A standing-room-only crowd of 350 people packed Trinity Reformed Church on a Saturday morning for Together West Michigan’s (TWM) first public action assembly since its launch last year. In this meeting, institutional leaders secured commitments from:
- the Deputy Secretary of State (SoS) to translate driver’s test information into Swahili for Kent County’s 8,000 speakers of that language, work to incorporate Swahili into its mobile clinics in collaboration with TWM, and to pilot a phone interpretation program at their Grand Rapids office.
- the Grand Rapids’ Chief of Police to help Spanish-speakers -- and officers in his own department – better understand what constitutes acceptable identification, continue working with TWM to build relationships with other local police chiefs, and continue working with TWM to ensure Spanish-speaking residents know their rights and responsibilities, and what to do if they are violated.
- 5 state legislators to support $5 million in scholarship funding for students who want to go into the mental health field.
ALL participants in the assembly were challenged to join a campaign to at least double Kent County’s 'Ready by Five' tax rate (millage) to overcome the acute shortage of childcare resources. More than 60 people signed up on the spot.
Together West Michigan Engagement with Grand Rapids Police Chief, Vocero Hispano