By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Community Board 12 will become the first board in the city to have translation equipment at their meetings, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said Wednesday.
The equipment will provide simultaneous translation of board meetings for the neighborhood's predominant Spanish-speaking population. The goal is to get more residents involved in their community.
"When I first came to New York from the Dominican Republic, I initially spoke only Spanish," Rodriguez said in a statement, adding that language barriers had made it difficult for him to participate in city government. "For my immigrant brothers and sisters in the Community Board 12 area, access to this simultaneous translation equipment represents a huge leap in making sure that all residents of our city can be a part of the governmental process."
Latinos make up 80 percent in Community Board 12's district, and participate in politics at slightly lower rates than other ethnic communties in the city, the statement said. It attributed that discrepency to language barriers.
"I am proud that we have taken this important step, and I hope we can extend these services to other parts of the city as well," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in a statement. "They are long overdue."