HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) - A woman got a stunning letter from her retirement community, telling her it’s unacceptable to speak Spanish in public areas.
She said the order came from the director of her senior citizen complex, which is run by the Salvation Army.
When Katherine Hernandez moved into the complex, she said she never thought she would have to fight to feel equal.
“The thing is, she’s taking away my rights,” she said.
The letter from the complex’s director said in part: “The United States of America is an English-speaking country, and those who come to the United States or are born here should learn to speak the language.”
Hernandez said she was the only person to receive the letter basically stating that it was rude to sit in the lobby and speak Spanish.
“I’m paying out of my Social Security money for this? I can’t even speak my language? No, that’s not right.”
Hernandez said there are many unfair situations happening at the complex, but the residents, most of whom are Hispanic, are too afraid to speak out.
“I have never excluded a person that walks in. This is my native language, you know? And I love my Spanish. It’s like telling a person that goes to Mexico, ‘No no, I don’t want you speaking English,’” she said.
Hernandez said this was the last straw, so she called the media.
The Salvation Army said the incident is now being investigated and that “The Salvation Army of Greater Houston is committed to making sure those we serve feel welcome and meeting the needs of the community without discrimination.”
“This is our last years. This is going to be my last home, and if I have to fight for what’s left for the rest of my life, I don’t want want to live like this,” Hernandez said.