Welcoming Community: Language Equity

The April edition of the Welcoming Community newsletter delves into the topic of language equity. In the context of welcoming efforts throughout the Northland, language equity involves recognizing and honoring linguistic diversity, ensuring fair treatment and equal access for individuals of all language backgrounds, and promoting inclusive communication practices.

Language plays an integral role in how we interact within our communities and feel a sense of belonging. It is a fundamental aspect of how we connect, understand, and empathize with one another. By prioritizing language equity, we can work to transcend linguistic barriers to foster inclusivity and create spaces where everyone feels respected, valued, and able to fully engage with the community.

Numerous efforts are currently underway to promote language equity across northeastern Minnesota. Crucial resources are being made available in multiple languages and adapted to accommodate different communication styles. Many groups in the Northland continue to advocate for the use of inclusive, equitable language in various aspects of the community. Additionally, the Ojibwe language is increasingly being revitalized and incorporated into daily life throughout the region.

Further welcoming efforts to promote language equity might include:

  • Supporting the use of multilingual signage in businesses and public areas.
  • Helping to ensure that translators are available when needed.
  • Taking action to improve the awareness of how our words are perceived and the impact they have on those around us.

Considering the relationships between language use and inclusion is essential to understanding a more complete picture of equity across the Northland. Visit the Resources to Explore section below to learn more about tools and initiatives to improve language equity across the Northland.

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” ―Rita Mae Brown

Continued Learning

The goal of the Welcoming Community program is to provide the community with continued opportunities for learning and connection related to topics relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our region. In our monthly emails, we highlight a specific equity topic and provide resources related to the monthly theme.

The theme for the month of April is Language Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question:

“In terms of language equity in northeast Minnesota, where have we come from, where are we now, and what steps do we need to take to reach an equitable future?”

Resources to Explore

LinguaOne: Language Diversity in Minnesota

The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary: The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary Home Page

National Association of the Deaf: Learning American Sign Language

National Association of Colleges and Employers: The Importance of Language in Supporting DEI Efforts

University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics: Reimagining Language Equity in Healthcare

LeadMN: Equity and Inclusion Vocabulary and Inclusive Language

American Society of Association Executives: Make Inclusive Language a Key Part of Your DEI Efforts

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies: Inclusive Language Guide

Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association: How to Work with an Interpreter


New Iron Ranger Gatherings
Various Dates, Various Venues
Learn more here

Homegrown Music Festival
April 28 May 5, 2024
Various Venues, Duluth, MN
Learn more here

Senior Expo
May 1, 2024, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
RRCC Event Center, Eveleth, MN
Learn more here

Cafe Scientifique
May 2, 2024, 6:00PM
Duluth Folk School
Learn more here

Everyone Can Bird – Spring Migration
May 5, 2024, 9:30 – 11:30 AM
Chambers Grove Park, Duluth, MN
Learn more here

Festiversary 2024
May 18, 2024, 2:00 PM8:00 PM
Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Duluth, MN
Learn more here

Community Connect
May 22, 2024, 10:00 AM2:00 PM
Hibbing Memorial Arena, Hibbing, MN
Learn more here

More Events

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If you know others in your community who are interested in participating with Welcoming Community programming, please share this post so they can learn more & Click Here to join our email list.

Contact Northspan’s Welcoming Community Program Manager Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org with any questions.