Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Final vote on language ban tonight

Not the pro-English resolution passed in January

NashvilleForAll coalition wants "a city that works for everyone"

Ripple effect into housing discrimination, codes violations, recycling, more

The Tennessean reports here and the City Paper reports here that the Metro Council will vote for the third and final time tonight on Ordinance 1185, the proposed language ban which would prohibit any government communications in English except "when required by federal law or when necessary to protect or promote public health, safety or welfare." The ban has been called "English Only" or "English First."

The ban is not the resolution that the Council passed in January 2007 (story here) with the support of a coalition of religious, business, and immigrant-familiar groups. Tonight's crucial vote prompted that coalition to formalize itself with a web site and the name NashvilleForAll. The coalition is urging the Council to stick to the January resolution and reject the language ban up for vote tonight. Coalition leader and attorney Gregg Ramos explained the difference between the resolution and the language ban ordinance in this WKRN interview, and the NashvilleForAll web site reproduces the text of both the ordinance and the resolution here.

Citing the U.S. Census Bureau, NashvilleForAll states that "Nashvillians come from all over the world--1 in 11 Nashvillians was born outside the United States, and even more--1 in 10--speak a language other than English at home. From Spanish to Kurdish, Lao to Somali, Nashvillians have given a newly profound meaning to our nickname: Music City."

NashvilleForAll also states that the language ban "would mean MDHA could no longer inform new arrivals of their rights to be free from housing discrimination in Lao or Somali. Public Works could not encourage non-English-speaking schoolchildren to recycle. And Metro Codes' property standards division could no longer promote safe neighborhoods, by explaining how to report codes violations in Spanish."

For previous coverage of the Metro Council's proposed language ban in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook, click here. To search for all bans related to internationals that have been contemplated by the Council in recent years, including the taco ban, click here.

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook is an official supporter of NashvilleForAll and encourages its readers to contact their Council representatives before tonight, urging a "No" vote on Ordinance 1185.

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