Reaction to Alaska Voting Rights Ruling

first_imgPlaintiffs in a voting rights lawsuit are reacting to news that a Federal Court Judge has ruled in their favor. Wednesday a judge ruled that the State of Alaska violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide translations into Native languages.Download AudioJudge Sharon Gleason found the State of Alaska violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide translations of voting materials to voters whose primary language is Gwich’in or Yup’ik.Benjaman Nukusuk is the Tribal Chief for the Native Village of Hooper Bay, a plaintiff in the case.“I was very pleased because the elders of the Y-K Delta want to know what they’re voting on and who they’re voting for and why and our elders by nature are very articulate and precise in what that want, especially when it comes to things that matter for our people and the things of our Y-K Delta.”Judge Gleason issued the partial decision after presiding over a two-week trial in June and July. Native American Rights Fund Attorneys argued the state’s voting materials in Yup’ik and Gwich’in were inaccurately translated and poorly distributed. NARF Attorney Natalie Landreth says the law the state was supposed to be following passed in 1975.“We’re obviously extremely pleased and relieved but the reality is that the case, the decision and the changes that it’s supposed to bring are 40 years overdue.JudgeGleason gave the state until Friday to indicate what changes they can make before the November 4th general election. Landreth says she hopes the state will deliver comprehensive translations.“There’s a hundred-page voter information pamphlet that goes out every election in English and the reality is that Yup’ik speaking voters are entitled to all of that information before they go vote and so what we want to see is some plan to make sure that Yup’ik speaking voters will learn about the candidates, the ballot measures, the bond measures, the judges, everything on there.”The Department of Law has said it will work with the Division of Elections to draft a proposal. Judge Gleason has not yet ruled on whether the state intentionally violated voter’s rights on the basis race or color.last_img read more

US Embassy swears in newest Peace Corps volunteers in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica not alone as it waits for a new US ambassador Solís welcomes senior US Foreign Service officer on brief 3-country tour New ambassadors from Canada, EU, UK arrive in Costa Rica Costa Rica’s new ambassador to US to focus on child migrants, foreign investment The newest class of Costa Rica Peace Corps volunteers was sworn in at a ceremony at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in Escazú Wednesday morning. The 18 volunteers, whose ages range from 22 to 32, will be working alongside the Education Ministry and nongovernmental organizations on youth development issues, including sexual and reproductive health, education, gender equality, leadership and teaching English as a second language.The Peace Corps arrived in Costa Rica in 1963, two years after President John F. Kennedy founded the program. Since then, Costa Rica has distinguished itself with a development agenda focused on education, universal health care and conservation that President Luis Guillermo Solís trumpeted during an address to the United Nations on Wednesday.Costa Rica is a relatively developed country, but more work remains in many areas, said Laura Borel, director of Peace Corps training here.“Without a doubt, in some countries where Peace Corps operates the needs are much greater. Here in Costa Rica the programs are strategically located in rural communities that might have their basic needs met but need support in youth development, health and community development,” Borel said. The 18 sworn in Wednesday are all working in youth development programs.Borel noted that successful Peace Corps volunteers need to have an open mind and work with their community.“At the beginning there is a lot to learn. It’s not like this person is here to save world,” she said. “Peace Corps volunteers are one more member of the community. They’re not someone who shows up and then leaves, or is only interested in their niche. It’s someone who wants to get to know people, get involved, learn about the culture.”That desire to learn was what motivated Arnaldo Pérez, from New York, to sign up for the Peace Corps. Costa Rica’s diversity was one of the first things that stood out for Pérez, who will be based in the Caribbean slope town of Guápiles.“I never thought of Costa Rica as being eclectic place, but there are lots of nationalities who live here that are Tico now,” Pérez said, referring to people of indigenous, Chinese and African decent, among others, who live in Costa Rica.If Costa Rica’s diversity surprised Pérez, the diversity of the United States seems to have the same impact on his Tico friends. Pérez and Andrea Guerrero, another volunteer with whom The Tico Times spoke, are Dominican- and Mexican-American, respectively. They said the Peace Corps gives them a chance to represent the U.S. as well as their families’ cultures.“They have this picture of the face of someone who was born in the United States. They see me and say, you look a little brown,” he said, “so I explain I’m descended from the Dominican Republic. It’s an exchange of three different cultures. It’s always interesting.”Guerrero, who is from Los Angeles and will be based in Los Chiles, Alajuela, had a similar experience. “The first question is, why aren’t you blonde with blue eyes?” she said. “In The United States there is a lot of diversity and a lot of different cultures. I was born in the U.S., I’m Mexican-American, so I represent another culture besides the U.S.”Currently 143 Peace Corps volunteers are active in Costa Rica, according to the U.S. Embassy in San José. During the last 50 years, more than 3,300 U.S. citizens have served in the Peace Corps here working in community economic development, youth development and teaching English as a second language.“We’re all learning,” Guerrero said. “Tell me about you and I’ll tell you about me.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more