of Food Justice, Elections Department, Office of Neighborhood Services, Office of Civic Organizing, BOS:311, Treasury- Collecting Division,  Mayor’s Office of Communications and the Equity and Inclusion Cabinet includes : Office of Black Male Advancement, Office for Immigrant Advancement, Office of Women’s Advancement, Disabilities Commission, Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement, Office of Language and Communications Access, Fair Housing and Equity. 

Through coordination with various departments, this work has resulted in improved service delivery across various departments leading to positive resident experiences.  Improvements include but are not limited to: The City’s Emergency Text Alerts communicated in 11 languages, Boston Police Headquarters and District Offices providing interpretation over the phone or a web-cam enabled device when supporting constituents, voting locations staffed with bilingual staff and professional interpreters.

Residents have the right to file a complaint through the Office of Language and Communications Access if you feel that you have been subject to discrimination.  The City does not retaliate because an individual has filed a complaint alleging discrimination based on LOTE status or disability. Visit for more information on how to file a complaint online, over the phone, via email or in person. 

“As an English Learner and immigrant to the US, I know first hand the grave impacts that language barriers can have on individuals’ and families' health and well-being. Language can be a beautiful tool that brings people together, creates trust and fosters collaboration,” said Jeniffer Vivar Wong, Director of Language and Communication Access. “That is why it is our office’s priority to ensure every department is providing intentional language and communications access services to all constituents. We know how vital it is to make systemic changes throughout the City to ensure all Bostonians feel welcomed, heard and seen at the City of Boston. This work could not be possible without the hard work and commitment from the LCA team and department partners.”

Building on Mayor Wu’s vision of creating a City where every resident feels at home, the Mayor’s Office of Language and Communication Access (OLCA) strives to empower speakers of all languages and communication abilities to receive the full spectrum of services offered by the City of Boston. Learn more about OLCA at 

Translations of this press release are available in the following languages below and here on 

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