Supporting Non-Native English Speakers During the COVID-19 Crisis | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
Search
Settings
Pin It
Favorite

Supporting Non-Native English Speakers During the COVID-19 Crisis 

State and local agencies, TV stations among those offering more information in languages other than English

Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority are working to do more to get critical health and safety information to Oregonians most at risk of experiencing health disparities—including immigrants, farm workers, people of color, older people and those whose preferred language is not English. That's the latest in a growing movement to support those left out of traditional support networks, locally and statewide.

The governor and OHA announced Thursday the launch of the Safe + Strong public awareness campaign, which includes a focus on increasing outreach to potentially at-risk communities and to offering culturally relevant tools and resources in 12 languages.

click image DEREK MARKHAM, FLICKR
  • Derek Markham, Flickr

The announcement comes after health data in the state revealed that people of Hispanic descent in Oregon have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19, suffering from the virus at higher rates than the general population. 

"We know that due to historical inequities, race and income disparities can lead to devastating health impacts,” said OHA director Patrick Allen in Thursday's release. “We also know from our ongoing collaboration with community-based organizations that essential health information about how to stay safe has not been reaching many Oregonians. We’re committed to improving the health of all Oregonians by putting resources and tools in the hands of the people who need them.”

The new campaign will include a website that offers resources in Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Hmong, Somali, Chuukese and Marshallese, as well as, "a community engagement and technical assistance effort to support community organizations in reaching and assisting Oregonians across the state," according to Thursday's release.

"While the coronavirus does not discriminate in who it infects, persistent disparities in our society put many Oregonians at more risk than others,"  Gov. Brown stated in the release. "I am committed to ensuring that all Oregonians, especially those from historically-underserved communities, have the information they need to stay safe during these unprecedented times.”

Local support for the Central Oregon immigrant population


Locally, groups including the Latino Community Association and Embrace Bend have been working to support individuals and families who may need financial support during the COVID-19 shutdowns. With the CARES Act stimulus funds going only to those who filed a tax return in 2018, many immigrants or undocumented individuals have been left out of accessing relief funds.

LCA's COVID-19 Immigrant Family Relief Fund offers $400 for a single person or $750 per family for those whose hours have been reduced or who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis. People can apply at latinocommunityassociation.org

Embrace Bend, meanwhile, is collecting funds for undocumented families and individuals, and will disburse $500 payments to those in need. The group will begin reviewing applications Friday, and will begin distributing funds April 27.

Closed captioning access in Central Oregon


Meanwhile, several Central Oregon TV channels are now offering closed captioning in Spanish, in an attempt to help share important news and information with a wider audience.

Central Oregon Daily News announced Wednesday that it is now offering Spanish closed captioning on both its stations, including KOHD-ABC and KBNZ-CBS.

“The onset of COVID-19 made us realize that our mission of keeping Central Oregonians safe and informed was missing an important segment of the population," wrote Shawn Wilcox, general manager for the two stations, in a press release. "There are a significant number of Central Oregonians for whom English is a second language and we want to them to know that we value their contributions to our communities."

The closed captioning in Spanish is provided by AWS Amazon automatic machine translation. People can change the language in their closed captioning through their individual TV's menu. 

Understanding the need for critical health information, the Source Weekly has also applied for a grant to help us have our most important news stories translated into Spanish. 

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. (Blame her for everything since then.) Favorite car: A Trek commuter bike. Favorite cat: An adopted dog who looks like a Jedi master. Favorite things, besides responding to your comments: Downton Abbey re-runs, Aretha Franklin albums, and pink wine.
Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social


Latest in Local News

Give Guide


View Online

More by Nicole Vulcan

  • Pets in a Pandemic

    Pets in a Pandemic

    With so much stress out there, pets' roles as emotional caretakers have become all the more apparent. Locals share how their pets are helping out
    • Oct 14, 2020
  • Feed Your Mind at Bend Design, Online

    Feed Your Mind at Bend Design, Online

    Promoting design thinking continues amid the pandemic, with an online series of presentations, panels, films and more
    • Oct 14, 2020
  • Candy Crawl Planned in Prineville Oct. 31

    Candy Crawl Planned in Prineville Oct. 31

    A Halloween event that gives kids a way to trick or treat during this pandemic year
    • Oct 14, 2020
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2020 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation