Voices in Focus: How Were Translation Services at Yesterday’s Primary?

In today’s roundup, we’re asking how translation services went during yesterday’s primary; we have news of a new concession from the Brooklyn District Attorney in the ongoing Orthodox child sex abuse scandals; and a report on an ambitious exhibit of Caribbean art.

* Voices of NY is curious about how translation services went yesterday at New York City’s primary polling stations. Did you use or see written translations or interpreters? Were they effective and helpful, or did you experience problems similar to those that Korean voters complained of in New Jersey earlier this month? Tell us your experiences in the comments below.

The Queens Tribune reported last week on efforts to push for for a bill that would direct the Queens Board of Elections to provide written language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi in addition to languages currently available.

The City Board of Elections announced in April it would designate Bengali and Hindi as the languages for oral assistance and, to the extent possible, will recruit Hindi interpreters who also speak Punjabi and provide signs. In addition, the Board has adopted Bengali as the language for written assistance.

* In the midst of a growing child sex abuse scandal in the borough’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes made another conciliatory move, answering a longstanding demand of critics of his office’s prosecution efforts, The Jewish Daily Forward reported:

Ending a long fight, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes will release more than 100 pages of documents related to the case of Avrohom Mondrowitz, the American Orthodox rabbi alleged to have sexually abused dozens of children before fleeing, eventually to Israel, in 1984.

The release may help resolve contentions — rejected by Hynes — that he failed to aggressively pursue Mondrowitz’s extradition from Israel out of political considerations.

* For Feet in 2 Worlds, reporter Justin Mitchell wrote about a new exhibit that surveys the art of the Caribbean and its diaspora from the dawn of the Haitian Revolution in 1791 to the present day.

“Caribbean: Crossroads of the World” is a collaboration between El Museo del Barrio in Harlem, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Queens Museum of Art, Mitchell writes.

A new exhibit surveys more than two centuries of Caribbean art. (Photo by Justin Mitchell/Fi2W)

For Elvis Fuentes, the curator of special projects at El Museo and a native of Cuba, making people aware of that diversity is one of this exhibit’s central goals.

“I think it is important that we look to the Caribbean in a more complex way, not just you know ‘palm trees and rum and coconuts,’ things like that,” he said.  ”So many of the political, economic and historical events throughout Europe, the Americas, even Asia, somehow impacted the region.”

Sprinkled throughout the exhibit are works by Caribbean artists from the United States, with names ranging from Winslow Homer to Jean-Michel Basquiat.  One of the inspirations for the exhibit was a collective realization by all three museums of just how many Caribbeans live in New York City, and what a large part they played in cultural events like the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement.

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