Local News

Wilson Community Hopes to Unite by Overcoming Language Barriers

Posted April 5, 1999

— Getting your neighbors to rally behind any cause is tough enough, but imagine trying to work together when you can not communicate.

Residents of a Wilson neighborhood are trying to hurdle such a language barrier.

Every week, Janet Lucas and her friends gather at her Wilson home to pray that the young people of the Five Points are would be safe, and that crime would fade away.

Now, a group of neighbors is pledging to take back the neighborhood.

"I think it's a very good idea because we want to get drugs out of the neighborhood. And if we fight crime together as one we can do it as one."

But this neighborhood is facing a challenge that any town in our state could face. Some of the newest residents who could join in the fight against crime do not speak English.

Neighbors will have to overcome the language barrier if they hope to be united.

"The neighbors can't understand what the Spanish speaking people are saying and vice versa, the Spanish speaking people can't understand what their neighbors are saying or what they're complaining about."

Officer Louie Cisneros is one of three Spanish speaking police officers in Wilson. He says members of both cultures are working together in this neighborhood, but the language is still an obstacle.

He says the secret is communication from both sides.

"Share cultures, share ideals on how they can cope with each other and problems," says Cisneros. "Because everybody has problems and if they have meetings, it could probably be cleared up a lot quicker than not saying anything at all."

For now, a translator is helping with neighborhood meetings. But, as the children of this neighborhood grow up, Cisneros hopes the two cultures will not seem so foreign to each other any more.

Children of Spanish speaking families are often pretty good at speaking English. They learn the language in public schools, and then pass it on to their parents.


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