Mayor acknowledges different needs for non-English speaking communities

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 3:11am

Mayor Karl Dean believes Nashville passed the test when voters struck down the English Only proposal in the January special election.

Now that voters have made clear that they don’t have a problem paying for Metro services to be offered in other languages, the follow up question logically becomes, is the government doing enough to reach out to non-English speaking communities?

Dean applauded the work of the police department’s El Protector program, which was singled out by the Vera Institute of Justice for being one of the preeminent outreach programs in the country. But the mayor also acknowledged Metro could do more.

“You’ve got to do more, particularly for people who might be disenfranchised, you need to be more active in reaching out to them,” Dean said.

The mayor said that El Protector, which educates the Hispanic community about local laws and public safety issues like child car seat safety, was an example of government doing its job.

“There are a variety of ways you [reach out to the Hispanic community], either through community programs such as El Protector and obviously the church, St. Edward’s plays a very prominent role in the Hispanic community,” Dean said.

Dean added that English Only failing at the polls affirmed Nashville’s role as a welcoming city.

“You always need to make sure people feel welcome in our city and our city celebrates diversity,” Dean said. “I would look at the English Only vote as the confirmation of that. I said at the time, we’re the only major American city that’s been tested in that way and we passed the test.

“So I’m pretty proud of the way our city responded.”

Brady Banks, director of the mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said the goal was to ensure Metro services are reaching the Hispanic community.

“We just want to make sure we’re connecting with the Hispanic community and communicating with them,” Banks said, adding that initiatives were being considered to improve those efforts.

Filed under: City News
By: nashmusic on 12/31/69 at 6:00

with all due respect to the mayor, utilizing English when conducting official business has nothing to do with being a welcoming city or not. It is all to due with being efficient and making good use of tax dollars.Reach out to those people by encouraging them to learn English. "Teach them to fish, don't just hand them a net full of fish!" for more information on making English our official language in our country.

By: Jeremiah_29-7 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Let's see "Pro-English". Oh, yeah. The outside guys that funded the campaign that made us spend $250,000 or more on a special election. And then they still got slapped down.The funny thing is that immigrants DO want to learn English. There just aren't enough classes to help them. Nashville is indeed poised to be a much more welcoming city. Thank God that that referendum was defeated!

By: whatsuptls on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well get ready...this is really the announcement that the taxpayers are getting ready to PAY PAY PAY to further aide the illegals who pay nothing in. Of course, they should start with taking the funds from those so supportive of letting these people mooch off the tax paying citizens...

By: ACitizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OK, you numbnuts nashmusic and whatsuptis, First, English is the official language of our country and state, by law.Second, all those illegals are paying something in: sales taxes, real estate taxes, gas taxes, FICA and Federal Income Taxes, etc. They actually pay taxes and will never receive benefits for most of their taxes.Third, if any of us are mooching off the tax paying citizens it's those of us who are currently unemployed. And, just in case you missed it, there are a lot of us now.Man, you people are a broken record, stuck in the one groove you can find to blame for all your troubles. Get a life!

By: whatsuptls on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ACitizen...all of those illegals are BREAKING THE LAW IN THE FIRST PLACE. Second, as far as the 'taxes' they pay...nothing like having 20 plus people crammed in a single NO they don't pay real estate taxes like the rest of us. And, ever been to Walmart and watched them use the foodstamps we so graciously give out? citizens come first. And, if you're illegal and out of work, please feel free to go back exactly the way you came in! And yeah I have a life...I'm just sick and tired of having to pay for someone else's who isn't even here legally!!!!!!

By: misskity on 12/31/69 at 6:00

why is being here illegal seem to be o.k?Dean needs to move them all around him to live THERE JUST HERE DOING JOB'S AMERICANS WANT DO.

By: misskity on 12/31/69 at 6:00

why is being here illegal seem to be o.k?Dean needs to move them all around him to live THERE JUST HERE DOING JOB'S AMERICANS WANT DO.