Esperanza Gonzalez sat in her community planning group meeting. The room was filled with leaders and community members she knew, people she had worked with for eight years on an infrastructure project in her neighborhood. One by one, each person got up to provide their testimony in support of the project. But because the meeting was being held in English without interpretation, Esperanza had to sit anxiously in silence, waiting for someone to tell her what the community planning group members had decided.
"It was unjust and frustrating that I couldn’t participate in the discussions about my own community. It was really important for me to understand what they were talking about since the project was so important to me."
In a richly diverse border city like San Diego, full community participation is critical to democracy. In 2019, EHC successfully advocated for City funding for interpretation services at community planning group meetings in the City of San Diego so residents like Esperanza are not excluded from full participation in their community decision-making.
From meetings of city councils to community planning groups, we believe that everyone has the right to participate in decision-making that affects the health of their families and communities. No one should feel that their voice is being silenced because of the language they speak.