By Rudy Navarrate

rudy navarreteMy personal thoughts and reasoning behind the need for this new association subdivision or the Coalition of American-Latino Truckers (CALT) are numerous. I understand that change is always uncomfortable for many, myself included. When something controversial is part of change it makes it that much more difficult to implement.

When I was hired, it became evident that the need for a bilingual (English/Spanish) membership services director was a great fit for the southern region of the state. I know my extensive background in the construction trucking industry was the main impetus for me to create a group which appealed to Spanish speaking truckers. From day one, my ability to speak Spanish has been utilized and is now instrumental in the association’s growth within the Latino/Hispanic community.

I’m proud to be an American and also of Hispanic heritage, I have always made that very clear. Over the last three years in my present position at WSTA, I have been part of hundreds of meetings across the state and at most of them, I would use my Spanish skills for a few of the members that are Latino/Hispanic. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the importance of interpreting the subject matter from English to Spanish and some did not appreciate this format. I respect everyone’s concerns, so I asked all Spanish speaking members and guests to remain after the main meetings ended so I could repeat the main content back in Spanish.

Much like our industry, there’s a growing percentage of WSTA members that are Latinos/Hispanics. Many of whom do not attend chapter or board meetings due to the language barrier. This is where time and again I receive many requests for Spanish language centric meetings and information.

Certainly we do not want to segregate, but to integrate all truckers. Every member that is interested in being part of the CALT will still be part of their local chapter, but would be notified of any meetings held by the CALT in Spanish. They will receive all information required in Spanish and English, yet we will strongly encourage all members to learn and use English as often as possible.

We realize that the Spanish language is very transitional, as most members with children know that they are learning English in school today, and Spanish will be a second language for them. So in all honesty, this is for the present generation of new American’s from Mexico, Central and South America whose only language is Spanish.

Thanks for understanding.

Rudy Navarrete, Southern Membership Services Director