Things That Matter

Nurses At A Florida Clinic Are Claiming That They Were Told They’d Be Fired If They Spoke Spanish To Each Other

When applying to most local, federal, and government jobs, one of the skills that a majority of employers look for is whether or not the applicant speaks Spanish. Being bilingual in English and Spanish in this country is beneficial to the employer, their customers, and the employee because typically the job is supposed to have a better salary. There are also some places in the country that have large populations of people who speak Spanish and are more comfortable functioning in that language.

There are an estimated 41 million people that speak Spanish in the U.S., or 13 percent of the population, according to Babble. So, speaking Spanish isn’t — at least it should be — a big deal, in fact, it’s quite common. But in Trump America, it’s another story. 

Seven female workers with the Florida Department of Health are coming forward to say they have gotten direct instructions not to speak Spanish in the office. 

Credit: @geronimoproduc1 / Twitter

The women say that even though they were hired because of their Spanish-speaking skills, so they could communicate better with their patients, they are now told not to speak the language with one another in the office. 

“We speak in English to the Anglo-Saxons because we are polite, but we speak Spanish with each other because we think in Spanish,” MairylÍ Miranda, a nurse, told El Nuevo DÍa. “But one day they gathered us all together and warned us that if we continued to do so, we would be fired. But there is no law that bans us from speaking Spanish.”

The seven women on the complaint work at a Florida Department of Health clinic in Haines City, and are also all Puerto Rican. 

Credit: @MDBlanchfield / Twitter

Aside from nurses, the employees on the complaint include an administrative assistant and a secretary. The Florida Department of Health has yet to make a public comment about these allegations. They also allege that management has been on them to stop speaking Spanish for quite some time, but it has only gotten worse in the past year. An official harassment report has been filed to the police department, but the women said nothing has yet to be done.

“It feels like you’re a criminal like you’re doing something that is wrong,” Miranda said, according to Bay News 9. “Never in my life did I think I was going to go through a situation like this one.”

Some people may assume that these employees are speaking Spanish in a way that others may think is rude. But they claim they are very professional at work and never speak Spanish around someone that may not understand them.

While these claims aren’t surprising, especially under this tense and traumatic Trump-era racism, it’s reassuring to know that state and local officials are supporting these employees.

Credit: @relevanne / Twitter

“Haines City is a well-diversified community,” Haines City Mayor Morris West said in a conference, according to the Palm Beach Post. “The facility that’s in question is in Haines City but is not a city of Haines City facility. I stand on behalf of these nurses that’s been [facing] allegations of discrimination against them. Haines City and my staff stand ready to support you nurses from any discrimination.”

Other advocates of these women include Respeta Mi Gente Coalition, which includes Alianza for Progress, Boricua Vota, Hispanic Federation, Misión Boricua, and Organize Florida. U.S. Rep. Darren Soto is also backing these women. 

It’s important to note that the United States does not have an official language.

Credit: @livesinpages / Twitter

For all those people yelling at others, demanding them to speak Spanish, they should know English is not the official language in the U.S

There is nothing in the Constitution that states people in the United States, both citizens or otherwise, have to speak English and English only. Scholars say that the Founding Fathers didn’t include a clause about the English language because immigrants of the 13 colonies spoke other languages, including Dutch, French, and German. Native Americans spoke different languages as well. 

Lawmakers in the past, as recent as 2006, have attempted to make English the official language but thankfully, because of our democracy, the votes have never gone past the House. That doesn’t mean local and government officials haven’t tried to force English on everyone. It’s just part of our assimilation whether we like it or not. 

So the next time someone is yelling racist things such as “stop speaking Spanish” just yell back “English is not the official language of this country. Bye!” 

READ: A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

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Biden/Harris Campaign Appeals To Latino Youths In New Ads Weeks Before Election

Things That Matter

Biden/Harris Campaign Appeals To Latino Youths In New Ads Weeks Before Election

Olivier Douliery / AFP via Getty Images

Politicians understand that courting a broad and diverse coalition of voters is the key to winning the election. That is what paved the way for the 2008 victory of President Barack Obama as well as the House and Senate during the same election. So far, early voting numbers for young voters are way higher than this point in the 2016 election.

The Biden/Harris campaign is going strong to secure the youth vote days before the election.

The youth vote is an elusive vote and has always been. Presiden Barack Obama successfully brought the youth vote out in 2008 and that led to a sweep by Democrats in the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. The Biden/Harris campaign is hoping for a similar youth turnout in this election to secure their path to the White House.

Biden and Harris are hoping to turn out young Latino voters.

Latinos are a large electoral voting bloc in the 2020 elections. For the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbers the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. This is a major step into democracy for the Latino community.

Youth voters are currently turning out in early voting in record numbers.

In Florida, current early and absentee voting numbers are showing almost 100,000 more early and absentee youth voters than this time in the 2016 election. Some of the increase in participation in early voting among young voters is pandemic still raging in the U.S. There is also an enthusiasm among young voters to get out and vote.

The 2020 election is energizing similar numbers to the 2008 election between President Obama and Sen. John McCain.

According to polling, 63 percent of voters between 18-29 said they are definitely voting in the 2020 election. This is a major increase in voter participation in 2016 and 2018. The number of young people planning to vote this year is much greater than the 47 percent who said they would vote in 2016 and the 40 percent who planned to vote in 2018. Polling further found that 60 percent of young voters strongly favor Biden in the upcoming election.

There is a lot of appreciation for the young people who are turning up and voting for their future.

This is shaping up to be the most important elections in our lifetime. The rights of several marginalized communities are at stake and access to affordable healthcare is being threatened. In the midst of a pandemic, there is a legal challenge by the Trump administration against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

One of the most crucial parts of the ACA that would be erased if it is overturned is protections for those with pre-existing conditions. President Trump has often spoken about protecting those with pre-existing conditions but striking down the ACA would also eliminate those protections. There has been no plan to replace the ACA presented by the Trump administration or the Republican Party.

READ: Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

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Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

Things That Matter

Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

In Joe Biden’s recent CNN-moderated town hall meeting, an undecided voter described her mother’s health problems and ensuing financial struggles. 

“My mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma  two years ago at the age of 66,” said the woman. “The cost of her care has been astronomical. However, my family has been fortunate that both she and my father have long careers at good companies that afforded them the opportunity to save for retirement, which is helping to pay for her care.”

The undecided voter then posed a question to Joe Biden: “What is your plan to make healthcare affordable so Americans don’t need to drain their savings?”

Biden, as usual, responded with passion. “What I would do is make sure we reinstate the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “And add the public option to that so that nobody in the United States of America would go without being able to be covered for what they need.” He added, “Healthcare is not a privilege, it’s a right”. 

The undecided voter Biden spoke with isn’t the only one worried about the costs associated with healthcare. Latinos are worried too. 

Like 25-year-old Isabella Prado (a third generation Mexican-American) of Denver, Colorado, who doesn’t know what her health insurance plan is once she turns 26 and is no longer on her mom’s Medicaid plan. “I’m not even that old but I’m already having problems,” she told Mitú. “And I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, what am I going to do when I don’t have health insurance?”

Latino voters, by and large, seem to agree with Prado’s concerns. In a survey conducted by Telemundo in conjunction with Buzzfeed, it was found that 51% of Latino voters between the ages of 18 and 35 said that “affordable healthcare for all” is one of the motivating factors behind their desire to vote. 

Prado explained to Mitú that she believes healthcare is a right. “Somebody doesn’t choose to be unhealthy, or choose to have cancer or choose to have psychological problems. That’s not a choice,” she explained. “Because somebody can’t afford healthcare, they deserve to die? Or somebody with cancer and they can’t afford the treatment?”

The Trump Administration and the Republican Party have made it abundantly clear that they do not believe healthcare is a universal right. 

“America didn’t become great through handouts,” Trump told Bloomberg Politics in 2016. “You have some guy with no college degree working a minimum wage job; no ambition, no goals, nothing to show for it. Yet for some reason, the [Obama] administration believes he – and millions of people like him, should have access to health insurance. It’s outrageous.”

As Biden further explained in his Town Hall meeting, now is not the time to be taking access to affordable healthcare lightly. “In the middle of this pandemic, what’s the president doing? He’s in federal court trying to do away with the Affordable Care Act.”  

Prado also agreed that President Trump’s failure to lead America effectively through the COVID-19 crisis is unforgivable. 

“It’s honestly disgusting,” she told Mitú. “For someone like my mom who has preexisting health conditions, who has heart failure, her life literally depends on people taking this seriously. When the leader of your country doesn’t even take it seriously, how is anybody else supposed to?”

Biden agrees, explaining in his town hall meeting that the devastating impact of COVID-19 proves, without a doubt, that the time to expand access to affordable healthcare is now. 

“We have to make sure…that any costs relating to COVID are, in fact, free. [And that] the Federal Government guarantees it,” Biden said. “One of the reasons why people aren’t going in and getting tested is because they’re afraid of the bill they’re going to receive. They’re afraid of what’s going to happen.”

As voters from marginalized communities, it can be easy to feel helplessness when these major issues loom large. But it is worth repeating: your vote does matter. 

Togethers, Millenials and Gen Zers make up 37% of eligible voters, surpassing the electorate of Baby Boomers. Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the United States, making up 13.3% of all eligible voters.The future is in our hands. Some elections are razor-thin, relying on swing states like Florida or Arizona to determine their outcomes.

The time to create a voting plan–whether it’s early voting, mail-in voting, or in-person voting the day-of–is now. If you support expanded access to affordable healthcare coverage, voting early is a great way to show your support.

Go to IWillVote.com or VoyaVotar.com and text TODOS to 30330 today to learn what voting choices you have in your community and get information on where and when to vote. Every single one of us needs to do our part. The future depends on it.

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