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Legal Aid increases Spanish-language outreach

Posted August 5, 2022
10:00 am

Earlier this year we established a formal partnership with La Mega Media to run ads in Spanish across all of La Mega’s media platforms, including its print newspaper, radio station, website, and social media channels. This spring, La Mega featured Legal Aid in an interview on La Mega Radio – and it was the first radio interview conducted fully en Español!

We are especially grateful to La Mega’s Director of Community Outreach, Claudia Longo, who has helped spread the word about Legal Aid to La Mega’s audience. “Community services are never going to be effective if they’re not reaching the populations they’re meant to serve,” Claudia says. “And members of the Hispanic community, particularly people whose first language is not English, are often left out of messaging and marketing strategies. By partnering with La Mega to spread the word about Legal Aid services to the local Hispanic community, Legal Aid ensures everyone – regardless of language – can understand when and how to seek its free legal help. We are very proud of this collaboration and look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come.”

In addition to Spanish, Legal Aid provides interpretation and translation for all clients who need it. Both live interpreters and simultaneous phone translation are available. Of all the various languages Legal Aid clients speak, Spanish is the most prevalent. Currently, 13 Legal Aid staff members speak Spanish, and our informational brochures and flyers are now bilingual. Thanks to support from a Skadden Foundation Flom Incubator grant, we created a Spanish-language option for online intake portal in October 2021. By mid-year 2022, the online Spanish intake portal processed more than 400 new applications.

One of those applications was from Carolina (name changed for privacy), a woman from Peru whose green card was expiring. Spanish is Carolina’s preferred language, so when she discovered Legal Aid’s Spanish online intake portal, she used it to apply for help. Carolina was quickly connected with a Legal Aid attorney who speaks fluent Spanish.

The attorney worked with Carolina on all the required forms and helped her assemble all the documents she needed for the green card renewal. The process was complicated; not only did it require an FBI background check, but it also involved obtaining documentation about public benefits Carolina was receiving, including food assistance (SNAP) and Medicaid. The attorney’s assistance resulted in a fast approval of Carolina’s new green card. She picked it up from Legal Aid’s office in early May and is excited to be able to travel to Peru this summer to see family. Before closing Carolina’s case, the attorney also provided Carolina with detailed instructions regarding the naturalization process for when she becomes eligible.

To apply for legal help in Spanish:

This article was published in Legal Aid's "Poetic Justice" newsletter, Volume 19 Issue 2 in August 2022. See full issue at this link: “Poetic Justice” Volume 19 Issue 2.

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