By Eden Laikin
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano thanked service providers who attended last week’s Cultural Competence conference, for seeking to become better educated about the backgrounds and cultures of the communities they serve, so they can serve them more effectively.
Mangano delivered the closing remarks at this year’s conference, held Sept 27 at SUNY Farmingdale’s Roosevelt Hall. The conference, endorsed by state mental health officials, centered around 3 dramatic plays and scenes acted out to carry a message.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Mangano said: ‘No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.’
“Nassau’s growing population is becoming increasingly diversified with people from all parts of the world immigrating to the USA in search of the “American Dream”, looking to improve their quality of life through education, employment, economical, social, and political opportunities,” he said. “If we are being culturally competent, then we are aligning our delivery of services and care, appropriately, to those diverse communities, to ensure the best possible outcome. Cultural Competence is a journey; not a destination. It is a process that celebrates our differences and uniqueness.
This summer Mangano signed an Executive Order eliminating the language barrier to open government, so that there would be equal access for all residents. All County Departments will now be required to translate vital documents, forms and instructions to the six most common non-English languages spoken by individuals in Nassau County – Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Persian, Korean and French Creole.
“Undoubtedly, in Nassau County, Our Diversity is Our Strength,” Mangano told the attendees. “Thank you all for everything you do for Nassau County residents on a daily basis, and for taking part is this critical process today.
Other workshops featured at this year’s annual Nassau County Multicultural Conference focused on Issues Faced by Immigrant Families in the Educational System; Understanding English Language Learners with Disabilities; Utilizing the Art of Self-Expression to Engage Youth Through Poetry & Rap and Sexual Orientation & Cultural Bias.
Mangano thanked the Nassau County Department of Human Services, the Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services and the Mental Health Association of Nassau County for putting the conference together.