Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging

Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging
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A group of Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members asked Monday for Congress to fund coronavirus-response messaging in languages other than English.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders of both parties, the members asked "that any further legislation include robust funding for the development and dissemination of all official public health information, announcements, and proclamations in multiple languages on radio and television networks."

"Over the past several days, we have learned that our non-English speaking constituents have had limited access to reliable information concerning the COVID-19 response, including official documents, announcements and proclamations from local, state, and federal officials," the members wrote to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Pelosi on Baltimore's Columbus statue: 'If the community doesn't want the statue, the statue shouldn't be there' MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention McCarthy calls NY requests for Trump tax returns political MORE (R-Calif.).

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"The lack of information and prevalence of disinformation have demonstrated the urgent need for announcements to be disseminated effectively and in a multi-lingual way," they added.

The letter was signed by Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Jesús García (Ill.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M), Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs The Hill's Coronavirus Report: CDC predicts US death toll could reach 145,000 by July 11; Premier President Michael Alkire says more resiliency needed in health supply chain Hillicon Valley: Senate Republicans, DOJ target Section 230 | Facial recognition under the spotlight | Zoom launches E2E encrypted beta MORE (Calif.), Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaTexas lawmakers ask HHS to set up field hospital, federal resources in the state Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Texas Democrats call for new stay-at-home order MORE (Texas), Norma TorresNorma Judith TorresRep. Torres asks for stronger provisions in police reform bill House Rules Committee approves remote voting during pandemic House Democrats push for virtual naturalization ceremonies in next coronavirus relief package MORE (Calif.), Tony Cárdenas (Calif.), Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Lawmaker-linked businesses received PPP loans Democrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers MORE (Fla.), Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president 1 suspect dead, 1 arrested in disappearance of US soldier MORE (Texas), Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Florida lawmakers press Interior on offshore drilling Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package MORE (Fla.), Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs House panel votes to limit Trump's Germany withdrawal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - As virus concerns grow, can it get worse for Trump? MORE (Ariz.), Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Democrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate MORE (Texas), Raul RuizRaul RuizHouse Democrat who's a physician calls on Trump to 'man up' and wear mask In Trump response to coronavirus, left sees environmental injustice House coronavirus bill aims to prevent utility shutoffs MORE (Calif.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (Calif.), and Grace NapolitanoGraciela (Grace) Flores NapolitanoHispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging MORE (Calif.).

The response to the coronavirus crisis, and its accompanying public service announcements, has for the most part been delivered in English by the federal government, despite the around 25 million Americans who are not proficient in the English language.

"In the absence of medical treatments or vaccines, we know that one of the few means to halt the spread of the virus is through preventive actions by the public," wrote the CHC members.

"Therefore, local, state, and federal public officials must communicate clear and concise messages that are targeted to local audiences, available in the media they regularly utilize, and in the languages they primarily speak at home," they added.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information is available online in Spanish and Simplified Chinese, but on a more limited basis than English-language information.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a language action plan that includes 19 widely-spoken languages, but it has not yet been fully activated to deal with the coronavirus response.

And non-English-language messaging has been slow to reach the communities it targets, increasing the chances of contagion among those populations.

In one case, the CHC's campaign arm, Bold PAC, made a federal one-page information sheet available in Spanish before the federal government published its own translation, a day after publishing the original in English.

In their letter, the CHC members ask for funding to be included not only to translate the materials, but to make them available through media consumed regularly by language-diverse populations.

"Reaching our non-English speaking communities will enable us to more effectively curb the spread of this virus," wrote the members.