Monday, June 1, 2015

Building Power in Many Languages

Labor Notes
May 28th, 2015



How do you organize and build unity among workers who don’t speak the same language?
As members of the Street Vendor Project trickle into their monthly meeting, leaders greet new arrivals in multiple languages: Bienvenido! Ni hao!
Meetings often run in Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Bengali, and Tibetan simultaneously—reflecting the diverse backgrounds of the group’s members, who sell chicken and rice, coffee, bagels, hot dogs, and art on street corners around New York City.
Though the organization runs on a shoestring budget, it prioritizes having professional interpreters at meetings, explains senior organizer Elise Goldin. “If you want members to participate in a meaningful way,” she says, “it’s necessary.”

How do you organize and build unity among workers who don’t speak the same language?
As members of the Street Vendor Project trickle into their monthly meeting, leaders greet new arrivals in multiple languages: Bienvenido! Ni hao!
Meetings often run in Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Bengali, and Tibetan simultaneously—reflecting the diverse backgrounds of the group’s members, who sell chicken and rice, coffee, bagels, hot dogs, and art on street corners around New York City.
Though the organization runs on a shoestring budget, it prioritizes having professional interpreters at meetings, explains senior organizer Elise Goldin. “If you want members to participate in a meaningful way,” she says, “it’s necessary.”
- See more at: http://www.labornotes.org/2015/05/building-power-many-languages#sthash.txZ2q1bu.dpuf

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