En EspaƱol Know Your Rights
Source: Your Nabe
Subject: Adult Literacy
Type: Media Coverage

ESL TV show unveiled at Queens Museum of Art

The city of immigrants is getting one more way for newcomers to learn
English and acquire information about public services, thanks to television
right in their own homes.

"We Are
New York," a collaboration between the City University of New York and the
mayor’s Office of Adult Education, is a series of nine half-hour episodes, each
telling the story of immigrants making their way in New York City.

"Love and Money" tells the story of a waiter who wins a free dinner at
his restaurant and asks out a girl who mistakes him for a wealthy man and tries
to act wealthy as well. "Stop Domestic Violence" depicts the plight of a woman
whose husband abuses her but who fears contacting police because she has no
immigration papers.

The series
debuted with a reception at the Queens Museum of Art last Thursday. The
segments will air every Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. on Channel 25, or Channel
22 on Cablevision, between June 27 and Aug. 22.

"At first
I was hesitant," said Lizelena Iglesias, an English teacher for the nonprofit Make the Road New York in Elmhurst, who tested the
program out on her students. "I never expected the great impact it would have
on my students. They loved it."

CUNY Dean
for Academic Affairs John Moguelescu said the university has been working on
the project for two years, noting the school’s linguistic experts made sure the
English was spoken at a speed slightly slower than normal for comprehension and
subtitles were included.

Deputy
Mayor Dennis Walcott called the episodes an "innovative adult education tool
… part language lesson, part entertainment, part civic involvement tool."

Anthony
Tassi, director of the mayor’s Office of Adult Education, praised the positive
treatment of immigrants in the series as well as its demonstrations of city
services.

"Immigrants
in this show do not remain in the shadows," he said. "They are front and
center. They are the heroes of the everyday that makes the city what it is."