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Speaking In Tongues

Against the backdrop of “English-only” initiatives in 31 states, one school district is proving that speaking a foreign language can be an asset. SPEAKING IN TONGUES follows students from diverse backgrounds as they become bilingual in language immersion programs. Their stories traverse a number of perennial challenges facing America: economic inequality, de facto segregation, and increasing nativist backlash towards immigrants. As bilingualism begins to change the students, their families, and their communities, it emerges as a tool for shifting what it means to be an American and a global citizen in a rapidly changing world. To explore the contentious debates surrounding the “English-only” movement, the film turns to Ling-chi Wang, a nationally known civil rights activist who pioneered efforts to establish multilingual education in the United States, and leads the charge in this school district.