Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our commitment to serving New York City’s immigrant communities has remained consistent. Our work continues to ensure that all New Yorkers trust that they can seek the care they need and to empower our communities with services that increase access to education, employment and other social services.
As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the timeliness of critical information through this global health crisis, since April 2020 we have engaged over 1,500 New Yorkers in free, civic-focused English language learning through our We Speak NYC classes, now offered virtually online.
We Speak NYC provides instruction focused on conversation through community classes and resources including videos, online practice activities and print instructional materials. Created in partnership with the City University of New York, the lessons focus on critical issues relevant to immigrant New Yorkers, such as healthcare, food assistance, education and legal help.
Through the program, English learners can learn to better advocate for their families, communities and themselves. Since its inception, We Speak NYC has supported over 15,000 learners through more than 800 classes led by over 700 trained volunteer facilitators.
Over the past year, We Speak NYC has made great strides in its work. The program won its third Emmy Award for “Rolando’s Rights,” an episode from the telenovela-style series that emphasizes the importance of workers’ rights and civic advocacy. We Speak NYC also expanded its resources for multilevel English learners and has co-launched and co-created a career development pilot program, We Speak We LEAD, with community-based organization New Women New Yorkers. This new pilot covers skills for workforce and career development such as information about resume building, interview skills and more.
This month, we’re thrilled to continue offering We Speak NYC classes virtually with 14 courses offered throughout the week with multiple time options. Immigrant English language learners can register to meet people and join a supportive online community, learn about NYC resources and practice their English conversation skills. If you are interested in taking a We Speak NYC class, volunteering as a facilitator or using our free English language learning resources online, please visit NYC.gov/WeSpeakNYC.
You can also learn about additional city resources available for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay, by visiting nyc.gov/immigrants/coronavirus.
If you have questions about immigration or how to access city services, you can call the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs hotline at 1 (212) 788-7654, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or send an email to AskMOIA@cityhall.nyc.gov. You can also follow us at @NYCImmigrants on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for timely updates.
Bitta Mostofi is Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.