Marlene Cortés is the Senior Manager of Language Justice at Empire Justice Center. Through her 30 years of experience in Legal Services, Marlene has seen firsthand how LEP (Limited English Proficient), d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing populations experience gaps in resources and knowledge accessing basic needs services within our community. In 2019, she began focusing on language justice as a foundational civil rights issue and became a trailblazer for breaking down barriers to leverage deep, systemic improvements in Monroe County. Marlene does this through training, technical assistance, outreach and by providing “Know Your Rights” information to those facing language-related inequities.
Marlene is the Co-founder of the Monroe County Language Access Coalition, the only Language Coalition in NYS that includes the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, which is comprised of 27 local agencies focused on language access barriers. She participates in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Language Access Working Group, Americans for Financial Reform Task Force for Language Access, and is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Program of United Way. Marlene is a member of the Latinx Leaders Roundtable, Deaf Friendly Roc, Latino Health Coalition, and New Americans Health Coalition.
Marlene is a native Rochesterian and her family is from Aibonito, Puerto Rico. She currently lives in Henrietta with her family and is passionate about being active in the Rush Henrietta School District.