More than 70 Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and English speakers came together in Alhambra on Monday evening to discuss youth specific to immigrant communities. Despite the diverse backgrounds of attendees, participants in the multilingual community forum — hosted by Alhambra Source and Asian Pacific American Legal Center — identified similar issues about dating, bullying, health, civic participation, and feeling tied to two countries.
Alhambra Source's Reporter Corps, members of a training program for five young journalists, led multilingual discussions on each topic. Although many of the participants at each table couldn't speak English, with the help of translators, all were able to understand and participate.
"It was great to see that when someone really cares for a topic, language barriers tend to dissolve," said Reporter Corps member Irma Uc, who led the healthy foods discussion.
Many of the participants came to the program to learn about other cultures. One Spanish speaker, who was part of the dating discussion, said she didn't often get the chance to interact with other communities. "I'm here to learn," she said in Spanish.
At the end of the discussions, one member from each table presented key points on each topic to the larger group. Some of the forum takeaways included a push for schools to provide anti-bullying resources for parents, the need for parents to learn more about other cultures as their children interact and even date within them, and a suggestion that Alhambra incorporate more multilingual resources during meetings to increase civic participation from immigrants.