Initiatives

Through community-designed initiatives, we are working to reconstitute relationships of charity to relationships of mutual aid and collective care.

Here, everyday people are in deep reciprocal relationship with one another, facilitating access to resources and services while providing the emotional nourishment and community belonging we all need to feel whole and connected. We use institutional organizing principles to advance language access, by working on the institution side to reveal language discrimination, make system-level changes, and build a long term economy for sustainable language work.

Democratizing the Commons

The Hive

Language inaccess is one of the greatest threats to the health and safety of refugee and migrant communities, blocking critical interactions with service providers, preventing the exchange of information, and obstructing participation in public life. The Hive is our digital organizing environment - scaled up in 2020 for rapid response work - where RCP interpreters convert everything from emerging public health guidance to announcements of new community services to school closures to impending natural disasters into shareable media, sent directly to users in their primary language.

The Hive is interactive, where users can reply to any message to receive one-on-one support from RCP staff and interpreters, right away. RCP interpreters host live Q&A sessions with Members - open to the public - to answer questions, in their primary languages, in real time.

The Hive began as an emergency response network during Hurricane Florence in 2018. RCP Members were mapped into a county-wide phone tree, and, partnering with the Town's emergency communications department, RCP interpreters recorded mp4 audio and video messages in 5 different languages 'round the clock, getting critical disaster preparation information to 900+ non-English-speaking residents every few hours. Members reported that this was the first time they’d understood communications from local government and news sources.

Members reported that this was the first time they’d understood communications from local government and news sources. Using this shareable technology, 1000+ refugee and migrant residents in NC, and their friends and family in other cities and regions beyond our service reach, received accurate and up-to-date information, enabling them to pursue critical services and resources.

Relationship-based Community Organizing & Collective Care

Bridge Builders

It's all about relationships. We believe that "we are each other's medicine" - and that unlearning conventional "service" relationships in favor of reconstituting our natural blueprint to take care of one another, through mutual aid and long-term reciprocal companionship, creates true safety, and true belonging.

Bridge Builders is where neighbors take care of one another, particularly when our institutions cannot. Local residents are trained and matched with RCP families, walking alongside Members to assist them in addressing immediate needs - like finding housing or employment - and working toward long term goals, like going to college. Bridge Builders serve as cultural consultants and emergency contacts, accompanying Members to job interviews or medical appointments, and supporting them in times of crisis, like natural disasters or police encounters. These relationships are deliberately reciprocal, where both parties support one another, and are grounded in a critical awareness of structures and legacies of power and oppression, so that we may building an enduring foundation of radical companionship and solidarity.

Pre-COVID, 230+ residents worked with 520+ RCP Members per year. While Bridge Builders requires a 12-month minimum commitment, the relationships between Bridge Builders and Members last many more. Many Bridge Builders and Members have been working together since the initiative began in 2012.

Community-Owned Language Access

Our arterial focus on language justice emerged after RCP’s Women’s Group devoted one of their monthly gatherings to sharing frustrations and horror stories about language barriers in local medical clinics. It quickly became a community priority as it centered, also, around the conviction that cultural identities help keep us safe, nourished, and healthy - and language cultures quickly become endangered in English-dominant environments. We keep cultural identities alive through language preservation, neighborhood organizing, and youth-led language activism. We mobilize young refugee and migrant leaders into a broad base of Language Navigators- language justice interpreters- across the region, to facilitate language access while also elevating the voices and stories of their communities to create change.

Language Partners

Institutions are federally mandated to provide language services for residents who speak languages other than English, but few comply. Those that do typically provide telephonic language services, which often fail. Meanwhile, the economy for local language workers is drying up as language services are contracted out to multinational corporations using remote technologies. We want to change that.

Members reserve an RCP “Language Navigator”, a community interpreter to accompany them to any appointment where they will need interpretation. The Language Navigator helps them navigate the environment, from parking lot to receptionist check-in, to appointment room, and advocates for an official interpreter from the service provider. If an interpreter is not provided, the Language Navigator serves as the interpreter. If the clinic does provide an interpreter, the Navigator attunes to the quality of the interpretation provided, taking notes when misinterpretations occur, instances of verbal abuse, or all-out neglect (ex: when an interpreter refuses to communicate a patient’s question). The Navigator intervenes if the situation goes poorly, and ensures that the patient understands doctor’s instructions, including helping to fill prescriptions from pharmacy.
Meanwhile, we work on the institution-side to increase demand for quality language services, and on the community-side to increase the base of local language workers. We mobilize institutions to localize their language services by contracting with local interpreters, thereby harnessing the community’s existing multilingualism and strategically rerouting the dollars spent on multinational telephonic corporations back to the community.

Community-Owned Data Vault

Members reserve an RCP “Language Navigator”, a community interpreter to accompany them to any appointment where they will need interpretation. The Language Navigator helps them navigate the environment, from parking lot to receptionist check-in, to appointment room, and advocates for an official interpreter from the service provider. If an interpreter is not provided, the Language Navigator serves as the interpreter. If the clinic does provide an interpreter, the Navigator attunes to the quality of the interpretation provided, taking notes when misinterpretations occur, instances of verbal abuse, or all-out neglect (ex: when an interpreter refuses to communicate a patient’s question). The Navigator intervenes if the situation goes poorly, and ensures that the patient understands doctor’s instructions, including helping to fill prescriptions from pharmacy.

Meanwhile, we work on the institution-side to increase demand for quality language services, and on the community-side to increase the base of local language workers. We mobilize institutions to localize their language services by contracting with local interpreters, thereby harnessing the community’s existing multilingualism and strategically rerouting the dollars spent on multinational telephonic corporations back to the community.