by Skye Maclean
English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Cantonese, German, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, and…. you name it! Just ask and we’ll find a way to bring languages services and information to you, too! And that’s because these are just some of the readily available languages at ECIRMAC, short for East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center.
In Champaign/Urbana Illinois, the community is blessed with the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center; it is a unique cultural gem in an already diverse area, and the need for places like ECIRMAC grows every day. The mission of ECIRMAC, as mentioned on their website is to provide services essential to refugee and immigrant resettlement in East-Central Illinois and to aid in the exchange and preservation of their respective cultures. It serves as a firm and stable plug in the hole left by current language planning and policies in regards to information, assistance, paperwork and applications – all are made available in languages not generally provided by government sources.
Many people may not be aware of places in their communities where help can be provided for any number of things in any number of languages, or sometimes places like ECIRMAC simply don’t exist. This list of services that ECIRMAC offers is a great example as to why places like it are necessary, and exemplifies just how much of a gap has been left by language planning policy:
- Translation of documents and interpretation in community settings
- Advocate and liaison in clients' places of employment, schools, hospitals, courts, with landlords, etc.
- Aid in completing paperwork for citizenship, asylum, residency, family reunification, etc.
- Assistance with applying for government benefits for which an individual is eligible
- Case management and counseling Referrals to community resources
- Tutoring and intercultural socialization for school aged children
|The ladies of ECIRMAC: Deb, Ha and Guadalupe|
"East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center." East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://ecirmac.weebly.com>
The author of this blog entry is Skye Maclean, a senior at the University of Illinois. She is majoring in an Individual Plan of Study for Techno-Cultural Studies. Skye is planning on running social media for crosscultural organizations and non-profits in the future. She has studied Spanish, French and Russian at length and is an avid traveler. She wrote this text in the seminar LING 418, Language and Minorities in Europe.