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'We know this is a first step': Carrboro Town Council approves new language plan

Flowers surround the Carrboro Town Hall sign on Monday, March 27, 2023.

On April 9, the Carrboro Town Council met to discuss language access and Poetry Month.

What's new?

  • Carrboro’s poet laureate Liza Wolff-Francis read a poem about watching the solar eclipse from the steps of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, titled “Moon Pie.” Carrboro Mayor Barbara Foushee also read a poem and proclaimed April as Poetry Month.
  • Marie Parker, interim town manager, read the meeting’s consent agenda, which included a request to set a legislative hearing for conditional rezoning for a small multi-family housing property on North Greensboro Street, a request to award funding to nonprofits and the 2024 Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance annual report.

What’s changed? 

  • Parker read a request for the council to adopt the Town’s Language Access Plan.
    • Catherine Lazorko, the Town's communication and engagement director, presented the plan with Huda Muhnaia, the Arabic language community coordinator for Refugee Community Partnership and Lama Moakeh, RCP's collective care manager. Moakeh provided interpretation of Muhnaia's presentation from Arabic to English.
      • Moakeh, interpreting for Muhnaia, said having language access is key to being able to interact with people outside the home.
      • “I face people who do not speak my language every single day,” she said. “I am trying to understand everything, and it is without doubt a barrier every corner and every facet of our daily lives. Communicating with other human beings is one of the most essential needs that we have.” 
    • Goals of the project include increasing availability of translated vital documents, developing an internal language access committee, increasing availability of interpretation at events and strengthening support of multilingual staff members.
      • “This is not the end-all when it comes to access,” council member Eliazar Posada said. “But being in this chair in this moment after so much work has happened in this community for many years to increase access, to increase inclusivity, to make Carrboro a home for all of our residents, I’m just extremely thankful, and as we move forward in this work, as we move forward as a community, we know this is a first step.”
    • The council unanimously approved the adoption of the plan. 
  • Kevin Belanger, the director of public works, presented a resolution to adopt a rewrite of Town policy regarding memorials and donations located on Town property.
    • The current policy was adopted in 2005 and updated in 2019, Belanger said. The purpose of the policy change is to allow for the development of standards and to address future conflicts, including the removal or relocation of monuments.
      • Monuments, for the purpose of the new resolution, can mean any plaque, structure, statue, tree, shrub, bench or other structure in town that has been commemorated to a person or event.
    • The proposal included the allocation of $4,000 every fiscal year to help those who want to purchase a monument, but are financially unable to.
    • Laura Janway, the Town’s environmental sustainability coordinator, proposed a nonbinding agreement to create the Intergovernmental Climate Council of Orange County. The agreement was adopted.

What’s next?

The Carrboro Town Council will meet next for a work session at the Chapel Hill Town Hall on April 16. 


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