Demand for Equality in City Services
From Hoy
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 welfare office, 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.

Yesterday, 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.

The 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

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