Demand for Equality in City Services
September 19, 2003
By Maxy Sosa
Each time 62-year-old Inocencia Nolasco found herself
in a situation where she had no choice but to solicit help at the
she felt “confused and humiliated.”
Nolasco, who is
from the Dominican Republic and now lives in Brooklyn, found herself
in need of welfare benefits when she lost her job
after becoming ill. The request for benefits was a torturous process
for Nolasco because she was unable to communicate in English with
the social worker assigned to her case and because the welfare
office made little effort to grant her a translator or interpreter.
Nolasco, and a sizable group of other people who had found themselves
in a similar situation took their complaints to
the appropriate authorities. At twelve noon, members of the community
organization Make the Road by Walking gathered in front of the
main offices of New York City’s Human Resources Administration.
demonstration would have passed unnoticed were it not for two things.
First off, the demonstrators brought with them 10,000 cards
signed by New Yorkers demanding the implementation of translation
services. In addition, Verna Eggleston, commissioner of the Human
Resources Administration, listened to the group and assured them
that her office in conjunction with the Mayor’s office would
put into practice the necessary changes to meet their demands.
At 1:00 p.m. the group went over to the City Council offices where
they rallied for the passage of Intro 38, a new bill introduced
by councilman John Liu which has the support of 43 council members
including that of Council Speaker Gifford Miller.
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Translated from Spanish by Valeria Treves