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Bridging Diversity GAPS in the UPSTATE

G.A.P.S. focused on the extension of effective emergency services to minority groups, specifically the growing Hispanic minority in the Upstate. G.A.P.S. noted that emergency services' ineffectiveness in responding to specific crises is often related to language barriers, as well as the general reluctance of the Hispanic minority to use emergency services for (1) fear of INS or deportation, (2) fear of losing U.S.-born children, or (3) prior negative experiences with authorities. G.A.P.S. proposed the implementation of a Strategic Diversity Management Process that would include bilingual operators and the strengthening of relationships with the Hispanic community, as well as education and training of public officials and emergency services in the cultural dynamics of the Spanish-speaking communities.