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Watch: How language advocates brought Houston voices to the Capitol


Watch: How language advocates brought Houston voices to the Capitol

May 03, 2023 | 4:00 pm ET
By Fabiana Chaparro Alexa Ura
Watch: How language advocates brought Houston voices to the Capitol
In the months leading up to their committee hearing, Woori Juntos community members trained on how to share their personal stories with legislators — in their own language.

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This story is part of a series about Texans seeking to have their voices heard during the legislative session. The Texas Tribune has been following the staff of Woori Juntos, a Houston community group, as they try to convince lawmakers that their community is worth helping by knocking down language barriers that stand between non-English-speaking Texans and their government.

Over the past few months, Woori Juntos has hosted training sessions to prepare community members for the possibility of a committee hearing for their language access bills. The bills are being carried by Rep. Penny Morales Shaw, D-Houston, who is sponsoring House Bill 5166, and Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, who filed Senate Bill 2080.

[After months of struggle, Korean language access advocates find their voice at a legislative hearing]

For weeks, the Woori Juntos staff had no indication that a hearing would come. Then, they got word — in a week, their cause would be heard in a public hearing of the House Committee on Human Services.

On April 25, Woori Juntos staff, community members and partner organizations all converged at the Capitol to share their personal experiences with legislators in the final big push to advance the bill they have advocated for.

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