The United States government may have officially withdrawn from The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), but at the USDAC we stand with UNESCO and for the #RightToBelong through language and culture.
Today, along with UNESCO and member countries around the world, we celebrate International Mother Language Day.
At the USDAC we assert that culture is a fundamental human right—and we know that language is among the most powerful manifestations of culture. Yet, almost half of the world’s 6000+ languages are endangered, and one disappears at least every two weeks. As UNESCO states, “when languages fade, so does the world's rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression—valuable resources for ensuring a better future—are also lost.”
We call on Citizen Artists everywhere to take a stand for linguistic diversity and language justice.
Here are a few ways you can you take action toward belonging through language justice—the right for everyone to communicate in the language in which they feel most comfortable.
Download or revisit the USDAC’s policy and action platform, Standing for Cultural Democracy. The platform is a ten-point compendium of ideas and approaches to nurture cultural democracy. It includes a template Cultural Impact Statement and a Policy on Belonging, both of which could be used to support and protect linguistic diversity in a community.
Challenge yourself and invite others to promote language justice where you are by activating one of the toolkits below. Each provides practical tools and tips for adopting inclusive language practices in your organization or community.
Learn about the variety of languages spoken in your community—and advocate for multilingual education practice and policies at your local schools, libraries, and other public services.
See the bigger picture by learning more about the world’s endangered languages and why preserving them matters for our shared human future. The NYC-based Endangered Language Alliance offers a great overview.
Cultural rights are only made real when we dedicate the energy and resources to supporting, promoting, and protecting them. Thank you for your efforts! And, as always, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or just want to connect.