Not only am I a student of the third-year Chinese language class, but also I am an officer of a student group called the San Francisco Hepatitis B Collaborative at Berkeley. We are a group that works in conjunction with various San Francisco public health organizations, including UCSF Medical and Pharmacy schools, to provide interpreters for Hepatitis B screening and vaccination clinics that service the large API community in San Francisco. I and many members of our student group have had the privilege of receiving language training at UC Berkeley, which we have been able to apply directly to work in our community. Our heritage speakers have not only had countless opportunities to provide interpretation services to non-English-speaking patients in various clinics and health fairs, but have also been entrusted with developing patient education materials in various API languages, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Japanese. I honestly feel that the conviction of our group to service the API community outside of the UC Berkeley campus and our capability to do so would not exist without the caliber of training many of us have received from the UC Berkeley East Asian Language Department or the cultural interests and social awareness fostered by its diverse courses. For this reason, the scaling back of East Asian language courses will not only be a loss to the student community on campus, but also a disservice to the large API community outside our campus. Thus, I deeply implore the University of California to reconsider the budget cuts to the East Asian Language Department.
--Julia Lam, Molecular and Cell Biology major, Chinese minor (julia_lam AT berkeley.edu)