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Texas Official Under Fire For Telling Latina County Judge To “Speak English”

After a massive fire burned for several days at a petrochemical facility in suburban Houston, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo delivered updates to constituents in English and Spanish, prompting criticism from a Republican commissioner in a neighboring county.

“English this is not Mexico,” Mark Tice of Chambers County commented on a video posted on CBS affiliate KHOU’s Facebook page of Judge Lina Hidalgo — the first Latina elected as the county’s top executive — addressing the public and reporters of the blaze in both languages.

The Colombian-born judge responded to English-language media in English and Spanish-language journalists in their tongue in order to reach as many viewers who might be impacted by the combustion as possible.

In Harris County, which includes Houston, more than 4.6 million people — or 43 percent — identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Additionally, more than 40 percent of the population there speaks a language other than English at home.

But Tice, who also called Hidalgo a “joke,” continued with his disparaging remarks, saying: “It’s real simple. This is the United States. Speak English.”

His comments garnered backlash quickly, with fellow Facebook users reminding him of Houston’s vast Spanish-speaking population and that the US does not have an official language.

Hours after his initial comments, Tice issued an apology.

“I apologize to Judge Hidalgo, the citizens of my County, and most importantly the entire Hispanic community for hastily acting out with transgression on social media,” he said. “I recognize how my response could have been interpreted in a derogatory manner and for that I am sorry. I immediately regretted my choice of words. I’m not proud of my behavior, that is not the example I wish to lead by. I can only hope, in time, that my actions can be forgiven.”

Hidalgo’s office also issued a response to Tice, explaining that as county judge, Hidalgo is in charge of her region’s safety and would do anything in her power, including utilizing her bilingual skillset, to prioritize their well-being.

“As the Head of Emergency Management, Hidalgo is directly responsible for the safety of all 4.5 million residents of Harris County, a third of whom are Spanish speakers,” Kiran Khalid, Hidalgo’s director of communications, said. “Judge Hidalgo represents all of Harris County and given the county’s composition and her bilingual skills, she will continue to communicate as broadly as possible especially when public safety is at stake.”

Hidalgo, 28, was one of several Democrats who won elected office in Texas in November.

Read: In Texas, These Latina Girls Produced A Virtual Reality Documentary On Gentrification In East Austin

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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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Latinas Share Why They Wanted To Teach Their Children Their Native Language

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Latinas Share Why They Wanted To Teach Their Children Their Native Language

Stephen Dunn / Getty

In a world with so much rising intersectionality and access to language tools, many still feel that passing along the traditions of their languages is necessary. Studies have shown for decades that children who grow up in an environment where they’re exposed to different languages have a pathway ahead of them that is full of promise. Particularly when it comes to education and career opportunities.

But why else do some parents find it essential to teach their children their family’s native languages?

Recently, we asked Latinas why learning their native language is important to them.

Check out the answer below!

“So they can be a voice for others in their community .” –_saryna_


“Besides the fact that bilingual kids use more of their brains. I’d like to teach my baby my native language so they can feel closer to our roots and be able to communicate/connect with our community not just in the US, but in Latin America too.” –shidume

“So that when the opportunity arises they can pursue their endeavors with nothing holding them back!” –candymtz13


“It not only helps them be multilingual, but also reminded them of their ancestry. Their roots. It builds a certain connection that cannot be broken.”-yeimi_herc


“So they can communicate with their grandparents, so they have double the opportunities growing up so they know their roots. So many reasons.”
elizabethm_herrera

“Know where you came from, being bilingual for more job opportunities later, being able to communicate with family members.”- panabori25

“I don’t have children but I think a language is tied to the culture. For me Spanish is a direct representation of how romantic and dramatic and over the top in the most beautiful way latin culture is. Also I’m Dominican and we just blend and make up words which really represents how crazy my family is.” –karenmarie15


“If I don’t and they lose ties to their people meaning my family who only speaks Spanish and Italian than I myself am harming them. As a preschool teacher I always tell parents English will happen eventually that’s the universal language but teach them their home home language the one that grandma/pa and the rest of the family speaks. They lose their identity. Sure they make up their own eventually but they must never forget where they come from.” –ta_ta1009


“So he doesn’t lose the connection to his grandmother and great grandfather who only speak spanish. So if he ever hears someone struggling to communicate he can help and feel a sense of pride in his roots/culture. 🇸🇻 plus 🤞🤞 I want him to pick up a 3rd language too!” –cardcrafted

“To give them more opportunities in life. I feel that some stories can only be told with authenticity when they’re in their native language. If you have the opportunity to do so, please do.” –titanyashigh

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