East Hampton Town has formed a new Latino Advisory Committee to help provide outreach and translation of information about town services to the Spanish-speaking community in town.
The ten-member committee was formalized at the town’s Feb. 4 meeting.
“Over the last couple months, we’ve been talking about trying to find a way to better reach out to communicate with the Latino community in town, which is a significant part of the population here,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell at the town’s Feb. 2 work session.
Mr. Cantwell said he envisions the committee will help to set up workshops on town services, beginning with a workshop for Spanish speakers on the town’s new rental registry.
About 350 people came to a series of workshops on the rental registry in late January, but those workshops were conducted entirely in English.
Mr. Cantwell said he hopes to also hold Spanish workshops on town clerk services and on interacting with the town’s justice court and police department.
Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who is the liaison to the town’s Anti-Bias Task Force, said the task force is working on an open house at the town’s police department to try to bridge the gap between the police and the Latino community, and she’d welcome the new committee’s help in the process.
She added that there aren’t many Latino members of the task force, and they’d also like to do more to engage the town’s Latino community. The task force has recently put together a Spanish-language brochure about bias issues, but struggled to find someone to translate the brochure.
Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said she’s also realized, in working as a liaison to the town’s YMCA, that the town’s junior lifeguard program should be doing more to encourage Latino youth to join.
“One percent of junior lifeguards are of Latino heritage, but all kids go to the beach. Maybe there’s an opportunity there,” she said.
Committee members include Angela Quintero, Daniel Hartnett, Maritza Guichay, Isabel Saavedra, Diana Walker, Julio Aucapina, Blanca Bishop, Jamie Hernandez, Benjamin Zigua and Pastor Oswaldo Palomo.