Voters side with two mayors, new Council to defeat English Only
An English Only proposal was defeated Thursday night in Nashville after over 40,000 voters stood up in opposition to the measure. The rejection aligns Nashville’s voters with the current Metro Council, current Mayor Karl Dean, and Dean’s predecessor Bill Purcell.
Former Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed a similar measure when it came across his desk in 2007; current Mayor Karl Dean has vigorously opposed this year’s version; and the current Metro Council passed a resolution by a 3-1 margin urging Nashville voters not to sign the petition putting the measure on the ballot in the first place.
English Only was defeated tonight by a margin of 57-43%. Amendment #2 failed by an even larger margin. An unprecedented, citywide coalition formed in opposition to both measures.
Filed under About Nashville for All of Us, Action, Amendment #2, Faith, Freedom, Hospitality, Litigation, Safety, Stewardship, Terminology, Testimonials, The importance of learning English, Who brought this to Nashville?
Image by Alexandre Duret-Lutz. Licensed via Creative Commons.
Even with approximately 70 posts to date, this blog has not reproduced all of the written opposition to English Only in Nashville, nor could it ever. Because today is the day of the special election and the last day to vote, however, the best we can do with the “waiting list” of those comments, letters, columns, blog posts, other statements of support, and news that have so far gone unpublished here is to link to as much of them as we can in list form below.
Our apologies to those whose public statements and endorsements have not been included here – and there are many of you. We know that everyone who has spoken out against the charter amendments in any context is a part of this effort.
Thank you! Continue reading
Filed under About Nashville for All of Us, Action, Faith, Freedom, Hospitality, Litigation, Safety, Stewardship, Terminology, Testimonials, The importance of learning English, Who brought this to Nashville?
Alan Valentine, President/CEO of the Nashville Symphony, urged board members to vote against both charter amendments, citing a threat to the Symphony itself. Michael Cass of the Tennessean has the whole story here. This is an excerpt:
“Amendment Two: This would make it much easier to make changes to the Metro Charter (like English Only) by drastically lowering the number of signatures required to bring such amendments onto a ballot. This would make our city’s governing charter subject to special interests, and this could be done as often as once a year. This amendment would reduce the effectiveness of our Metro Government and weaken our stable business environment. And, BTW, the City of Nashville is **required** by the terms of the City Charter to provide annual financial support to the Nashville Symphony (yes, we are mentioned by name in the Charter); if this measure succeeds, you can be sure that some group of people who do not value our city’s cultural institutions will seek to remove that requirement from the Charter, not long after this measure passes.
“As academic leaders, we are concerned about the impact – literal and symbolic – on our mission”
The presidents of nine of Nashville’s most respected institutions of higher learning – Aquinas, American Baptist, Belmont, Fisk, Lipscomb,
Meharry, TSU, Trevecca and Vanderbilt – submitted the following joint statement to The Tennessean in opposition to English Only:
In just a few short days, county residents will go to the polls to decide the fate of the “English-only” amendment that has been proposed for our Metro Charter.
This is not the first time that this proposal has been before the democratic processes in our county. A previous attempt to enact this legislation was halted by the courageous veto of former Mayor Bill Purcell. We have also seen current Mayor Karl Dean stand firm in his opposition. Both of these leaders saw the passage of this legislation not only as unnecessary but as damaging to Nashville.
It is especially important that the higher education community in Nashville be heard on this issue. It is the obligation of institutions of higher education to help their communities think critically about important issues of public policy, especially when the policies have a deep and lasting impact on these communities.
Read more here or at the original Tennessean link. Continue reading
Photo Credit: Gwendolen Cates
Irish-born Nashville singer Maura O’Connell will canvass door-to-door against English Only, reports Beverly Keel of the Tennessean.
O’Connell told Keel:
I don’t know that there was such a difficult time given to those people years ago as it is now. The younger generation will always learn English and assimilate.
Read the Tennesseean story here.
O’Connell’s singing career spans a dozen albums and includes appearances with artists such as Dolly Parton, Van Morrison, and Rosanne Cash.
O’Connell was also cast by Martin Scorsese in his 19th century epic The Gangs of New York. She played the role of an immigrant street singer.
My name is Helia, and I work for the Tennessee Foreign Language Instititute (TFLI). I started teaching languages in 1992 – first teaching my native language German at Berlitz and later teaching as a private tutor, which was more fun and more profitable.
I started working for the TFLI in 1997 and I have taught German (and later ESL) ever since. It was not until I took the TESL course in 2001, however, that I wholeheartedly started to enjoy teaching. The TESL training replaced my ‘pick-and-choose’ approaches with a solid foundation to foster learning success. I have since developed several Professional Development Courses for ESL and foreign language teachers based on the principles of TESL.
As a long time ESL instructor, teacher trainer, and court interpreter, I have met and continue to meet countless amazing people who do their best to learn English while working several low-paying jobs and facing tremendous odds. Continue reading
National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators
The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) and the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (TAPIT) sent a letter to Mayor Karl Dean in which they strongly oppose English Only. Here are excerpts:
We strongly oppose the Nashville charter amendment because it is a dangerous and misguided initiative. Proposals of this type can, and have created severe and confusing barriers, not only for limited-English proficient (LEP) individuals, but also for government officials, resulting in denial of equal access, equal protection, and basic human rights.
We in NAJIT and TAPIT work daily with speakers of other languages, and we know that most of them have a strong and sincere desire to communicate in English. They do not willfully avoid speaking English out of stubbornness or spite; they recognize the value of being able to converse with the broader society in its own language. If this initiative passed, Nashville will be the only major city in our country to have an English-only law. It is unfortunate that those pushing for this divisive ballot measure have not focused their energies on the creation of better facilities and opportunities for learning English.
Michael Vine tells this story of his father’s change of heart on English Only:
I was surprised to learn that my own wise, learned, and well traveled father once supported English Only. Predictably, he saw this proposal as a fair reaction to illegal immigration. Fortunately, my father was, in his words, “blessed” with an experience that drove him to denounce that simple resolve.
Click here to read the entire text of Michael Vine’s story.