Letter to the editor: Summit County needs bilingual expert on staff
Claudine Norden, Frisco
Isabel Rodriguez, Keystone
Rita Tracy, Breckenridge
In response to the story “Summit County, volunteers bolster outreach to Spanish speakers during pandemic,” while we are happy that the county is acknowledging its lack of outreach and communication to our Spanish-speaking communities that have always existed and are only exacerbated and highlighted during this crisis, we feel the article missed an important issue. The county does not have on staff a paid bilingual communications outreach specialist. As the article mentions several times, the county is relying on a host of volunteers to translate documents and to make contact with our Spanish-speaking residents.
While we applaud the volunteers’ efforts, we feel the county must step up and hire a permanent bilingual communications expert so that we no longer have these gaps. Our Spanish-speaking population holds vital and, now we know, essential jobs in our county. They deserve to be communicated within the same systematic and consistent way as our English-speaking population.
We invite our county and town representatives to consider including bilingual communication and representation into their annual budget. We ask our community to value the bilingual education and skills of our community members with compensated roles within our community as we have learned they are essential.
If we wish to combat this virus, we need to properly communicate with our second-largest population clearly and consistently with paid permanent staff. Then we can say that our county representatives are working to address and serve the needs of all of its residents.
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