Must state government and communities with large Hispanic populations do more to communicate with Spanish-speaking residents, especially during emergency responses? CT Latino News raises the question in an article about emergency practices. The article suggests not enough is being done.
When Mayor Bill Finch appears on Bridgeport-based Radio Cumbre he brings along a translator such as Town Clerk Alma Maya. Pablo Colón III, the station’s vice president, argues efforts on a state level must be comprehensive beyond emergencies. From the article:
Several representatives of Spanish-language media outlets related their experiences on getting information from the state in times of crisis, as well as what they say is the lack of paid advertising on public safety issues during a fact-finding hearing held Wednesday by the state’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
When Sandy was approaching, Bridgeport’s Radio Cumbre (WCUM) took a proactive approach, interviewing the mayor and other city officials to find out what their local plans were for dealing with the storm and what residents should do to prepare themselves, reported Pablo Colón III, the station’s vice president of sales and marketing. “I think there’s a level of decentralization of all the departments within the state,” he said, with each having its own ways of getting information out, “and maybe not all of them know we exist.”
“It’s a much larger issue than just information around emergencies. You have to look at budgeting for marketing and communication,” Colón said. When the state undertakes an informational program intended to help everybody, such as about not drinking and driving, “when the laws are being written, I think it’s really important that the marketing (dollars) are split. “Bridgeport, for example, is nearly 40% percent Latino. It’s not (just) ‘let’s get a person to do press releases,'” Colón said. All state communication efforts–whether press releases or paid advertising–should include the Spanish-language media. “A lot of the stuff we do in emergencies we do out of duty, we do for love,” not because it helps pay the bills, he said.