- Nicole Eitzen
EVC Is Going...Bilingual: Our Website Is Now Available in Spanish
Since our founding, EVC has been strengthened by the resiliency, creativity, joys, and optimism of New York City’s immigrant population who improve the lives of all Americans with their dreams and aspirations for a better future. In recent years, the New York City public high school system has seen a surge of migrant youth from Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean. These young people–including economic migrants, political refugees and asylum seekers–face possible disruptions to their educational journeys as they work towards their English language proficiency. We have met these emerging young New Yorkers in our classrooms and are deeply moved and inspired by their ability to make new lives for themselves in America, remain rooted in their histories and traditions, and better our city by sharing their unique talents, experiences, and transnational perspectives.
To continue to meet these young people where they are, at their cultural funds of knowledge and whole selves, EVC is doubling down on its commitment to empower migrant youth by increasing the amount and reach of our bilingual and Spanish media arts programming and by hiring and training educators who reflect these youth. In this way, students can continue to accrue credits towards graduation and become acclimated to life in America while also gaining a creative outlet to tell their own stories, in their own languages while learning English, and among a group of their peers–often bonded by the shared, yet often difficult, experience of migration.
To further show up for these young people while affirming their identities and lived experiences, we have decided to translate our website into Spanish. Why? Because some 60% of our students are of Latin American descent and many of those students come from Spanish-only households. Unless we do something about it, our students’ caretakers will be systematically excluded from accessing key information about their own young person’s education. By making our website accessible to Spanish speakers, we not only increase the likelihood that migrant youth will learn about our free media arts programs in New York City. We can also provide our students with key terms and language to share with their friends and family as they communicate what they’re learning in our classrooms. But beyond that, we want to be more accountable to the populations we serve. For, if our students’ advocates do not know our stated goals and efforts, how will they speak up when we fall short of our promises or provide their input as we grow in new directions?
Since EVC already has a handful of bilingual people on staff, the English barrier has been relatively easy for us to cross yet the impact of translating our website into Spanish may be monumental. Because of this, our decision to bolster our current website through the inclusion of the Spanish language has been simple. At EVC, we believe that our organization should reflect the demographics of our city; and, we’re proud to say, ours is a diverse and ever-changing one.
Please join us as we celebrate the launch of the Spanish version of our EVC website and stay tuned as we continue to adapt to meet the evolving needs of New York City’s young people.