LatinaLista — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) documented the fact that 60 percent of Latinos who died in Colorado traffic accidents last year weren’t wearing their seat belts. Seeing that it’s a sizeable number, CDOT authorized a public service announcement (PSA) be made in Spanish to get people to buckle up.
It’s the first foreign language PSA for CDOT. Yet, in an odd argument, one Colorado Springs legislator has voiced his displeasure of airing the Spanish-language life-saving advertisement because he believes it will keep local Hispanics from speaking English.
According to Republican Sen. Dave Schultheis, the seat belt PSA will:
- Further segregate the Spanish-speaking community from the rest of Colorado’s population
- Keep immigrants from learning to speak English and being able to read road signs.
- Keep them from assimilating
In the next breath, the Senator observed:
This is not a Hispanic vs. non- Hispanic issue. We have to look at people as people, not as a race.
Obviously, if Schultheis believed that statement, or better yet, understood what it meant, he would see that he has clearly made a non-race issue into one that is “Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic.” If he really was concerned about looking at people just “as people,” he would then agree that the main objective of the announcements is to save lives by delivering a message as clear as possible to the target audience.
Though Schultheis’ justification for his opinions shows a clear bias against his state’s Hispanic population, he should be credited for not hiding the fact that he his racist.
Unlike the group of donors who funded the failed English First campaign in Tennessee and who did everything they could to keep from having their identities revealed.
In the first example that the days of covert support is out with the old administration, the donor list for the group that funded Nashville’s recent English First campaign was finally made public.
The list was supposed to have been released before the election but was stalled because English First campaign’s President, Jon Crisp, sent the election commission a letter on Jan. 15, the day the disclosure was due, asking for an extension. He said that his group’s donors could be subjected to threats if their names were released before the election.
Critics believed that in actuality the campaign didn’t want to reveal just how much of the campaign was being funded from entities outside the state.
Metro Councilman Eric Crafton, who led the charge for the English-only amendment, said that 90 percent of the donors were individuals who had given $100 or less.
It’s now known that was a deliberate untrue statement because, under duress to reveal the list, officials released the donor list today and found:
Nashville English First raised $89,722.76 for its campaign, according to campaign financial disclosures released today.
Of that, ProEnglish of Arlington, Va., contributed $82,500. A second donor, Nashville businessman Lee Beaman, gave $6,000, meaning two donors funded more than 98 percent of Nashville English First’s campaign.
ProEnglish of Arlington, Va has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Though it’s a charge they deny, the fact is the group was founded by a man named John Tanton who is synonymous with anti-immigrant organizations.
Some would ask what does it matter if ProEnglish funded the majority of the campaign.
It matters because it is a group with a distinct racist agenda that is attempting to spread its influence through legislative means. If it had not been for the unified efforts of the citizens of Nashville who proved that they did not want their home associated with such a mean-spirited and racist law, then ProEnglish would have been successful in getting one more city to adopt punitive measures specifically targeting Spanish-speakers.
That the officials with the English First campaign were reluctant to release the donor list proves that they knew their actions wouldn’t be seen in a positive light, plus expose the lie made by the local city councilman.
In this new era of accountability and open government, it’s time to limit outside funding, in turn, influence, from either side of an issue, when it comes to funding campaigns to push a particular piece of legislation in local elections and with local candidates.