Language Access Advisory Committee
The Philadelphia City Commissioners’ Language Access Advisory Committee was created by following the unanimous passage of September 2022’s Language Access Expansion Motion. The Committee is organized by the Deputy Commissioners for the purpose of providing regular non-partisan advice and feedback to the Office of the City Commissioners on its language access program including the timing, implementation, and evaluation of expanded services and materials. The committee will meet at least four times each year, once before and once after each regularly scheduled Primary and General.
The Language Access Advisory Committee was empaneled following an open online application process. Applicants were reviewed and selected by the Deputy Commissioners. A broad group was selected, representing many organizations in and around Philadelphia.
Committee Members are:
Ex-officio member Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA): Deise Rodrigues
Deise is a Brazilian American. She has an in-depth understanding of transcultural competence and works for the City of Philadelphia where she serves as a Director of Language Access Programs in the Office of Immigrant Affairs.
At-large Member Representing Groups Advocating for Voting Rights and Language Access: Paul M. Uyehara
Paul is a retired attorney with over 20 years of experience enforcing language access rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Community Legal Services. A resident of West Philadelphia, he is a member of the national board of the Japanese American Citizens League.
Marcos is the program director at Ceiba. A native of southern Mexico, Marcos has experience in helping organize the Latino community in Philadelphia, having previously worked with Kensington Soccer Club and as a bilingual community liaison at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. He was awarded the Emerging City Champions Fellowship in 2019 and he was awarded “Philadelphia Keeper” Fellowship in 2020. Marcos is a HUD certified housing counselor and an IRS certified Acceptance Agent for ITIN application purposes.
Julio is a first-generation Mexican-American; he is the political director at the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC), and board member at Juntos, a Latinx community-based organization in south Philadelphia. Julio is excited to serve on the City Commissioners’ language access committee as he has spent his career working with immigrants improving language access in housing, education, and economic development.
Wei Chen is Asian American United’s (AAU) Civic Engagement Director. In 2014, he started Chinatown Vote Project which has registered hundreds of voters and supported thousands of Asian voters in Philadelphia. Aslo, he serves as the Vice-chair of the board of Victim Witness Services of South Philadelphia and the Chairperson of Governor’s Advisory Commission on AAPI Affairs.
Sim Loh is a Family Partnership Coordinator at Children’s Village, a nationally accredited early learning program, where she ensures children and families have equitable access to high-quality early education, information, and resources. Sim is also an active member of the Racial Equity Early Childhood Provider Council, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethical Conduct Revision workgroup, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Early Childhood Coalition (SEPECC) Steering Committee, and the Historic Philadelphia Inc. Board of Directors. Sim is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Malay.
Jalia was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. Jalia’s roots have instilled in her a deep appreciation for cultural inclusivity and the significance of linguistic accessibility.
Nancy serves at VietLEAD as the Co-Executive Director and one of its co-founders. VietLEAD empowers the community through youth empowerment and organizing through a lens of social justice and anti-violence, health promotion and navigation, civic engagement, and community building projects. She has 10+ years of experience as an organizer, non-profit leader in Philadelphia and Camden.
Saroeun is a community and social service professional with over 15 years experience advocating for Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees residing in Philadelphia. Saroeun specializes in ensuring that there is equitable access to resources for underserved individuals such as those with limited English language proficiency.
Jude is a passionate advocate for underserved communities, specifically immigrant, black and brown communities and a lifelong resident of North Philadelphia. Jude currently serves as the Director of State Advocacy for Senator Art Haywood and is actively involved in various boards, including Next Step Associates, Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee, and many more.
Numa St. Louis
Numa serves as the District Representative and Policy Advisor for Congressman Dwight Evans. He holds a Master’s Degree from Temple University in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York at Oswego in Global and International Studies. Numa is a trained mediator in conflict resolution and is fluent in English, French, and Haitian Creole.
As a child of immigrants and as a first-generation citizen, Ana is deeply passionate about the immigration process. Both her parents and in-laws came to the United States to seek a better life for themselves and their families. She was fortunate enough to grow up in Philadelphia’s deeply rich Portuguese community and had the pleasure of directly witnessing families achieve their own personal American Dream.