This weekend I attended the opening of Sammamish Landing, a park developed along Lake Sammamish by the City of Sammamish with the participation of Redmond, King County and a private donor. As I have at previous events, I was struck by the diversity of our population.
This should no longer surprise us, of course. Microsoft alone brings people to the area from Denmark, India, Brazil, China and Mexico, just to name a few countries.
The data we use day-to-day at Together Center also reflects what we see.
- East King County has a greater percentage of immigrants and refugees than the city of Seattle.
- Almost a third of Bellevue residents speak a language other than English at home.
- Half of those tapping services at HealthPoint medical clinic on our campus have a language barrier.
In response we work to ensure that everyone can get to the services they need. For example, the cultural navigator program we worked to launch (coordinated by Chinese Information & Service Center) helped 1,900 people in 2012 with information and assistance.
An e-mail arrived today that resonated along these lines: Fiesta de voluntarios en Idylwood park! the notice promoted in Spanish. Come be part of a work party to upgrade the park.
It’s a reminder that the Eastside is made up of people, and people have similarities in key ways. No matter their ethnicity, people want to pitch in and build the community. (Indeed, on Together Center’s Board of Directors are immigrants from Great Britain and Bangladesh.) People speaking other languages, no surprise, need to tap the same health and human services as everyone else. And hurray! People from around the globe want to gather, celebrate community, and party together!