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

Beto O’Rourke Campaign Launches Spanish-Langauge Twitter Account To Reach The Larger Latino Community

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Beto O’Rourke Campaign Launches Spanish-Langauge Twitter Account To Reach The Larger Latino Community

betoorourke / Instagram

The 2020 presidential campaigns are in full swing and the candidates are all trying to reach as many voters as possible. In that attempt, the Beto O’Rourke campaign has launched a Spanish-language Twitter account. The account, called Beto en español, is brand new and will be live-tweeting O’Rourke’s participation in the Democratic presidential debates tomorrow. Here’s why the O’Rourke campaign decided to address the Spanish speaking community via social media.

Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is using his platform to reach out to Spanish-speaking voters.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“Beto is committed to going everywhere and talking to everyone, even when their native language is not English,” Claudia Tristán, the director of Latinx messaging for the O’Rourke campaign tells mitú. “He learned Spanish in his native El Paso, a community on the U.S.-Mexico border where many residents are bilingual. As an elected official representing the border, he has always used Spanish to communicate with his constituents, regularly holding town halls, taking questions in both English and Spanish.”

Tristán explains that O’Rourke wants to use the same strategy of his political career to give attention and information to the Spanish-speaking community.

The attacks on the Latino community, both through rhetoric from the Trump administration and the shooting in El Paso, solidified the importance of the campaign to address Spanish-speaking constituents.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“As a native of El Paso, part of the largest bi-national community in the Western Hemisphere, reaching out to and standing up for the Latinx community has been a top priority for Beto throughout his campaign,” Tristán says. “On the trail, he has prioritized meeting with Latinx voters, engaging with Latinx media and is boldly speaking out against the discriminatory attacks President Trump has waged against the Latinx community.  This Twitter account is an extension of Beto’s in-person Spanish-language outreach to voters.”

There are more than 40 million Spanish-speakers living in the U.S. Many of the younger generations are bilingual with parents who rely predominately on Spanish to communicate.

Tristán admits that O’Rourke using Spanish in his speeches is important to her and her family.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“I know for my mom and abuelita it really resonated for them when they heard Beto express solidarity with the community, in their preferred language, that means something,” Tristán recalls after the El Paso shooting. “That is incredibly profound.”

@BetoParaTodos is going to be part of a larger push to utilize O’Rourke’s Spanish to communicate with voters.

“Beto understands that it is an important part in communicating with this vastly diverse community,” Tristán explains. She adds: “Establishing this online communication channel allows Beto and the campaign to regularly and consistently have interactions with voters in Spanish.”

Tristán highlights the candidate’s upbringing in the bilingual and multiracial community of El Paso as shaping his policies and campaign tactics.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

O’Rourke grew up in El Paso surrounded by immigrants and eventually went on to represent the community in Congress. His outlook on the world and the future of the country have been influenced and shaped by his experience living in and representing a large and vibrant immigrant community.

“In the wake of one of the deadliest attacks on the Latinx community where hate was brought into his hometown, Beto has redoubled his efforts to call out the hateful, racist rhetoric of Donald Trump, has reinforced his commitment to visiting with people targeted by Trump’s harmful policies, will continue to uplift them and tell their stories,” Tristán says.

As a candidate for the office of President of the United States, O’Rourke wants to uplift the stories of those he has fought for.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“Beto is committed to engaging with the Latinx community in a meaningful way: to listen and show up for them, and demonstrate solidarity at a time where they feel hunted and afraid,” Tristán says. “Beto is not only boldly speaking out against Donald Trump and his racist policies targeting the Latinx community, but is also reaching out to Latinx voters to better address their needs and concerns on a range of issues and in a meaningful way that moves this country forward.”

READ: After The Shooting In El Paso, Beto O’Rourke Calls On Media To Call Out Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric

AOC Opened Up To Users On Twitter About Struggling To Speak Spanish Fluently And The Support She Received Is Inspiring

Things That Matter

AOC Opened Up To Users On Twitter About Struggling To Speak Spanish Fluently And The Support She Received Is Inspiring

Despite popular beliefs, not everyone who is Latino or of Latino descent speaks or understands Spanish. You can take a look at some of the most prominent faces in our community as an example of this. Selena Quintanilla sang her songs in Spanish but didn’t really grasp the language until later in her short life. Actors and singers like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Mark Consuelos and even Eva Longoria have said that the language is not one they are able to speak fluently. Even Presidential hopeful Julian Castro has admitted to not knowing it fluently.

Recently, in a conversation with Univision Nueva York, U.S. Senate superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted that for her, Spanish is an ongoing muscle she has to train.

On Thursday evening, the Congresswoman posted about speaking Spanish during a Univision Nueva York interview about the Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez frequently uses Spanish in her interactions with the public. While her handle of the language seems pretty alright by us, it was clear in the comment section of her post that the topic she brought up with controversial.

Many users were quick to praise AOC for highlighting the issue.

After all, Spanish is a language that is used by 13 percent of the country. That’s a pretty big group. Moreover, with so many migrants coming to the U.S. each year (not all being Spanish speakers or Latin American immigrants BTW) there is value in ensuring we allow other cultures to grow and flourish in this country as well. Diversity can only make us better.

Of course, that’s not the only thing that sparked conversation.

AOC’s use of the term Latinx really sent some people into a tizzy.

The term Latinx, while appreciated by many in the Latin American community, has proved to be controversial for others in recent years. Backlash over the term primarily occurs because of its suggested push for “political correctness.” And to that, we say: is there really anything wrong with trying to be inclusive?

Of course, many were quick to support and encourage AOC on fine-tuning her Spanish.

After all, not only are we not all perfect, studies have shown that practicing and learning new languages helps with brain function and understanding of other cultures. What’s more, when it comes to Spanish, more and more people are learning the language. According to the U.S. census, our country is home to 41 million native Spanish speakers. That’s 13% of the population.

AOC word’s clearly struck a chord with her audience.

So if you’re learning Spanish, don’t know it yet but want to learn, or are just working the muscle of the language, keep up the hard work. Being smart and educated takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it.