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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Radio Arte Report

This evening the younger kids were running around catching fireworks while the older kids were letting off firecrackers under the watchful eyes of the Brady parents. Many of the Brady girls were hanging with their mothers on the front stoop of their house, so I braved the noise and went by to say hello.

The two girls I hooked up with summer jobs told me they'd been going for two days and they love it. They get to do theater games and they are meeting a great group of people, many of whom live here in Back of the Yards. It turns out half the Holy Cross marimba players are doing this thing--I exaggerate, but only slightly. All the participants but the two Brady girls are already in college or starting next fall.

"Everybody's really nice," said the younger Brady. "I can't believe I'm the youngest one there!" They're now hooked up with a ride from one of the Holy Cross marimba players, and they met the musician I interviewed for the Peace & Education Scholarship, who will be starting at UIC next fall as a music major. "On the way home, we make her sing in the car for us," said younger Brady. "She has a really pretty voice."

"This is the best summer ever!" enthused younger Brady. Her older sister is happy for her and thinks it's a good thing she's spending her summer with a bunch of really nice older kids. I do, too. Plus, I'm really glad they are making connections north of 47th street, to top it all off. And I did give the older Brady girl the email address of someone at my party on Saturday, which might produce even more good connections for all involved.

I believe I posted before that these two Brady girls got accepted to Radio Arte's summer job/training program, Salud:Healing Through the Arts. They'll be writing radio novelas this summer dramatizing health issues facing immigrants. We had a poster who argued with the use of the word immigrant rather than "illegal immigrant" based on the issues one of the Brady girls raised, but I suspect the program will cover issues for the entire immigrant community. A huge one is language. I was at Northwestern on Monday and noticed they had a sign listing all the languages for which translation services are available. Unfortunately, many hospitals don't have such resources. This 2002 story from The Chicago Reporter talks about the shortage of medical interpreters available in suburban health clinics. As increasing numbers of immigrants to the Chicago area head straight for the suburbs, clinics lacking qualified interpreters are stuck asking patients to bring family members or friends to translate, which can be difficult when discussing sensitive medical issues. Worse, patient health care can be compromised when communication is so difficult.

This is true in city clinics, too, as Junior's experience showed over Christmas when his mom had to go to Mercy with a torn placenta. Junior was the only one in the emergency room who could translate for him mom, and much as I love him, I'm not sure I'd want him to be my translator if I were stuck in the hospital with a torn placenta.

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