Our View: Uniting our community
When we decided to publish a page of news in Spanish, we anticipated some opposition to the idea.
Two people exercised their right to complain about the page. One person canceled his subscription and another called the editor to say she thought there should be a separate publication for news in Spanish. Her reasoning: she’s a subscriber and she’s paying for something she has no use for.
That’s a valid point. However, we publish in excess of 140 pages of newsprint a week. We think setting aside a page or two a week for news in Spanish is a pretty small way of acknowledging the changing demographics of our community.
We also received a lot of positive feedback, not only from the people who can read the page in Spanish, but also from local residents not of Hispanic descent who thought it was well-timed and a good way to bridge the culture gap. Advertisers have expressed interest in reaching out to this untapped market.
We think a good community newspaper should reflect its readership. We do various things to reach out to different segments of the community — senior citizens, students, parents, business owners and church members, for example. We think reaching out to the Hispanic community follows the same philosophy.
The growth of the Hispanic community is a well-recognized fact. Some people have made no secret of their belief that people who move here from south of the border should learn to speak English. We agree that learning English is one of the best things immigrants can do to secure their futures in America. But we also understand how hard it is to learn a new language.
Having spoken to a number of current and former Yampa Valley residents who came here from Mexico, we know they want to be a part of the community. But they don’t have access to information about events, services or even opportunities to learn English. The intent of La Vecindad is to make immigrants feel valued and to encourage them to become more involved. We think a page in Spanish will help integrate the community, not further divide it.
The page gives native Spanish speakers an opportunity to understand some of the forces that are shaping our community, including their effect on the economy. We will use La Vecindad to promote the idea of integration and encourage readers of the page to take steps to become more fully engaged in the community.
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