215PA’s Eréndira Zamacona Speaks With The Inquirer About Multilingual Summer Camp Access


Parents who can’t work from home need a way to keep their kids entertained, safe, and cared for during the summer when school’s out. That’s why the Comite de Trabajador@s Inmigrantes group of 215 People’s Alliance has been organizing around multilingual access to Philadelphia Parks and Recreation summer camps. 215PA and Comite member Eréndira Zamacona spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Comite’s work and the challenges that parents whose first language isn’t English face when registering their children for summer camp.

The Inquirer reported that Eréndira left voice messages for 10 rec centers but only received a response – in English – from one of them. “As a mother and community organizer I’m disappointed and frustrated that the system isn’t working the way it should for kids,” Eréndira said, in Spanish.

The Inquirer also reported on Eréndira, the Comite, and other groups successfully lobbying Parks and Recreation to increase multilingual access to summer camp registration. Eréndira told the Inquirer about her frustrating journey to get answers from the department:

Zamacona recounted how she went to a recreation center in person after [her] calls led to a dead end. Staff instructed her to call the main office because no one on site spoke Spanish or knew how to access interpreters the city makes available by phone — an experience that made her feel unwelcome.

Eréndira Zamacona, Philadelphia Inquirer Tweet

Eréndira also disputed the city’s official count of successfully registered children from homes where English is not the first language. She said that 215 People’s Alliance and the Coalition for Restaurant Safety and Health have done more work than the government to educate parents on how they can register their kids for summer camp – and that the work isn’t over. 

“They say that they’re going to get better and are asking us to give them a chance. Fine,” Eréndira told the Inquirer. “We’ll need to keep putting pressure on them. Otherwise, they might act like the problem is solved and things will go back to being the way they were before.”

Read the full article here.

Written by Max Freedman.