Building Unity Through Linguistic & Cultural Diversity & Understanding
On November 12, we hosted our ATX Think Bilingual Fair with over 45 organizations representing local bilingual and/or multicultural educational programs. Families and individuals came out to support bilingualism and multiculturalism in an event that included fun and engaging language learning workshops for kids, cultural performances and discussions centered around bilingualism and multiculturalism. However, the momentum for bilingual and multicultural education does not stop with this event. Think Bilingual Austin has launched it’s bilingual/multicultural community support program under the acronym SABER (Spanish word for “to know”) and we want members of the community to get involved.
SABER = Support, Advocacy, Bridging, Education, Research
S – Support families and individuals with language learning and multicultural exchange.
Are you passionate about bilingual/multicultural education and have a desire to share your passion with others? Do you like to organize or participate in meet-ups around language learning? Do you have or know of resources or support for language learning that you would like to share with others? Become a Think Bilingual Austin Ambassador for a language and age group. As an Ambassador, you will be a point person for other members in the community to contact when looking for resources or meet-up groups. As an Ambassador, you can also post information and resources to our website to share with others. Think Bilingual Austin will schedule events for Ambassadors to network and support each other as we continue to grow our network for outreach. To become a Think Bilingual Ambassador, please send an email to Ambassador@thinkbilingual.org along with a brief biography of who you are, the language and age group of interest, why you are interested in becoming a Think Bilingual Ambassador, and your contact information. We will be happy to follow-up with you.
A – Advocate for well implemented and well funded dual language and bilingual educational programs.
The recent Commission on Language Learning conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for a bipartisan group in the U.S. Congress revealed the urgency of educating our community to speak more than one language or else we as a society will be at an economic and social disadvantage compared with other nations. The report also reveals that one of the biggest assets we have in creating a more multilingual society is our immigrant population. Yet, since the two World Wars our educational system has worked more toward eradicating native languages other than English rather than preserving them; despite the long-term benefits of helping those students maintain their native language while also learning English. Think Bilingual Austin’s Advocacy Committee is designed to get the greater community involved in supporting effective and well implemented dual language and bilingual educational programs for all students in public education. Think Bilingual Austin’s Advocacy Committee will address the issues impeding proper implementation and support for dual language and bilingual education by (1) creating forums based on well researched data and information and (2) developing strategies to address these issues and concerns with key decision makers to effect positive change. This committee is led by Think Bilingual Austin’s founding Board Member, Deborah Trejo, along with participation by other Think Bilingual Austin Board Members. To get involved email us at Advocate@thinkbilingual.org or send a text to 512-909-8359.
B – Bridge Diverse Communities
Bridging diverse communities is at the heart of what we do in building community. However, it is also the most challenging as it is natural for people to want to stay within their comfort zones and be with people who most resemble themselves and their culture. Events like our ATX Think Bilingual Fair and our Community Calendar, which showcase various cultural public programing and events, are small steps to building those bridges amongst diverse groups. Supporting language learning and cultural exchange for children and adults through enrichment programs such as summer camps, after school programs and adult exchange programs are other ways we look forward to building more bridges in our community. To help build community by building bridges, you too can get involved in a variety of ways.
Submit Cultural and/or Bilingual Events and Programs onto our Community Calendar and Tell Others about our Community Calendar.
All cultural events/programs submitted must be related to other cultures, relatively affordable ($25 or less per individual), and open to the public. Bilingual programs/events can be related to any language, including English as a Second Language.
Volunteer or Donate to Support Think Bilingual Programs that Bring Diverse Communities Together.
As Think Bilingual Austin continues to develop programs with our partners, we will continue to seek volunteers and funding to support such programs. To learn more about upcoming programs, visit our Community Events section or contact Angela Pack Zia at Angela@thinkbilingual.org.
Host a Think Bilingual Workshop at your Business, School or in your Community.
Learn more about the value of building community through cultural and linguistic diversity. Think Bilingual Austin offers a variety of tailored workshops and activities designed to create understanding, awareness and more effective collaboration between diverse groups. To schedule a workshop, contact Angela@thinkbilingual.org.
Send us Your Ideas for Building Community
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts and ideas for programs to help build community in order to foster better understanding and collaboration across diverse communities. Send your ideas to Angela@thinkbilingual.org with “Ideas for Building Community” in the subject line.
E – Educate Community on Value of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism
Nothing happens in a vacuum. For this reason, we are committed to outreach through community partners, schools and businesses to help the greater community understand the value of diversity in languages and cultures in strengthening the greater community. We find that once people become aware of the value that diversity brings, many people we meet often develop a positive view towards multilingualism and diversity. This type of direct community engagement is more important than ever as we find our sociopolitical climate becoming more openly divisive. We serve community events and programs like the Hope Farmers Market. We also engage in public speaking and develop workshops for parents at schools and employees of local businesses. As with bridging diverse communities, you too can get involved in educating our community by volunteering at our various community outreach events and/or by hosting a discussion or workshop at your school, business or in your community. To learn more, contact Angela@thinkbilingual.org.
R – Research best practices and information on Bilingual Education, Language Learning and Multicultural Education.
Think Bilingual Austin is fortunate to have so many local universities with experts in linguistics, bilingual education and other related areas. We are grateful for the time these experts have given to us and our community by participating in panel discussions and as guest presenters at our events. We are working to develop and strengthen these partnerships to provide the public with the most relevant and meaningful information needed to help our local community become truly multilingual and multicultural and highly competitive in the global economy. If you are an expert in a related field, we want to hear from you. Likewise, we are always looking for contributors to our blog along with important data and studies to share. To become a contributor or a partner, please contact Angela Pack Zia at Angela@thinkbilingual.org. Importantly, if you know of relevant lectures or discussions that are open to the public and related to diversity, culture and language learning, please share by submitting them to our Community Calendar.