September 9, 2005

Guest Editorial:

¿Hablas Español?

What about the many Latinos Hurricane Katrina has affected?

By Sandra Elhabr-Valle

A natural disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina has managed to destroy the lives of millions of people. There are those scrambling to find lost family members, those trying to salvage any piece of their lives prior to Katrina, and those so confused by the lack of response and organization that it seems things just can’t get any worse.

Well for some I believe it has. What about the many Latinos this hurricane has affected? Those people, who in addition to being swept up in the melee, lack the ability to communicate in English, making this a more difficult task. What about those who do not know where to go, have no idea that “Help is on the way,” or where to find food and shelter.

That is the case in New Orleans and Mississippi today. Families from Peru, Honduras, and all across Latin America are lost in a sea of confusion, unable to communicate, simply to receive help. It is bad enough to live through such a hell, but to be unable to speak the language that may make your situation a little better is unfathomable. It is inconceivable to me to be in a foreign country when such a disaster stikes, leaving one helpless and unable to communicate enough to ask where to go from here.

So, in our prayers for the many people who have lost their lives, their homes and their hopes and dreams in this mess, let’s remember our brothers and sisters who need an extra little help to get them through this disaster. Those who find themselves more lost, more afraid and more confused because things are bad enough for those who do speak English. For those who don’t, life must be an utter nightmare. Let’s not forget them.

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