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#1033: Miami-Dade OK's ballots in Creole: response to Poincy from Hermantin
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In his response to my comments to the Miami-Dade County Board of
Commissioners, supporting the translation of ballots in Creole, Mr Poincy
"Feeling part of a community is a matter of how willing one is to intergrate
him/herself in it. Doing so is not by holding tight to one's culture or
language; rather by adapting oneself, in learning the language of that
community learning how to read for that matter) and engage in its internal
acitviies and be part of its reality."
Well Mr. Poincy let me remind you that the context is Miami-Dade County
where the majority of those who go to the ballot box, the majority of those
activily engaged in their community's civic life does not speak english.
You've guessed it they are the cuban american viejitos, who vote
religiously, but watch spanish TV listen to Spanish radio and read the El
Nuevo Herald the Miami Herald' spanish version.
The non-english creole speakers do not as you imply, make a conscious
decision not to learn english or to isolate themselves culturally. It's just
hard for them to do anything other than holding down three jobs,attending to
their parental responsabilities,ect... However, in spite of these barriers,
I am pleased to inform you that the evening and day adult schools serving
the Haitian community are the best attended programs in the county. It is
therefore, not a case for self-marginalization. They do try.
The other point I wish to make is that while language classes may help our
folks acquire basic conversational proficiency, they will never reach the
level fluency which may be needed to become fully engaged in the
mainstream's civic discourse.
I will agree with you that the Creole ballot will not significantly help
those who cannot read. When I was approached about this issue, I had
suggested color-coded ballots. That alternative proved to be highly
One of the points raised in the Herald article was that the estimated cost
of the measure would amount to $64,000, including $42,000 for a full-time
translator. His/her duties will include the translation of relevant county
documents as well availability to serve as interpreter during county
hearings and workshops. That Mr. Poincy heralds the beginning of a process
which will encourage the non-english speaking illiterate individuals to go
to city and county hall without fears of sounding like bumbling idiots to
let elected officials know that "they are not in the rance with them":-)
Leonie M. Hermantin
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